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Alright, I'll bow to the excellent advice given by everybody and...charge more.

My plan is to finish all the commissions I've agreed to, with a moratorium on new ones. Upon analysis, of the companies I'm currently working with, there's one in particular that commissions a whole bunch of $35-40 color quarter pagers, which are eating up a great deal of time to rather minimal profits, so once my current assignment with them is done, I'll tell them I can't continue to work for those prices--hopefully we can part amiably, but it's just not worth it to spend a day and a half of my life for $35 bucks and a publishing credit with a company that I've already got credits with, particularly when I could spend a day and a half on an original and make several times that. (And there's always a chance that they'll raise their prices!) (Okay, no, there probably isn't.)

When those are all done, and depending on the time of year (i.e. January and February are always death) and the schedule of those companies that it IS worth my while to keep working with, I'll take between one and three months and pursue my own art aggressively. Then I'll see where I stand. If I decide to re-open private commissions at that point, I'll hike the prices significantly--$350 to start, and if my schedule starts filling up again, I'll start heading into those scary realms that Ruggels was speaking of. *grin*

I want to thank y'all for your great input--since the profitability of art is defined by the sum of your friends and fan base, I really appreciate the advice from everybody. It's one thing to have your husband and a few close friends telling you you're underpriced--it's another to have forty or fifty people say the same thing! Thank you all!

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I have to wonder, how often do customers convince someone to hike *up* the price of their goods :p

-Big Dave

*laugh* Apparently just often enough!

But I think we know we're getting a quality product, and people don't mind paying for that.

I have to say, I love my Page of Swords Tarot Wombat, and would have happily paid an additional %50. I would happily paid even more, but would not be able afford that.

If funds allowed... I'ld commission more anti-Darwin-dodo-Art... (I'm sure it's the next big movement in art history)

it's especially significant that you're getting advice to boost your rates as we're acting against our own interests ;). seriously, it is wonderful seeing someone actually living the dream of supporting themselves with their art. while i cannot imagine getting to that point myself, it's nice to know that it is possible.

Will the cost of prints be going up, or just commissions and originals?

Prints'll stay the same, and actually, originals should remain fairly much where they are for now. It's commissions that'll get the hike.

You're far too kind. I think you oughta double the cost of the prints. :)

Well, prints on new pieces should go from unlimited to "signed limited edition", AND the price should go up.

Right, yes, I forgot about that. My husband and I were talking about that. It doesn't have to be a *very* limited number; it could be like 500, which on one hand is a lot and on the other isn't much at all. But yeah. :)

*grin* I'm having a vague notion about special prints, so we'll see if that goes anywhere at all...

Not having an Ursula print myself (yet) I was wondering if those marvelous little Ursula-isms were included in the deal? For example, the picture of the mouse ploughing with his faithful potato is exponentially better when the story of how he GOT the potato is tacked on.

Or add the story to another piece of paper so it can be put on the back of the frame when the picture gets framed (I said, rashly assuming everybody goes and has things custom framed like I do :)).

oh, i am a piteous and sad individual. my ursula prints are in document frames scrounged from sales and inherited from my dad who framed a bizarre collection of things. i'm afraid that after i buy the print, i'm pretty much busted.

Re: have some publicity!

Woo! Thank you!

::facepalm:: Dangnabit. I knew I should have gotten that commission request in sooner rather than waiting.

You ARE worth that much. I just hope I'll be able to aford it some day. :)

You could also promote your art through distribution to major publications, or through other public channels to get your name in lights and glitter. An increase in population interested in purchasing increases demand and cost and profit... the more profit you have the more freedom to do whatever the heck you want to, unless the bling bling gets to your head- and I feel you're too entrenched in being an artist for that to happen. Freedom is useful. Keep up the good work!

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