The Artwork of Michael Divine

Blog: Artists Only



This Tool is Essential to Your Art Business

I want to give you a tool that will help you stay more organized and have a cleaner backbone for the business side of your art career. At the end of this email is an Excel sheet with a set of formulas designed to provide you with a pricing format for your prints.

Learn more about the Artist Mentorship Program and the how it will strengthen your art career

First off, I’d like to just talk business in general. Microsoft Excel itself is seen as one of those ‘businessy’ things with a certain mystique around it that ‘artists’ don’t want to associate with. That’s a hump in the road to success that you get over it you’ll never achieve the level of success you desire. So I urge you: get in there – learn the tools! One of the things we talk about a lot in my Artist Mentorship Program is the business of art – marketing, branding, self-organization and self-motivation, and a host of other aspects that are important elements to the business – and LIFE – of being a self-employed artist. These are things I think about when I’m painting but also when I am creating the container around my work – the container that helps me to guide this ship through the world.

Consistent pricing is a key to the business side of art. Knowing how you came up with that price will help you when you are selling your wares and it will be much easier to feel confident in how you came up with your prices. Many people who are starting out set their prices somewhat arbitrarily and most artists tend to undervalue their work because the joy of selling it – of making someone happy – seems to outweigh the need to pay the bills (at least in that moment). Some years ago, I grew frustrated with my own inconsistent pricing because I wasn’t clear on where that price was coming from so came up with a system that I think you will find to be rather solid.

In any case, I was driving home quite late one night and, realizing I needed to codify my pricing strategies, I started imagining Excel functions that would allow me to input certain variables and come up with a clear understanding of a product price (yes, sometimes I daydream about Excel spreadsheets. Nothing is off-limits in daydreams!). There are instructions in the spreadsheet regarding which variable to change. In general the multiple columns of the excel sheet work like this:

  • A: Title
  • B: Length – user inputs the length of the image
  • C: Height – user inputs the height of the image
  • D: Production cost – The formula will take the height and length, add the length and width of the border, and multiply it by the square foot cost of printing.
  • E: Stretching + Printing cost: This takes the linear foot dimensions of the print, multiplies it by a dollar amount that one would pay to have it stretched and adds it to the print cost
  • After that, there are other values – the wholesale price which has a certain mark-up, a retail price based on that, the percentages one would get when working with other sales agents, and so on.

The purpose of this is to give you a clear idea on how your money is being spent, earned, and shared. This was an a-ha moment for me when I sat down and made it and I hope that as you try it out, it is an a-ha moment for you as well.


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