Guys!! I have just come upon an extremely useful tool for those who are trying to figure out how much to sell their work by, either for commission or when selling finished work.
I must first say that this is just one way to go about pricing your work, but I hope that may be helpful to someone!
An online art marketing and job seeking site called The Creative Group offers a salary calculator which allows you to specify the type of work you do and a zipcode. Upon putting in this information, it will give you a range and an average yearly salary for that category of professional work in that particular area. You can then compare it against nearby cities/towns and against the national average, and just go hog wild seeing how much most other artists get for their work. Keep in mind this is all in US dollars, so conversion to other forms of currency will have to be done should you not be in the US.
The calculator can be found here: http://www.roberthalf.com/creativegroup/salary-calculator
The jobs including Studio Artist, Illustrator, 3D Modeler, and Graphic Illustrators can be found under the 'Design and Production' category if you are unsure of where to look in the directory.
Sadly, it does not include a converter to see what the hourly wage would be, but I have found a separate, simple calculator that will do just that, and tell you how much you would get weekly and monthly as well! The link is located here: http://www.calcxml.com/calculators/convert-salary-to-hourly
I had just looked up salaries for Studio Artists, 3D Modelers, and Medical Illustrators (sadly, no Scientific Illustrator category was included, so Medical will have to do. Medical illustration require stricter qualifications than scientific, so will garner more money per hour, but I am assuming that scientific would be only slightly less than what is shown for medical).
For Studio Artists in my area near Nashville, TN, with more than 3 years of experience, I was given a range of salary from $51,555 - $68,249 per year. PER YEAR! I threw the lowest salary into the hourly wage calculator, and received thus:
A salary of $51,555 equates to a monthly pay of $4,296, weekly pay of $991, and an hourly wage of $24.79.
Nearly $25 an HOUR. That is amazing (if only we could get such consistent work!)! And sadly, it shows how much many artists undersell themselves when I see work that nets artists maybe $5-$10 dollars an hour. A lot of artists I know don't even make minimum wage with the art they do, and I will have to concede that I am in that same boat.
This comprehensive comparative salary calculator really shows that artists I know and myself really are not indicative of the professional artistic community at large, and we may actually be doing a disservice to those artists who stand up for their rightly earned hourly wages. As we continue to sell art at such cheap levels when it does not reflect the amount of skill displayed in the end product, we are helping to support clients' ideas that art should be and is cheap, for any number of reasons, and that hurts the artistic community and those artists who are trying to dedicate their lives to what they love to do and survive on it.
We give ourselves way too little credit - art may not be a 'practical' skill, but from what this website is demonstrating, people acknowledge that the humanities, and the arts, are worthwhile endeavors, and give it real credence as a viable job position worth paying for. We bring variety and interest to the world. We help people see things from different perspectives, and enliven what might be a finite existence. We shouldn't be afraid to feel happy about what we do, because there are others out there who appreciate us, though they may not say it to our faces sometimes. Even though there may not seem to be any purpose to what you create, go ahead and do it anyway - stranger things have been taken and ran with, with amazing results, and the proliferation of imagination and expression of human existence. Take the beloved H.R. Geiger for instance, and all the other amazing creative forces out there, extant and past. Art surprisingly has some semblance of place in a world where trade schools and practicality may seem to be a better alternative financially. We're the weird, harebrained propagators of creativity that other people are seeking out, to help bring their own ideas to fruition.
I very much encourage taking a look at what your field may net for yearly salary, and definitely reconsider what your art is worth - it's most definitely helped reinforce my own concepts, and should be implemented relatively soon. I completely understand that getting people to buy artwork can be tricky, especially for those just starting out, and I wish I had some effective advice.I highly, HIGHLY recommend JessicaMDouglas 's 'Exploring Art' journal series on DA - she provides much much more practical advice for the beginning artist, and the ones who haven't thought about the money half like me. Specific journals that I really suggest you read include
Go forth, and prosper! : D