Recently I realized that I’ve been going about things all wrong. Since I started my business in 2011 I always thought of myself as a retailer who sold things: cards and drawings. In the beginning I started with quick doodles on birthday cards, almost more like a party trick than a piece of art. Look, I can doodle a cartoon of you in five minutes, ta-da! But my customers have always seen me differently. They saw me turning their ideas and visions into artwork, and they saw me as an artist. The most consistent piece of feedback that I have received other than pleasure and gratitude, is the admonishment that I have been charging too little for my work. Some customers have even scolded me gently for selling myself short.
And they were right. What began as a neat trick and few simple doodles has evolved into a kind of work to which I give my best efforts, heart and soul. And I finally have realized that I’m not a retailer selling things, I’m an artist selling my artwork.
I’ve decided that the way I price my work should reflect that, and so from now I will be pricing according to a competitive hourly rate for custom illustration. For most projects this won’t change the pricing much – my most popular order is the 8×10 Keepsake, which in most cases will still cost around $30-45. I will always give you an estimated price when you order so that you’re not in for a surprise when the invoice comes. I will continue to send an invoice once we have an approved proof, so that you can be sure you are going to be happy with the work before you pay me a dime.
One significant change is that I’m not going to be offering small custom cards anymore, unless specially ordered at the hourly rate. As my drawing style has matured, the small custom cards have become terribly unprofitable, and not all that popular anyway. Instead I will create more original printed cards and keep my Etsy store stocked up with cards for various occasions.
Thanks to all my customers and especially the ones who have been loyal fans since the inception of E Custom Cards in 2011 – you know who you are! People sometimes email me wondering if I remember doing a drawing for them a couple of years ago and the answer is YES, I do! I love you guys, old customers and new. Your enthusiasm keeps me going. Now come here and give me an awkward side-hug.