I don’t see why the points stop being valid the moment the medium changes from paper/digital to 3d material? In fact, the logic seems a little more backwards there. Plushes take way longer.
I don’t see why I have to do what “most” people do (this is factually incorrect, as most plush artists offering professional level work do charge the same or even higher). However, my plushes are very unique in look and make and I’ve yet to see any other plushes like them (especially since the bodies I make aren’t even at all made like a plush doll), so while it is fine if other artists wish to charge whatever they want for their dolls (though depending on the quality, they might be undercharging), I know how much time I spend, how much the materials cost and a more precise idea of the supply/demand for a custom made item like that.
If I sold these armature-style plushes for 60…. Let’s see. Well, if I have to order new faux fur for a new hair color (if it’s one I don’t already have), that’s going to be anywhere from 20 to 40 for one yard of fabric (online specialty stores that sell good fur don’t let you buy less than a yard most often). If you have a special skin tone I don’t have, microsuede is 8 - 20 dollars a yard… any decent quality paint for the eyes (I often use metallic enamels, and those are around 4 - 6 dollars even for a small bottle, so if I don’t have or can’t mix your color…)
wow, it already looks like I’m either scraping for profit or not making one at all, and we aren’t even out of materials yet… Oh, and don’t even give me that crap about how I only used a little for your doll. You send me a crazy ass pattern that uses every color in the rainbow? You better believe I’m charging -you- for that crazy ass pattern work and color requirement. If I happen to have the colors already needed? Yes, then that means you may get a discount or no extra charge, but if I’m having to order specialty fabrics for you (and if I have to order online at 1 yard…) then you will be paying for it. Anyway, not the point, back to this tally.
Let’s say your doll also has a prop! and it’s a difficult one like a sort of weapon or a small animal friend! wow, that’s going to require more wood ($$), more poly clay ($$) or more dyed wool ($$) and even more time. Man, I sure hope I get to eat during all of this expensive work.
Now I have to ship it… if you’re in the states the shipping might not be too bad (MIGHT), but maybe I want to insure my hard work even if only 60 was the paid price, well, the shipping just went up to at least 11 dollars. let’s say it’s overseas? that’s a good 20 - 30 dollar shipping, minimum for any sort of a decent shipping method.
damn, at this point i’ve gone way over budget.
now i’m practically paying you to take the doll.
this doesn’t even begin to answer the question of what I was eating while I paid you to let me work for you. But that’s okay right, because other people are charging really cheap prices and because art is fun, why, it’s a hobby! so I should be practically ecstatic that someone even wants something from me. I should be honored because it is my job on this earth to not only not be entitled to minimum wage for a custom service and product, but I should be more than happy to do this work to the point where I’m literally paying you to get the product.
Again, what did I eat while I was busy paying you to take one of my custom dolls? Do I need to suck on air and hope to god I can learn to photosynthesize?
does any of this make sense? I guess I probably could have netted a few dollars if i’d gone for the big 100 price. Woah, breaking the bank with this one. Though considering how detailed your prop was or how expensive your shipping was, 100 probably didn’t even cover it.
But the thing is, people do pay my prices. People offer even more if they know what they want and want to make sure I take the commission even though I’m closed (like a bribe in a way XD: ), so why should I lower them when they do sell? When I know what the doll is worth?
sure, I could make cheaper dolls and sell them, and maybe I will and do (reminder that I do make needle felts for way cheaper), but if you are asking for the most elaborate commission product I offer but you want it for the price of one that is far less than, I can only ask if you would walk into a department store and do the same. Would you go in and start fussing that a pack of gum is about a dollar, so how come this newest model ipad costs so much more money?? and woah, that plasma tv costs even more than the ipad! helloooooo this same store is selling a pack of gum for just a dollar, what are you trying to do, rip off your customers?
When the artists do give into this kind of mentality, this kind of market attitude, it pretty much forces them to stop offering their work. Many times the artists in question will simply move on to other jobs they don’t have a passion for and will kind of keep their art as a hobby (kind of). Some artists have the benefit of looking for a studio art job (I could do this if I felt I really wanted that in life still, but i’d rather write my own books and support myself and be able to have a life outside of that system), but it’s kind of sad, don’t you think, that artists who really are good at what they do can fall into this horrible mentality of undervaluing even really good art because you’re so used to walking into stores and buying mass produced factory toys or prints of mass-produced art for nothing? Merchandise that may very well have been made at slave wages overseas just for your best price?
It’s really fucked up and that’s just not what I’m going to support in life.
my prices will remain the same and if anyone wants to commission me, they are more than welcome to save up the money to. It’s a luxury expensive, not a necessity, and due to this I do not -owe- you a right to have a custom made doll. Just like with all other custom expenses (say, a trip to disney world), you save up for it. I didn’t get my Wii (or whatever console you want to list here) because I whined at the guy at the electronics department that it wasn’t FAIR for the wii to cost X amount of money and I didn’t have any money for it, no, I bought it when I had the money to.
I was asked to make this long-ass rant rebloggable. Sorry it’s so long >< I have feels on the topic.
OK let me add two more cents:
Time is a precious commodity. If you have any sort of income, and any sort of bills to pay, you more than likely know exactly how much an hour of your time is worth. If you don’t, I suggest you do the exercise.
I’m an engineer by trade. I make in the realm of $70k per year, which I’d like to think is a good baseline for “well paid.” If I work 40 hours a week, 52 weeks a year (which is a good estimation assuming I work as much overtime as I take vacation because I care about my job enough to work a fair amount of overtime), my time is worth $33.65/hour.
The current minimum wage in the US is $7.25 ($15k annual salary, same full time setup as above). Keep these two numbers in mind.
Now, say you pay $300 for a custom plush that requires $40 in direct costs, $20 in shipping, and 40 hours of the artists time. The simple math comes out to a profit of $240, which spread over 40 hours is $6.00/hour.
This artist is not even making minimum wage. Let’s look at a few other numbers, shall we?
- Given the department store price tag of $10 for this plush, the artist has LOST $1.50/hour. The only reason anyone can make a profit on $10 plushes is because they run a factory of slave laborers. End of story.
- Given the “can’t you charge what I want” price tag of $100 for this plush, the artist made $1.00/hour. Hope they like ramen, and have no bills to pay!
- If the artist wants to make minimum wage (assuming the same directs cost) they need to charge $350.
- If the artist wants to make $35k annually (half of “well paid”), they need to charge $735.
- If the artist wants to be well paid, they need to charge $1400.
Keep in mind, of course, that the artist can’t spend a 40 hour full-time work week SOLELY on making things! They need to:
- Market themselves (taking pictures/scans/etc. of cool things they did and touching them up and putting them somewhere where you, their client, might see)
- Respond to commission requests and related mail
- Handle payment (including the part where they give the government its cut)
- Even the minimum-wage worker gets a break every so many hours to eat and… not be working!
And then, of course, artists who work for commission don’t necessarily even HAVE enough commissions to keep them busy full time! Maybe they’ll be able to use that time toward marketing their craft, or what have you, but if they can’t then time wasted is still time spent.
I can’t even BEGIN to estimate the effect those non-billable hours of work have on the price point, but it certainly wouldn’t go down.
All of that said, yes, I understand some people do commissioned artwork as a hobby outside of a normal day job, or because they’re too young/old to work, or because they’re already rich for whatever reason, or etc. Yes, I understand that those people can afford to live on commissions that profit $1/hour. When I come home and I spend my free time writing stupid things on the internet for the amusement of others, I’m making exactly $0/hour. BUT I’M NOT LIVING OFF OF THAT WAGE, AND NEITHER ARE THOSE AMATEUR AND SEMI-PRO ARTISTS.
PAY PROFESSIONAL ARTISTS WHAT THEY DESERVE OR THE AMATEURS AND SEMI-PROS THAT DON’T NEED THE MONEY WILL DRIVE THEM OUT OF THE MARKET AND YOU WILL NEVER GET TO SEE OR POSSIBLY OWN THEIR ART.
This post took me 15 minutes to write, and at $0.02, I made $0.08/hour.