How Much to Charge for Pet Portrait Painting: My Easy Guide for Artists

When I was first commissioned to paint a pet portrait, I had no idea what to charge. Was it by the hour, a flat rate, how long would it take etc. Figuring out how much to charge for pet portrait painting was going to take some serious analysis if I was going to make a profit.

If you’re new to selling pet portraits (I like to call them “pawtraits”), working out the right price for pet portrait paintings can be a bit challenging, especially with the wide range of prices in the market.

Charging too much might scare potential clients away, while undercharging might not pay off for the time and effort invested in creating the masterpiece. To make things easier for budding artists, here’s a breakdown of some factors to consider when setting portrait pricing.

One aspect to think about is the size and complexity of the painting. Smaller paintings with minimal detailing might fetch around $100 or so, whereas a highly detailed, lifelike painting of a pet could go upwards of $1,000.

Understanding what other artists charge for similar work is also necessary. Some high-end custom dog portrait artists might charge between $2,500 to $10,000, while others offer services for around $100 on Etsy. This information can help me determine a fair price for the quality and uniqueness of my work.

Another significant factor is the time spent creating the painting. On average, a quality pet portrait can take anywhere from 20 to 50 hours to complete. Considering the cost of materials, the artist’s experience, and a reasonable hourly wage, I can calculate the price that makes the most sense for my art. Being transparent with clients about what goes into the cost will allow them to see the value and appreciate the unique, sentimental treasure they are investing in.

Factors to Consider When Estimating How Much To Charge For Pet Portrait PaintingDescriptionAverage Cost/Time
Size and ComplexitySmaller, less detailed paintings charge less than intricate ones$100 to $1,000
Market Comparative ResearchPrices other artists charge for similar work$100 to $10,000
Time InvestmentTime taken to create a quality pet portrait20 to 50 hours
Materials and ExperienceCost of materials, artist’s experience, and hourly wageVaries
Factors to Consider When Estimating How Much To Charge For Pet Portrait Painting

This table breaks down the main factors you need to consider when setting your prices for pet portrait paintings. They include the size and complexity of the painting, the prices that other artists charge for similar work, the time investment needed, and the cost of materials and experience level.

By the way, I ended up charging $500 for the painting below. I completed it over a weekend so it was a nice $250 a day with $50 in materials and about 15 hours all up.

how much to charge for pet portrait painting
How Much to Charge for Pet Portrait Painting

Determining Your Skill Level


When you’re just starting out in the world of pet portrait painting, it’s vital to consider your skill level when pricing your work. As a novice, I recognize that my portraits may not be as refined or detailed as those created by more experienced artists.

So, I would advise fellow beginners to keep their prices lower in the beginning. Setting a price range of $50-$100 is reasonable for novices. Remember to focus on improving your skills, and as your technique advances, you can gradually increase your prices.


As you progress in your pet portrait painting abilities, you’ll start to develop your individual style and have much more experience under your belt.

I noticed that when I reached the intermediate level, my confidence in my artwork grew, and I knew I could charge a bit more for my creations. At this level, setting a price range of $150-$350 is quite fair. Ensure that while you’re increasing your prices, you’re also continuously refining your skills and providing better value to your clients.


Having years of experience in painting pet portraits can ultimately place you in the expert category. At this skill level, you’ve mastered various techniques, and your pet portraits display precision and professionalism.

This is the point where I felt comfortable charging premium prices for my work, knowing I was providing clients with high-quality portraits that they would truly appreciate. Expert artists should consider a price range of $500-$1,000 or even higher, depending on factors like size, medium, and level of detail.

As your skill level improves, it’s crucial to reevaluate your pricing strategy regularly. Remember that pet portrait painting is not only about the final product, but also the time and effort you put into each piece.

By knowing your worth and adjusting your prices accordingly, you’ll create a successful and rewarding pet portrait painting business.

beagle puppies pawtrait
My first pawtrait – oil on wood

Pricing Factors to Consider

Size of the Portrait

When deciding on pricing for pet portrait paintings, one necessary factor to consider is the size of the portrait. Typically, larger portraits require more materials and time spent on the project. This can greatly affect the final price charged to the client. For example, a small 8×10 portrait might cost around $100, while a larger 16×20 portrait could be closer to $500 or more.

Complexity and Detail

Another key aspect that can influence the price of a pet portrait painting is the level of complexity and detail in the painting. If a client requests a highly detailed and realistic painting, it will understandably take more time and skill to create.

On the other hand, a more simple, abstract or stylized painting could require less time and effort. Keep in mind that the more intricacies you incorporate into your painting, the higher you may need to price your work.

For instance, you may charge $300 for a simple portrait, but increase the price to $600 or more for a highly detailed masterpiece.

Materials and Technique

The choice of materials and technique can also impact the pricing of your pet portraits. Some materials, such as high-quality paints, brushes, and canvas, can be more expensive, which will inevitably increase the price of the final artwork.

Additionally, your preferred technique, such as oil painting, watercolor, or digital illustration, may influence the time and materials necessary for completing the portrait. Be mindful of these factors when setting your prices.

Below is how much of an estimated variance in price you can expect to charge based on the painting medium and substrates (i.e. surfaces such as canvas, paper etc). Keep in mind that this is a rough estimate and can vary significantly from artist to artist.

So for example, if I said a small painting would cost me about $200 in my time and materials, I would either discount by 20% to make the sale or charge an extra 20% if its on paper or up to an extra 200% if its on canvas simply because buyers deem oil on canvas to be worth way more than oil on canvas paper.

Painting MediumBase Material (Substrates)Estimated Variance (%) from Base cost
Oil PaintingPaper-20% to +20%
Oil PaintingCanvas-20% to +200%
Acrylic PaintingPaper-50% to +20%
Acrylic PaintingCanvas-50% to +100%
WatercolorWatercolor Paper-20% to +300%
PastelPastel Paper-20% to +200%
Charcoal/PencilDrawing Paper-50% to +100%
Digital ArtN/A-40% to +100%

The percentage variance essentially represents the potential decrease or increase in cost from the average, depending on the complexity and size of the pet portrait.

The lower end of the percentage range represents a potential decrease in price (for smaller, less complex works), and the upper end represents a potential increase in price (for larger, more complex works).

Time Investment

Lastly, don’t forget to factor in the time spent on the project. As a visual artist, your time and expertise are valuable.

Consider the hours you invest in each painting, from sketching to final touches, and ensure that your prices reflect an appropriate compensation for your talent and effort. You may find that charging an hourly rate, in addition to material costs, works best for your business model.

By keeping these factors in mind, you can create pricing that fairly reflects your skill, time, materials, and the uniqueness of each pet portrait painting.

Researching the Market Competition

Local Art Market

Exploring the local art market helps me understand the demand for pet portraits and the prices other artists charge. I visit art galleries, attend art fairs, and connect with fellow artists.

This allows me to gather information about the prices for different mediums and sizes. Here are some of the things I observe:

  • Oil paintings – often range from $500 to $5,000
  • Acrylic paintings – prices usually fall between $300 and $2,000
  • Watercolor – can be priced from $200 to $1,500
  • Charcoal and pencil drawings – typically cost between $100 and $500

These prices depend on the artist’s experience, size of the artwork, and the level of customization desired by the client.

Online Art Market

The internet offers a vast marketplace for selling pet portraits, with many opportunities for artists to be successful. I regularly use platforms like Etsy, eBay, personal artist websites, and social media platforms like Instagram to research prices and get a sense of the competition. Online, I find that prices vary depending on the medium, skill of the artist, and style. Some examples include:

  • Digital art – artworks can range from $50 to $200
  • Hand-painted pet portraits – prices may be anywhere between $100 and $2,000
  • Customized prints from original artwork – these can be priced from $25 to $100

Studying the online art market helps me understand popular price ranges and stay competitive in the pet portrait industry. By keeping my pricing competitive and offering quality work, I can attract more clients and create a successful pet portrait business.

Building Client Relationships

Offering Discounts for Repeat Customers

In my experience, providing discounts for repeat customers is a great way to show appreciation for their loyalty. It encourages them to come back and continue choosing my pet portrait services. I often offer deals such as:

  • 10% off for their second pet portrait
  • 15% off for their third pet portrait or more

This pricing strategy has helped me maintain strong relationships with clients while also giving them a reason to share my services with their friends and family.

Creating Custom Packages

Another approach I’ve found to be successful in building client relationships is offering custom packages tailored to their needs. This way, they can get exactly what they want without having to pay for unnecessary extras. Some popular custom package options include:

  • Basic Package – Single pet portrait with a simple background
  • Deluxe Package – Detailed pet portrait with a more complex background, additional pets, or accessories
  • Digital Package – Digitally-created pet portrait with the option to print on various products (e.g., mugs, phone cases, etc.)

Overall, crafting these unique package deals allows me to cater to a wider variety of customer preferences, which ultimately leads to satisfied clients who are more likely to return and refer others. By focusing on these key strategies – offering discounts for repeat customers and creating custom packages – I’ve successfully built lasting relationships with clients while growing my pet portrait business.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Much to Charge for Pet Portrait Painting For Digital Artists?

I generally charge between $50 and $300 for digital pet portraits. Prices can vary depending on the intricacy of the illustration and the specific demands of the customer.

What are watercolor prices?

Watercolor pet portraits start at around $100, but costs can increase based on the level of detail and size of the painting. A more realistic portrait with multiple pets could cost up to $500 or more.

Pastel portrait costs?

Pastels can create beautiful pet portraits with soft textures. The prices for these artworks range from $150 to $400. The cost depends on size, number of subjects, and artist’s skill level.

Oil painting commission fees?

Pet portraits in oil painting can be quite stunning. I typically charge between $300 and $1000 for these paintings, depending on variables like size and complexity.

Time taken for pet portrait?

The time it takes to complete a pet portrait depends on the medium and the amount of detail desired. A simple digital illustration might take a few hours, whereas an intricate oil painting may require 20 to 50 hours. From the start of the project to the finished piece, it could range from a couple of days to several weeks.

Remember, investing in a pet portrait can be a fulfilling experience. The key is to find an artist whose style resonates with your vision, and the prices and time frames that suit your requirements.

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