Sunday, March 16, 2008

Art is not a get rich quick scheme

I saw a gift site that is outsourcing pencil portraits to an artist. I was shocked at the prices they want for the pencil portraits. Some of the prices were higher than mine! How can I say this... and I don't mean this in a rude way, but the art "wasn't really ready for prime time."

I felt that perhaps I should email them and in a nice way tell them that they are not going to get those prices for the artwork. After all, they have them listed to make some money, but the portraits were the quality that could demand perhaps $40-$75 area, not in the $200-$300 price range. The artwork was flat looking, and frankly I liked the reference photos more than the art! (that's a bad sign.) I put hours and hours into each artwork, I use professional grade materials, and that goes into why I charge what I do. I am also a published artist, so that adds to the value of the artwork. See this page I have on What to Charge for Pencil Portraits for more pricing information. I have a survey on prices that over 30 artists have taken.

But back to the website....I looked further down at the step by step instructions for ordering pencil portraits from the site. I recognized some of the wording...ahah...they have been to my site and "borrowed" some of my ideas and text. I must admit that I have had so much stuff stolen from my site lately, (in addition to the earlier post's person, there's a father and son team from the Bahamas who have taken text off my site now)

I'm not feeling very Christian about it anymore. Decided not to email 'em with advice about the prices. I clicked "X" out of the browser. Good luck with your business. <--- ooh, Darla got sarcastic...

Maybe I am just grumpy because my 2 year old is lately in the habit of waking up at 2:30 am.


floyd said...

I have just finished reading the material and thought I'd put in a few words or two. Not really use to doing so for most of the time it doesn't do a like of good but here goes anyway. I have 54 years of drawing experience under my belt and I have found threw the years that a person if they truly want can make a living at doing pencil portraits or any other form of drawing. I have been doing so with my pencil portraits. Due to what you might have read you can do so and it's not a very hard process. Anyone can do so only if they choose to do so. Your drawing can be good or bad it doesn't matter. If you are new at drawing or have years of experience in drawing you can do so. It just doesn't matter. When I hear someone say that they are a published artist I can demand more money for this makes my art more valuable this to my way of thinking is a lot of bunk and just plain crazy. Everyone is the same from the start to the finish. One way to make it in drawing is to keep at it at all times and don't give up. You have to keep trying no matter what. It's the same with drawing as it is with anything else. You have to stay with it at all times. With drawing there will be the good times as well as the bad times the same with everything else. If a person says that they have came across someones work and they cannot understand why they are getting the price they are asking and they think that they are not ready to ask for the price they are this is only to me again a lot of bunk to put it nicely. Than I read or hear they think there work is better than said person and they aren't asking for what one person is making but a much lower price. To me it seems they have the problem and should think about charging a higher price. I have learned threw out the years it doesn't do any good to worry bout the other guy. Worry or not life goes on and it always will. Also if you have something for people to read or the whole world to read sooner or later some one will take what you have to offer and make it there own. At times believe it or not people may have there own ideas that will sound a lot like yours or the next guys. They is only so much you can do in drawing before it starts sounding like everyone else. On the prices. It's kind of like one store selling something for one price and it can be just say at a low price and it sells great. However just say two doors down from the business another business is selling the same item for a higher price and out selling the other business. I have found out the only reason one person is out selling the other is for the simple reason being they just can. People will buy something from someone when they want and if they are interested in what they see. They don't care what all a person has accomplished in life. They are only interested in what they see. People do not care what they spend on something when it comes right down to it. At times if a person turns you down sooner or later if you try to sell them they will buy from you. It may not be today and it may not be tomorrow but in time you can sell to them. You just have to find what they want to spend at the moment. I once tried to sell the idea of a portrait to someone and they didn't buy. On the third try I sold them the idea. The time that had passed was little over a year and my prices was the same and they bought. They told me at the time I had talked to them they weren't really interested and they wouldn't have bought no matter what. Now time had passed and they were interested and to end the story they bought five portraits and paid cash up front. This and many other things has happened to me and it will happen to you if you stay involved in drawing. If you don't believe that your work is good enough just stay with it for the more that you draw the better that you will get and the more ideas you will get that will allow you to make more money if that's what you really want. I don't care what anyone says. If you want to make a living at drawing good or bad you can do so. The person that says otherwise doesn't know what they are talking about. Don't listen to what people tells you at times and believe what you hear. If you do so you will fail. If you want to make a living at drawing just make up your mind to do so...give it your all each and everyday. The following I have always believed in and yes in time someone realized the same thing as I have and put it down on paper for people to read and I'll pass it on to you. If you have questions on anything email me at the
You can expect to make money and be a success when you learn to develop and use more of what you already have - your natural talents. The discovery and cultivation of your natural inherent abilities will help you to achieve higher goals in your life. The day you start believing in your talent and the day you begin putting it to work, will be the day you will start making your dreams come true. So it's what you do with what you have that makes the difference. You can expect to make more money and be a success when you learn to develop and use more of what you already have. Your natural talents. Keep pushing those pencils and I wish you all the best always.

Darla said...

Thanks for your comments, Floyd! I didn't mean to make it sound like I was saying that someone could not be successful with pencil portraits.

Of course, anyone CAN if they will put in the time and effort. I was also not trying to brag on myself, but simply that someone cannot just look at another artist's website and say to himself, "they are charging "X" amount, so I can charge the same." Not every artist is at the same level of skill.

Pricing should be based on your skill...and YES, whether you are a published artist DOES have something to do with the pricing. It means that an artist has reached a higher level of professionalism. Just the same as you would expect to pay an electrician with more accreditation more than you would pay someone down the street for you who fiddles with electrical stuff just for fun. It might get done okay to hire the neighbor, but if the cost was the same, wouldn't you hire the professional?

An artist who is still learning the basics of shading and contrast should not try to charge higher fees. Simply because they will not get it. Yes, there is the client here or there who doesn't care what something costs, but what I was talking about is overall marketability in the pricing structure.

As far as after awhile a person will find the same words on the Internet, what I have been talking about is LITERALLY word-for-word, not even bothering to change the punctuation type of theft of content. I'm not saying that they used the words "pencil portrait" together or something explainable like that...I'm talking about 116 of the same words in the same order, IN A ROW.


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