Pricing Artwork by area

I came across a blog post on a structured method of pricing original art. Now, my prices are a bit random (which is why I’m posting this here instead of over there on my art blog), so I thought I’d do some sums and see what fell out of them.

I thought I’d start with my woefully underpriced LEGO 7 x 7 cm canvases.


I sell these for £10. As they take 2 or 3 hours each, that’s less than the measly wage of £5 per hour.

But how much is that per square centimetre? 7×7 is 49, which is very nearly 50, so 20p per square centimetre.

Let’s move on, taking a fair size leap to 30 x 30 cm. Not an especially big painting. Here’s one such done in oils:


Oils traditonally command a premium over new-fangled (and cheaper-to-buy) acrylic. This – like much of my work in oil – is a knife painting, too, which means the paint is trowelled on in large quantities.

But let’s try scaling up that price. 30 x 30 x 20p is £180. That actually sounds close. I shall add an arbitrary premium for the media of 25%, which makes this one £225 – before framing.

Do you want to go bigger? Let’s try it… Here is Temple old Bridge, another oil, another square – this time, 60 x 60 cm. And it’s got a frame. The frame was a bargain at £37; let’s call it £40, which is still not remotely expensive.


The arithmetic says that this should be:

(60 x 60 x 20p) + 25% for oil + £40 for the frame

= £720 + 25% + £40

= £900 + £40

= £940

Wow. Am I undercharging?* My random pricing method had this one somewhere between £300 and £400.

*A genuine question.

3 thoughts on “Pricing Artwork by area

  1. An excellent article. When you use a system, I found as you’ve discovered, some works compute at too high a price for the market I sell in. That leads to reductions to try to equal other art, of similar size and quality, being sold in the same place. I reasoned, its only when a professional gallery takes you on that prices can reach their correct levels.

    • Zalamanda says:

      Thank you for your comment, Julian. I’m not sure that there is a single system that works to price art; for now, I’m going to stick with my semi-random guesswork.

  2. Zalamanda says:

    It has been suggested to me that adding the height and width together and multiplying by a suitable factor gves better results.

    So, for the same works:


    That’s my factor.

    Add 25% => ~£60

    Add 25% => ~£101
    Add the frame => £140

    WAY too low. But I have increased my LEGO painting price to £15 now, so…

    call the factor 1 for ease of calculation

    The 30x30cm oil gets a price tag of £85
    The 60x60cm framed oil gets £200

    This system works better but the factor needs some work!

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