If we are talking about the value I bring to the world around me in terms of pleasantness, then my net worth is probably right around $-2.33. But I am talking about my art, or more specifically my comic/cartooning artwork. I don't really consider myself an artist, I never mastered painting or sculpting or any other fine art discipline. My work will never hang in a museum, but some of it does hang on people's walls of their studios or homes, and that's pretty cool.
Sometimes I get paid to draw comics, sometimes not, but the real value of my art comes in the form of how much someone will pay for it. I hope I don't sound greedy or anything, I know my place in the pecking order of comic book artists currently working out there today. I often draw for fun and for free, but if it's my goal to make a career, I need to be paid for my work. An aspiring plumber will only unclog so many septics for free until he feels he should be rewarded for his work. Same rules apply here. I attended a con last year and I did free sketches for kids. I was happy to do it, I have kids, some of them are neat little people. In the end though, the majority of the drawings I did ended up being for infants or toddlers, with the parents proudly proclaiming they wanted a sketch of Wolverine. Somewhere between crapping himself and drooling, I doubt that kid asked his Daddy for a Wolverine sketch (yellow costume no-less). I didn't mind the sketching, it was a challenge and I agreed to do it. Over the course of the 2 days however, not one parent offered to buy a commission, a comic or a con sketch of their own. My point is, because I was doing sketches for free, I was given no value by the people.
So instances like the one above cloud my view about what I should be asking for my work. At conventions I do sketches for $15. I think that's a fair price for my 20 or so minutes worth of work to provide the buyer with a unique piece of art. Sometimes I get people who say I should charge more and actually force more money into my hands, sometimes I get people who make faces if I don't do a free sketch for them. I do include a free quick sketch if they buy a copy of my comic or sketchbook, but that would still cost money and they are not interested in that. I usually take on commissions ranging from $30-$50 and I sell most of my original art for only $10-25 bucks. This is a very fair price I think, and I always appreciate the customers who come back every year and support me.
I guess what prompted this entire hot-air filled post was that earlier today I was thinking about lining up some customers for some custom sketchcard art. I have a total of 4 artist return cards from work I did for 5finity cards that I am looking to sell so I tried to gauge my value and check eBay. It was then that I noticed a card I did for a panel at the Phoenix Comic-Con, a card that was raffled off and given away for free was posted up there for a $150 buy-it-now. The person who owns the card has every right to sell it of course, but they are seriously over-estimating the value of my art. So I estimate it at more than free, they obviously have a much higher opinion of me, god bless them. I have a strong feeling that this person would never buy any work from me at a convention however, but I hope they get something for their hard work in setting up that listing.
Okay, the little bit of curiosity and self evaluation is over. All that said, I am currently taking commissions for full size pieces and sketchcards. Let me know if you are interested. super75comics(at)gmail(dot)com.