Why Is Calligraphy So Expensive (Part 2)

Updated: Dec 2, 2019

Welcome back, friends! This week I’m continuing my series on the biggest question I get asked about my services, “Why is calligraphy so expensive?”

If you missed part one, we discussed calligraphy as art instead of utility….pause and click here to check it out!

Back? Great! This week, let’s continue with our discussion and take a look at what a day in the life of a calligrapher looks like, to see what goes into that final price for their work.

Just what does a calligrapher DO all day?

When I'm working on a project, there's so much going on behind the curtain that my clients never see. I don't share the nitty-gritty with them, because I want their experience to be fun and easy....the 'how' of their piece is my job.

In the spirit of transparency, let me share a bit of the process that happens in order to deliver a custom piece:

  • I discuss design elements and project scope with the client.

  • Then it’s math time! I calculate and measure the layout / overall design of the piece, cut paper, layout all the guidelines, and sketch a rough pencil draft of the text and any additional elements

  • I share the pencil sketch with my client, and we work through up to 2 rounds of edits to the design. Each time we change something, I re-work the sketch and send over an updated draft.

  • Once the sketch is approved, I start work on the final piece, which means going through much of same prep process as the sketch and then finally inking the final design.

  • When the piece is complete, I take photos/scans for my records and wrap the piece for shipment, box it, and take it to the post office

  • I touch base with my client to give them tracking info on the shipment, and once I receive delivery notification, I contact them again to make sure they’re happy with how the project turned out

As you can probably tell, this is many hours (usually days) of work for just one piece! In addition to the time, there are also costs for materials used for the project, shipping fees, and overhead costs as well.

At the end of the day, calligraphers are not interested in getting rich. Like most artists, we're hoping to cover expenses and make a small living doing what we love—creating works of art that resonate with others and bring people joy.

Do you have more questions about what a calligrapher does every day? I'd love to hear from you in the comments below!

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