While talking to ruggels about the responses to my last "Business tip of the day" entry, we got on the subject of my sketchbook and other sketchbooks of prominent comic artists that are often available at comic cons and the like. We talked about folks who will go the extra mile and make their sketchbooks colored and nicely bound and on cardstock and overall just making bigger and badder sketchbooks, with more pages and more flare. While that is lovely, if they follow the rules of my last entry, they will /have/ to make this sketchbook more expensive to cover the cost of production. What was once $15 will now become $25, or $35, or even more expensive than that.
He told me that some artists skills improve to the point where they feel that they have every right to charge more for /their/ sketchbooks because hey, you're getting better quality art than everyone else has to offer, of /course/ you should pay more.
Now here is where I disagree. If your skills improve, that is great for you, and you can charge more for your finished pieces if you want to. If folks will pay it, then lucky for you, you are awesome. However, if you are going to charge way more, like..$40 for a 20 page book of sketches on printer paper that everyone else charges $15 for (and this is really a reasonable price, having been to several pro conventions that is really what they charge), I think that is a little silly. It's still sketches, and while I'm not saying you /can't/ do that, it seems a little unethical to rape people in the wallet because you had an ego trip.
If you keep your prices affordable for your low end pieces, sure you'll be on the same playing field as everyone else, BUT if you are indeed, better than everyone else as you claim to be, you should get by far more customers than they will, thereby making the same amount of money you would have if you only got a few folks to buy your overpriced sketchbook.
Also, if you keep improving your sketchbooks to the point where they are no longer sketchbooks, but full color hard bound art journals, then that also defeats the purpose of having something fairly priced that folks can pick up as a souvenir or grab as a sample. When folks pick up sketchbooks at conventions, they're really looking for a "sample" of the artist, something that is inexpensive but visually appealing. Making these harder to attain by overpricing them or putting too many bells and whistles on them that you feel the need to up the price, well again, this defeats the purpose of the idea.
Let's apply it to myself as an example
The main point of this is: It is important to have a range of services of various prices
If all of your stuff is high priced, you only have a select market of individuals who will be able to buy your stuff. If you have low priced stuff that really doesn't take you long to do at all with minimal effort, then you can charge lower for them and appeal to folks who would love to have something from you but can't afford a wall mural without you digging into your time and self worth.
This is why I think conbadges are awesome to collect. It is a full color custom character commission, but teeny tiny, and inexpensive! I see so many folks these days charging higher and higher prices for conbadges, and this is fine, its their perrogative as they spend a lot more effort on those badges than your average badge artist might, but this will also /might/ cost them a few customers. Sure you can have the super highly detailed conbadges available for $60, hey I do it, something like this badge for visioncrafter would be about that priced, however I still have my more simple yet still full color conbadges available for far a far cheaper but just as cool $35, same price for digital or real media. And if you can't afford that, I can do detailed pencil or ink for even less. Its easy on my time, easy on my hand, and easy on your wallet, and hey, you have /lots/ to choose from.
Now, I'm not saying that folks shouldn't charge what they feel they are worth, not at all. If anything I'm an advocate for artists within the fandom to up their prices collectively so folks will get it through their heads that we are not art slaves that will stand for working for pennies on the dollar on their 6 boobed herm-taur and yet /still/ have them feel we owe them our souls. But I am saying that it is important as an artist to not get /such/ a big head that you think you're too great to do a little $10 sketch here and there and that you're ONLY going to draw if you get that $450 color commission. If you offer more of a variety in mediums, styles and priceranges, you will build a better market for yourself and you won't turn into a one trick pony.
I hope these are helpful.