Is it worth spending money on wedding art? #Budgeting Advice#custom illustrations#custom invitations#invitations February 23 | Ariel offbeatbride We're trying to do our wedding on the cheap but still have it be unique and cool. So, we decided that our theme needs to start with the invitations! We hired a local tattoo artist to draw up [Editor's note: DRAW, not design!] a 50's-60's rock concert poster for us that we plan on printing off at Kinko's and mailing as our invite. The problem is, he just told me it's going to cost $500 in order for him to draw up the original! So, I'm thinking $500 for the original + ($.48 X 150) for printing + small manila envelopes for mailing + postage + home printed response cards = me being taken to the cleaners on my "cheap & cool" invites? Or, is it worth it for the cool factor and the fact that we will forever have original artwork to remember our wedding by? I have to laugh that our invites could cost us more than our rock-club reception space! -Becky Photo courtesy of Anne Ruthmann Photography. To clarify, this is NOT the art Becky is talking about. Ah yes. How well I know the progression from "cheap and cool" to "handcrafted and awesome" to "hey wait a minute — this would have cost less if I'd gotten invites at Target!" Awesome offbeat custom wedding stuff has a sneaky way of costing more than mass produced mainstream stuff. A custom dress made in China is going to cost you less than a custom dress made around the corner. Ultimately, I can't really tell you what's "worth it" for your wedding. But I will say that I see spending money on your offbeat wedding to be a great exercise in prioritizing your splurges. Is original artwork commemorating your wedding worth spending money on? If art is important to you — then fuck yeah it is! I'm reminded the conversation I had a while back with an artist friend. Artwork honoring your wedding is an amazing heirloom, one that's infinitely more compelling than silver candlesticks. For some people that means commissioning a gorgeous Ketubahs, for others it means having a local tattoo artist draw up an original rock concert poster. If visual art is important to you, I'm gonna say investing the money in a poster you can hang in your home for years … I say go for it. That said, I think it's important to think about priorities — for some people, it's not worth it to spend money on the invite because they want to invest in the photography. Or the food. Or the perfect venue. Only you can know your priorities. Whatever your one priority is, go for it. UPDATE WITH A CLARIFICATION: From the comments, it's clear that there's some confusion between custom illustration vs. graphic design. They're very, very different things. Becky says the tattoo artist is going to DRAW their invitation, which means it's a custom illustration — not just a photoshop job. Not that graphic design can't be art, but it's not the same thing. Reporter Name * Reporter Email * Original text Enter the original text here. Edited text* Enter your suggested copyedit here. Notes You can add a note for the editor here. * Required information. Fix Typo Ariel Author of Offbeat Bride: Creative Alternatives for Independent Brides, Ariel acts as the publisher of all the Offbeat Empire websites. She lives in Seattle with her son, and if she's not reading or writing, chances are good that she's dancing and happy-crying. PREVIOUS Linda & Stephen's fairy tale, tea party wedding NEXT My Wedding Binder will slap your wedding organization into shape Show/Hide comments [ 47 ] I was in a somewhat similar situation when it came time to do the save the dates. My fiance's friend does graphic design and offered to do a custom art design for our stuff. Sounded cool until the price quote of $200 for 50 save the date postcards came. We were really torn because we like his friend's work a lot and want to support her, but to us the save the dates simply weren't that important. I would have been just as happy sending everyone an email saying, "YO! Getting married! Save the date for blah blah blah!" So we decided to come up with something on our own and have it printed at Vistaprint. So I say you two should sit down and separately come up with your top three list of most important items for your wedding. See where you match and come up with a top 3 master list. If having kickass invites is on that list, go for it! If it didn't make the cut, it might be better to save that money. Another thing to consider. Would you be able to scan the poster and use elements of it in other parts of the wedding? If you could scan it and use parts on the place cards, menus, etc, that would be pretty cool imo. 2 agree Reply I have to agree this is a slippery slope on the designers versus artists. Designers ARE artists. One of my best friends is a digital designer and every design she does goes through several hand-sketched versions, and then goes into photoshop where she used a digital tablet to hand mold and draw and color each design. She is more of an artist than many people I know. Also my fiance is a graphic designer and I would say he works just as hard and turns out just as good of a result as an old-school illustrator. It's easy to think that computer= faster, easier, less talent or detail involved but that is simply not true. That being said, having done art commission and muraling, and my fiance's opinion as a graphic designer and digital artist, we both agree that $500 is very steep. Maybe not for some areas but..I could easily get a huge tattoo, put on my body with all the hours of work included, and the custom design to go with for less than that. So yes, from a tattoo artist especially, that seems steep. I think you could find a litany of other artists, digital or no, to do it for much less. 6 agree Reply We asked an artist friend to design invites as his wedding gift to us. They look great. But are non-standard sizes to print. Anyone familiar with the financial bother New Order landed up in with their fancy CDs will understand why we call them the Blue Monday of wedding invites… 2 agree Reply Another reason why this guy may be submitting what SEEMS to be a rather high quote is that he just isn't that interested in the job. If a tattooed look is really what you want, at least ask some other tattoo artists. I myself have been guilty of overpricing work if I am really not that interested in doing it. Like once I priced myself out of doing an illustration of a cartoony version of this local race car driver holding a rebel flag. I subconsciously priced it higher because I just dreaded having to do it. Of course I didn't get the project, but I was quite happy about it. 3 agree Reply Not that a wedding poster can be compared in any way to that scenario, but sometimes somethings appeal more to some artists than others. He may be thinking that he would rather just be doing a couple of tattoos during that period of time than designing a poster. 2 agree Reply Very True. As a professional designer AND illustrator, I know that by raising the price, you can turn away clients that you don't really want, without burning bridges by giving a flat out no. That way, if you get the job for that price, you have enough money to salve the sting of the job, and if you don't get the job, well..you didn't want it anyways. What kind of service/interaction are you getting with the job? A full page, hand drawn illustration can be inexpensive, but it tends to be a "what you see is what you get" type situation. No edits, no changes once it's done. If I have a client that I know is going to want to go back and change a few dozen things once the illustration is finished (a.k.a. the dreaded project creep), I factor that into the price ahead of time. Sadly, brides who are stressed out about their big day tend to be pretty bad about this. I've had a "tiiiinnnny, quick little illustration – not a big thing at all!" morph into "sooo..can you move the hand back down again to where I had it last time? oh..and redo the edging on the dress there. and can you make her hair curly instead?" So, in short, it may not be friendly or fair, but behind the scenes, A price tag can reflect wayyy more than the actual illustration itself. 2 agree Reply sorry, ILLUSTRATING a poster. man apparently i suck at posting, i am just gonna stick to looking at the wedding porn. 🙂 1 agrees Reply First thing to consider: Size/format of the finished work. What are you really getting for your $500? What size is he offering you? My tattoo, around 6"x4" cost me $250. I came in with my idea and he redesigned it to fit with his style. Are you getting something bigger than that? Smaller? Will he provide a digital version (he probably has a great scanner for doing resizing, etc)? I agree, you can always try other artists, apprentices, or look at art schools or Etsy. Just have to set your priorities. But if you want it as a tattoo, and you really like this guy's work, go with it! 1 agrees Reply Would he have charged her $500 for a tattoo of it?!?!?!?! 1 agrees Reply I really like this post because it's a rare subject I'm somewhat qualified to respond to. I'm a print producer by trade. I love helping with DIY my friends with DIY invites but cost is always such a bummer, even with major cost cutting steps (like stealing photo copies from a work, etc). Also, if you are spending $500 on detailed, colorful art but kinkos to print, it may not be worth it in the end. The copy quality from Kinkos might be very disappointing. The real trick is finding the best DIY method to suit your budget and your design. There is sorta a rule of thumb in my industry in regards to these three concepts: Cool, Cheap and On Time. You only get two of these. You can have something cool and cheap…but it likely isn't going to get done in time. You can have it done on time and cool…but it likely isn't going to be cheap. It sorta applies to DIY, I guess. When helping friends do DIY invites, here are some of my tips: 1. budget is key. Also, keep in mind many wedding invite styles are not standard postage. 2. how much time do you have? 4. as many have said, having artwork created as a gift from a friend is a great way to cut costs. 5. Cutting out any "finishing" at a the printer (aka, kinkos) can save a little money. You can cut, glue, all this stuff on your own. You may not do as good a job but you'll save some dough. Plus, it looks like you touched it…which is more DIY anyhow. 6. understanding what method of "printing" you can afford is super important 1 agrees Reply My fiance is a graphic designer and did ours and they turned out great. For $500 we had 100 save the date cards, thank you cards, and welcome cards. All custom screen printed, on French Paper with custom ink. My fiance designed it all and just had a shoppe print them out! They are works of art and people actually have them framed in their homes now! I heart it! 1 agrees Reply The writer here needs a priority shift. She's not paying for a poster reproduction; she's paying for original artwork. I don't think $500 is that out of line. I find it insulting when people want free/cheap services from people who do the work as a livelihood. A group of us designed and made a custom wedding certificate for my brother and sister-in-law's wedding. Mom did the layout, another friend chose the wording, a third did the lettering because she has amazing handwriting, and I did the painted illustration. (Our religious tradition does large certificates that are signed by all the wedding guests. Normally, they are not heavily ornamented, but this was a special gift.) It was easily $500 worth of work, and it was probably not as involved as the request being made of the artist in this letter. People don't realize any more how much it costs in time and effort to do this kind of thing. I've been told time and again I should do it more, as a second job, but there's no way I can charge enough for my stuff to cover my time and materials without pricing myself out of a market that's used to cheap faux folk-art from Hobby Lobby. The reason so many things are not made by hand any more is that it costs a whole lot more! 6 agree Reply BTW our save the dates are also the invites! Want custom work done, you have to sacrifice some things. The printer that printed out our invites were the best, they actually took our half page size and said you will have more space and said we should use the room and we did for thank yous and cards for welcome bags. If you want custom work you pay for it, but in the end it is all about your reprsentation to whom you are as a couple. My fiance being a designer and college professor for design it was important to us for them to be the BEST!!!! In lieu of that we are not doing favors and some of the traditional wedding stuff to save loot! It took Ryan 4 months to design them…it is a destination wedding and he wanted it to be perfect. Sometimes you cannot put a price on those things! 2 agree Reply I think the issue isn't "Is $500 a rip-off or not?" because, well, that's totally subjective. What I would let guide you is this: Is this something that you want for *you* and that is worth it for you, or is this something you want for your *guests*? If it's something that *feels personally meaningful to you, DO IT. That's how we should each pick our wedding splurges (in time or in money). BUT. If this is something that you are doing because some part of your brain thinks, "Our guests will see it and get how amazing our wedding is going to be!" then my advice is don't. First, we don't tend to really think through how guests treat invitations ("Oh that's lovely, what's the date again?" … proceed to bury invite under a pile of bills). Second, you do tend to regret time and money spent trying to impress or make other people happy. 3 agree Reply I was about to reply and ooze over how perfect this reply was – then I saw it was Miss Meg!! Duh, of course this seems the most practical advice to me… 🙂 I wish I had had this advice before starting our invitation debacle… oy! 1 agrees Reply is it worth it? depends on your priorities, your budget and your view of practical. Commissioning custom art at a price that you are comfortable with (and maybe that means working out a payment arrangement?) is one thing; spending $500 and then several hundred more on printing (BTW Kinkos is notoriously expensive, try other print shops used to doing business jobs) and shipping when PEOPLE WILL JUST RECYCLE THEM. Sorry, it's the truth. A few will keep them, but at the end of the day, the invitation only matters to you. Get the art if you really want it and display it at the wedding (guest book area) and then design something simple in the same style and send that out as your invite. It's a great compromise and will save you a bundle. 1 agrees Reply "then several hundred more on printing (BTW Kinkos is notoriously expensive, try other print shops used to doing business jobs) and shipping when PEOPLE WILL JUST RECYCLE THEM. Sorry, it's the truth. A few will keep them, but at the end of the day, the invitation only matters to you." This is so very true. How often do people keep the invites once the wedding is over? I would venture not very often. I like the idea of displaying the art at the wedding and maybe finding a cheaper alternative to the invites. I know I have found great invites on Etsy for a small price. 1 agrees Reply I agree. My cousin Joe just got married a couple weeks ago. I pretty much lost his invite a week after I got it, and does it really matter to me if I find it? No, not really. Most people just look at it for the vital information and then toss it. For some reason this hadn't occurred to me until now because even I was thinking about getting fancy invites lol. Maybe I will get my bridesmaids together (who are all art girls anyway) and do some crafty invites with stamps to save money (or, on the other side of the spectrum, if I feel particularly lazy, get the ready-made ones from Hobby Lobby, though I do prefer some uniqueness and personalization). I also think save-the-dates may be a waste of money (and trees). I wonder, how necessary are they anyway, when the invite is just going to have the same information? I think I would have liked my cousin Joe to have a wedding website that I could check back at for updates, to remind me of vital information, and where I could RSVP at (I ended up just RSVPing to him on facebook anyway). So, to me, going inexpensive on the invites, cutting out the save-the-dates, and having a wedding website is a lot more practical, if not at least a little more "green"(if that is important to you). But, as been stated several times previously, it all depends what your priorities are and what -you- like. Saving money can be vital or just a bonus. (But who doesn't love extra money. That's honeymoon moolah lol) 1 agrees Reply I'n no professional artist, but I just spent a few hours painting a "Save the Date." I then scanned it, added a few words (that were too little to paint), and emailed it out. $0 spent (I already had the supplies), and we have the original canvas as "art." If you have a vision, see if you can realize it yourself (it's fun AND low risk–if you don't like it, then you can always still get someone else to do it) 🙂 2 agree Reply I just bought my invitations for around $500 and they are the bomb!! This guy captured the fun and "offbeatness" of our wedding to the tee! He was reasonable to work with, enthusiastic of our ideas and he did an AMAZING job. It's poster style and this is our splurge. As my friend said, "it now doesn't matter if something goes wonky at your wedding because you have the best invitation that will bring the coolest people and we're going to have the best time!" And I agree. It's helping me calm down about everything else. If I hadn't found this designer I don't think I'd be having so much fun planning my wedding! I"ll post the invites on OBBT when I get them in. (They are at the printers now and I just can't wait!) Check out his work http://www.rattle-n-roll.com and tell him Andrea sent you! (REally I'm not invested in this at all, I just love his work!) And I think it was the best $650 (invites and some addtionals for 100) I've EVER spent!!! If the art work calls buy it!! 1 agrees Reply I just want to say, as an illustrator, thanks to everyone for discussing this topic is such length! I was shocked to see so many people to say how $500 is out of line (its not!!) but the other half of you know what you value in art, or are artists =). While I'm glad that wedding art is something I can do myself- I put a high price value on every other aspect of the wedding! A custom dress, the flowers, the photographer- everyone knows that there you get what you pay for! Wedding art is the same way- you can't pay $50 and expect as good of quality as $500 or more (unless you got lucky!) Illustrators/designers on the other hand need to know how to price themselves- break it down to how much you work an hour helps, if you work for ten hours on that $50 picture…thats $5 an hour! Ugh! That 500 looks a lot better now! 1 agrees Reply A custom image from a tattoo artist is not necessarily more expensive than a custom image from a designer, nor is a designer someone who only does "photoshop jobs". My FH is an established designer and he would charge way more than $500 for a job like the one described by the OP. My good friend is a crazy brilliant artist working on her MFA, and I bet she would charge way LESS. I don't think either one of them would try to design anything in photoshop, though. For the original post, as others have said, you will have the $500 original forever, your printing costs aren't bad (though you might think about using a higher quality print shop/service), and unless you go the postcard route you'll be buying envelopes anyway (bulk manila envelopes will probably be super cheap). 1 agrees Reply Me and the boy are designing our own STDs and invites to hand-screen print, and boy howdy, we've spent too many hours to count getting the layers ready, selecting and shopping for inks, stressing about the fonts matching, etc. We haven't even got around to getting the screens built/prepped and actually printing/mailing them. But on the other hand, for 100 each of STDs and invites it is going to be about $150 for super custom, pretty paper goods. We "designed" the save-the-date in photoshop, and I hand drew a scene for the invite cover (booklet style). I'm happy with the product so far, but I'm getting to the point where I want someone else to stress out about it and just have it DONE. The eternal conundrum of DIY. 1 agrees Reply Thank you Ariel for this post! You make a great point, it just depends on how important to you it is! If you scoff at the fact at paying $500 for art, then it's probably not your thing and that's okay! I am an illustrator and designer, and $500 isn't unusual to me. Many of us have gone through many, many years of schooling to get to the skill level we are today. We have spent thousands of dollars on classes, supplies, models, etc. And this is our career… our actual day job! It's no hobby, it's how we pay the bills and feed our children. Instead of being paid hourly or by salary, we get paid by project. (and projects don't come all that often!) We don't do five $500 illustrations a week. We spend a few weeks, maybe even months on a piece. (Think about how much you make in 2 work weeks.) The price may seem steep because it's the total amount of money presented to you at once. With printing and supplies it does add up to a LOT of money! I was a bride very recently and got sticker shock many times. Like Ariel said, you have to decide if it's worth it to you! A student or hobbyist would charge less of course. A student will need a bit of cash for food and a portfolio piece, and a hobbyist probably has a "day job" and doesn't worry so much about paying the bills with the freelance design work. But us full time artists and designers, it's our life. And we think our life is worth a certain amount. If someone offered me $50 to design their invitations, I would actually feel a little insulted. I would feel like my work wasn't worth much to them and that I'm not good. (I am not saying designers who charge $50 are bad, there are a lot of talented people out there. But I personally think after so many years of doing this, I would be worth more in someone's eyes.) We typically base our pricing on our cost of living and our experience. We pretty much do math- how much does it costs to live each month? How much do we want to save for the future? How much time will I be working on this per day? I hope this helps people to understand how freelance artists and designers work. It did scare me a bit when people thought our prices were too much (I'll never find work in this town again!) $500 is scary on the surface, but trust us a lot of time and love goes into it! But if you don't care about having custom art, that's perfectly cool! Much respect to those who rather go a different direction. But I just wanted to add my perspective as a professional illustrator and designer. I hope it helped people see why we charge the amounts we do. PS. DIYers are awesome I love seeing creativity! 3 agree Reply (Think about how much you make in 2 work weeks.) This is a great point, but it goes either way. While artists don't generally make a lot of money, there are other people that make about as much or less. They may not have the talent or the experience, but maybe they hustle all day long. Maybe it's physical labor. Or maybe they don't hustle at all. Maybe they spent the better part of decade getting a degree and earn a pittance. There a lot of other professions where the talent and investment (equipment, doctorate) required to start isn't reflected in their market value I think one reason people may not value an artist's labor very highly even though they put in a lot of time, talent, and experience… it's also fun. Well, for a lot of artists. Your life's work may be another's hobby or crafty relaxation activity. The quality may or may not be similar…and people may or may not even really notice the difference. So even though you are working, a client may …in all of their misplaced jealousy for 'doing it all wrong' have a harder time justifying the expense. It's harsh, and unfair, but that may be part of it. Oh! And one thing I know that turns me off of artist pricing is when they begin to add mark up for handling. Whereas I'm totally cool paying $20 an hour for the artistic work (seeing as some extra time goes into the administrative work)..I don't want to pay them 20 bucks an hour for taking it to the printer… The 20/hr may be insulting, I'm sorry. It's just a figure. I know if I ever made 20/hr I'd scream to the roof tops in utter joy. But it's all about perspective. 3 agree Reply Honestly, I would love to see the geography behind everyone's answers. I am betting that most of us that think its a high price live in areas where the cost of living is a lot lower. Supposedly, an average American wedding runs somewhere in the range of $25,000, even a whole lot more in the northeast. $500 for art work seems like absolutely nothing if you are spending that much. In my area, weddings run somewhere closer to $10,000, if you're fairly well off. We are budgeting to spend 5k. So immediately $500 (which is more than what I pay in rent) seems like a hell of a lot. I think many of us, including myself, forget how varied our country can be when it comes to how much it costs to get by. 2 agree Reply I posted a "looking for" ad on Etsy & got a number of bids from artists who wanted to create my invitation illustration. I sent them each more information as well as links to images/invitations that I felt showed the style/look I wanted and asked if they felt they could pull it off. Ultimately one artist jumped ahead of the others in terms of professionalism & ability. She did a number of pencil sketches until it was just what I wanted, then did an ink & watercolor illustration. She scanned it & emailed me a high res digital file & also mailed me the original. She charged $50, but the awesome thing about Etsy is you can name your price! I purchased VERY cheap cardstock &, envelopes from Hollos, a paper store in Brunswick Ohio and splurged on the nicer pocketfolds from an online company. I have to print the invites & enclosures myself, but I will end up with a custom designed pocketfold invitation w/ 4 enclosure cards each, a belly belt (the "wedding industry" term for ribbon) and monogram card w/ color mat on the outside for less than $350- that price also includes my favor tags, seating chart & guest book, since I got all paper supplies at the same time at Hollos. (I am making my own guest book w/ the mini envelopes & cards inside for guests to write messages to us.) Oh… and the $350 includes ink to print & postage! Reply Well, lookit that! I'm the illustrator AND bride behind the invite in that photo! Reply I'm experiencing the same thing where DIY-cheap is turning into DIY-chic…aka more than I was expecting to spend, plus the time to make it cool. What about practicing with graphic design tutorials online (if you don't already know your way around Adobe) and creating your own wedding art? Reply and some times it isn't about WHAT artist it is. Look for a few artists you absolutely love and see who has the better deal. That way you won;t say shoulda woulda cause you had your top faves any way! This is what I did. Make sure you know exactly how much the artist wants before she/ he starts cause there can be extra fees if they are hourly. Just saying. Reply We have a looooooooooooooot of friends contributing to our wedding in many, many ways. Everything we are doing is DIY with the exception of making our own clothes, catering, and photography (that last one we had to have some serious discussion on). One of my fiance's groomsmen is also our officiant, one of my bridesmaids is making our cake (she volunteered when I asked her for a small cake to make one for 150!), some of our friends are going to brew beers for the wedding, my mother is doing the calligraphy on our invitations (again, she volunteered). We are going to have an iPod playlist with selected friends asked to emcee various portions. Which is lowering our costs amazingly. But I think the key here is that none of these people make a living by these things. My cake-maker is an engineer by day, our officiant is a graphic artist, the beer brewers have day jobs…if someone is doing a big job and that's their job, then they become a vendor, not a friend doing a favor. I completely see the point at which people are saying that no way – that's not too much to ask for. But I think you have to decide if it's worth it for you. And make it known to the artist that his price is in no way unfair, it's just that it might be beyond your budget. I know that for my situation, our big costs are venue, food, and photographs. Me personally, I would not spend as much on custom art as I would my dress (and the price you mentioned is around the same as my dress). But that's me. Reply Given the going rate of $100-125 an hour for tattoo artists, which normally would include artwork (like you said, draw not design!)$500 sounds ridiculously overpriced. Do you have a friend or family member who is artistically inclined? Or a tattoo artist who has done work for you in the pat that might give you a better price? Or how about local art programs or even an ad for talent on craigslist or a similar local website? Reply I feel you are comparing Apples to Oranges here! A tattoo artist (in the practical sense) and an artist/designer are two different things. They can be interchangeable (a tattoo artist who custom creates their very own fresh designs & tattoos, or a traditional illustrator who create tattoo designs to use) but a tattoo artist tends to put ink to skin with either the same art from their established stock, or something the client brought in. They dont come up with completely new concepts every single time on their own, a hired artist/designer does with razor sharp focus, thus the difference in price. Coming up with art from scratch. Conceptualizing it! Going back and forth over sketches withe the bride. Actual realization of said art. Pencil, ink, paints, digital paints, text, and finally print production (if applicable) could take days, weeks or even months. Lets also throw in the fact that most vendors that also do similar work, such as photographers, can easily charge well over a $1000 for barely a days work. I know some hobbiest, and lowsy photographers (albeit with nice cameras) that make $500 look cheap! Given that perspective, i dont think $500 is much at all in the grand scheme of things. I payed $3000 just to have a hall, with some food thats digested by that night. 3G gone! That $500, if done right, can be a magical thing the couple treasures forever. Reply Here is a trick I've used for deciding what to spend money on for our wedding: I take a coin out and say, "Heads I spend, tails I don't". Flip and if I'm disappointed with the outcome, then I know that I really want whatever was opposite of the outcome. Granted, this is just the manifestation of what you really want and sometimes what you really want is less clear. If you pick the custom art- could you do more research and find the rest of the stuff for your wedding cheaper? For instance, I'm modifying a gown I found on ebay for $50. I was going to spend 300 or 400….the way I look at it, that is at *least* 250 in savings and therefore money that I could use somewhere else. Worse case scenario—are either you or your fiance at all artistically inclined? Maybe a fun doodle made together would ultimately mean more to you than custom made wedding art- a decision that obviously only you can make 🙂 What my fiance and I did for our fall themed wedding was take a bunch of scrapbooking paper in fun patterns and colors and created this autumn scene of a tree with two love birds and photocopied this original. It was kind of neat because it was a lot neater than I could have drawn it, it look polished/finished, it was relatively easy, and we created it together. The color photocopies onto cardstock at staples came out AWESOME and the whole thing was reminiscent of those childrens' books that use ripped paper collages as illustrations. And it only cost 50 dollars for 50 invitations (plus the three dollars in scrapbooking paper we bought to make the original). Experiment and who knows what you'll get- you may find that you have an inner artist that will emerge 🙂 Reply I'm having a custom coat of arms created for me & my fiance. It's costing us about $60.00 for the artwork plus the copyright. The artist I went to is a place that has beautiful artwork, but that I would never actually let them put ink in my skin. Look around at the tattoo artists, remember just because you would let them tattoo you, doesn't mean they can't draw. Also, if you have any tech schools in your area, lots of them have art programs…high-schoolers can be very talented & often charge much less than college & professionals just because they need the word of mouth. Reply As an artist, illustrator, and graphic designer, I've got to say I appreciate Jessica, Shannon, and Dixie weighing in on the subject of price. Original art done to spec can be time consuming to create. From the sketches of layouts all the way through to the final piece, there may be more work involved than just putting pen and paint to paper. The artist may be budgeting for revisions as well as pricing according to their interest in the project and schedule. 500 dollars will get you roughly 20 hours of work (or half a work week) at the hourly rate of my day job. So sure, figure out your priorities. If you want to spend that money, go ahead. But the artist isn't trying to gouge you, per se. (Also, it might help not to think of original art as something that is cheap–unless you are the artist making something for yourself. I myself am making tiny 2×2 paintings for wedding favours because our party is small–only fifteen people–and it's relatively cheap for what will be completely memorable and unique favours, but only because I'm also the artist. If somebody else were asking for the same little paintings, it would be about 750 for supplies plus time, which breaks down to 50 bucks per tiny painting. Me, I just have to pay for the supplies.) 1 agrees Reply Given the date of the OP & the wonderful variation of responds, it may be safe to assume this situation resolved itself. However, as an artist, i would look to reiterate for anyone who stumbles upon this issue; you pay for what you get. You may find a very gullible art student to do your bidding for pennies on the dime, but its becoming more of a rarity, and artist are valuing themselves. I say more power to em! How much would you pay a photographer? Hundreds, if not thousands i bet! Same should go for someone who will make something that you could enjoy for the rest of your life! Someone who could make something that would be reiterated throughout your weddings theme, invitations, and much more. The food, which tends to be alot more expressive as well, last at best a day! $500 doesn't sound much to me, but i guess a traditional weddings priorities (dress, decorations, food, venue) aren't snazzy/hip art! But aren't we on Offbeat Bride? Arent we going down roads never traveled before? Lets not think traditional! How about we cut some of the none-sense things, that we usually pay for weddings like excess flowers or overprices venues. At the end of the day, somethings worth is subjective. But rather than make the negative claim that someones prices are "too high" or "unreasonable" (they could turn around and call you cheap after-all), consider it out of your budget, or just not right for your situation…and move on.You never know…that art could make your wedding all the much funner! It could set the tempo of your whole experience. BTW: I am an artist who designed his own cards, tables, various art projects, and even a cake themed from spiderman. Coincidentally….ironically perhaps, i got paid like around $500 for a Christmas art gift project to help fund my wedding. I had help from friends, and professionals alike. And even though i had a family member actually make my beloved spiderman/bride cake for free, i still paid them the professional rate for their beautiful work(in the hundreds). It was definitely worth it. You have the rest of your life to clinch that purse. Its your wedding…splurge a little! Freakin splurge alot if you can! 🙂 Just some food for thought! Reply Join the conversation Cancel Reply Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *Comment No-drama comment policy Part of what makes the Offbeat Empire different is our commitment to civil, constructive commenting. Make sure you're familiar with our no-drama comment policy. Biz owners & wedding bloggers Please just use your real name in your comment, not your business name or blog title. 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