I come across a lot of ppl who say
1. They wish they had the skills to make a living as a faceup artist.
2. They wish to become a good faceup artist and never charge more than $100 for their work.
I would like to think that most of the ppl who say something similar are probably teenagers because it is very hard to do faceups full time and if you are good, charging less than $100 is not going to be enough because here are things I am considering when I think about how much I should charge.
- I spend more than 5-6 hours on a head during the entire process including communication and packing.
- Materials are expensive.
- I want to eventually report this income on taxes when it is high enough to report it because, guess what. At some point I will retire and the SS benefits and etc is important. As a freelancer the taxes are about 1/3 of your gross income. So if I charge $99, that means I really make $66.
- I want to keep my prices as low as possible.
So addressing these things I also want to point out that I spend a lot of time on each faceup. My style fluctuates depending on what the owner wants and I have a great respect for the sculpt. As such I don't have a template that I follow for every single head I paint and as a result I spend more time on each head. I know a lot of faceup artists like to say they have a particular style and they won't stray from it. That's not how I work. I like to approach each project separately and create something that fits the character so that when someone looks at a head I've painted, they see the character, they see the sculpt, they don't see that the work has been painted by so and so because it looks exactly like all the other heads that so and so has painted.
Some ppl think that because someone else is good at something that it takes them less time. The truth is that the opposite is true. While someone who is experienced can make quicker decisions about something, painting is a manual, physical work. You can't rush that. It means that someone who is good at doing faceups sees more mistakes or more details that make a good faceup and they take a longer time to add these details in or to fix mistakes. I like to spend time during my work to really look at a head to see if everything is harmonious. My entire effort is put into making the head look 'natural'. This means I spend hours staring at a head again and again at each stage of the faceup to figure out how I can make it look good and when I say hours, I mean I spend 10-15 minutes staring at the head after it's blushed, another 10-15 minutes after I've adding another layer and etc. This adds up to a lot especially if something about a faceup is bothering me or doesn't feel good enough to me. Of course some heads can be painted a lot more quickly because everything falls into the right place but I usually do spend about an hour if I add up all the time I spend just staring at a head to make sure it's going in the right direction.
While it would be easy for me to think of a price that would be fair to me, it's a completely different matter when I take into account what ppl are willing to pay. I'm also not very well known so starting out I have much lower prices than is reasonable for me.
I will be raising my prices in the future to over $100 so I am writing this to let ppl know why. I shouldn't feel guilty because it's not unreasonable given the time I spend, material costs and the quality of my work. But I do feel guilty because in our culture, ppl don't feel like they have to pay for art and because there is a lot of complaint in the community about high prices for faceups. I also don't want to cut out the ppl who really can't pay for a high quality faceup, which is why I have my lottery.
For now I will be raising my prices to $45-80 in June but please don't be surprised when it goes up even higher. I am still keeping my prices low right now because I am not very well known but I think my work speaks for itself and as with anything in life, it is worth saving up for.
I will be raising my prices again in August to $55-100 for faceups. My body blushing prices will also go up.