Rosie Johnson Illustrates
Freelance illustrator

Notes from the studio (it’s a shed)

Price Rise and Here's Why...

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Dear loyal fan/ new customer/ potential customer/ random punter with too much time on their hands who just loves reading blogs,

Over the last few months I have been considering a price rise for my watercolour portraits. The reason it has taken me so long to make up my mind is because I feel very torn. On the one hand, I hate to price myself out of anyone's budget but on the other hand, if I don't then I won't be able to afford to keep going.

I love getting commissions for these unique, deeply personal portraits. Often they involve combing pictures of people who rarely get a chance to be together all at once. So I have the honour of capturing them all in a way that a photograph never could. I don't want to stop doing them, but I do need to make a living.

As an experiment, I decided to be properly fastidious about recording the time spent on a recent commission. It was a typical piece in terms of length of time spent corresponding with the customer and nothing particularly unusual about the composition. This is the breakdown:

Initial consultation about style, size and composition of the piece: 45 mins

Initial sketches: 3 hours

Further correspondence including extra photograph sent for clarity regarding relative heights of the people etc.: 50 mins (over a few days)

More sketching, more correspondence: 2.5 hours

Sketch approved! Onto the painting: 8.5 hours

Minor adjustments made: 1 hour

Packaging, invoicing, sending: 45 mins.

Total: 17 hours, 20 minutes. 

Amount charged for the portrait: £47.50 +postage. 

I'm earning about £2.75 an hour! This doesn't even factor in cost of materials, electricity to the shed, fees to Paypal for the payment. 

Now, I love my job, but I also love food and my house and my children (not necessarily in that order.) All of which cost money. I do, of course, do more lucrative work illustrating and writing, but my time- like everyone's- is finite. I'm sorry if my prices are now going to put off some potential customers, but I hope I've been able to demonstrate why the rise has been necessary. I've kept my digital illustration prices lower as I'm able to complete these in less time - there's no undo button on a paintbrush! I've included some examples so you can see some of the more detailed digital work. Scroll through the gallery below by clicking on the pictures.

Have a look at the new price guide here

Thanks for being ace, understanding people.