Thursday, October 27, 2011

On a Mission

This past weekend, I had a brief chat with SCG Event Coordinator and Judge Nicholas Sabin. I love Nick. He's always looking to make sure the Open weekends are enjoyable for everyone and is overall a great guy to talk to. After asking about my weekend and potential commissions Nicholas said something that surprised me.

"You should raise your rates."

I've raised my prices a few times over the past several months and I'm used to, at least, a little sticker shock when people find them out for the first time. For reference, I currently charge $60 on a basic commission. I told Nicholas that I'd love to be pulling in more income, but seeing as I'm one of the more expensive artists in the community already, it just isn't feasible at the moment. More and more Magic players are starting to alter. The community has become increasing aware of alters, and demand, along with competition has never been higher. This all got me thinking about my mission when I started altering full-time nine months ago. So what's the big picture here?

I love art and I love Magic. Being naturally competitive, I want to produce the best work in the community and never sacrifice quality for dollar signs. Over the past few months my goal has been to convince people that one, I truly believe those words. And two, the cost is worth the work. Currently I only complete about one alter every 4-6 hours and two total on any particular day. Is it a grind? 100% Do I love my job? You better believe it.

I guess my point is: thank you. To those who have noticed the time and energy I try to put into each card and who visit the blog week in and week out.

PS. Stay classy:


  1. Keep at it :) You and Marta Molina are my two favorite alterists. You two make some really great alters :D

  2. I'm glad you aren't putting money in front of everything. It seems like once people get good at a certain thing, like painting, making things, sports, all they can think about is money. Once that happens, you can kind of see the quality slip because of how much they're focusing on mass producing pieces so they can sell faster. It was a good read and I'm glad you think this way!!

  3. You definitely deserve to make more but I see your reasoning in not raising your rate. While I have seen other people do alters I have never seen anyone with the skills you possess. I haven't yet gotten a commission from you but only because I recently sold my magic collection. (That won't stop me from taking my good alter ideas to you)

  4. Only two things have kept me from emailing to inquire about getting Teysa, Orzhov Scion altered in the style of Alphonse Mucha: the fact that I'm saving for a tablet, and the fact that I figured your price was out of my league. For work of the quality I've seen on this blog, I figured the price was in the territory of "if you have to ask, it's too much for you".

    But $60? That's a BARGAIN. I'll definitely be dropping you a line after I get that tablet out of the way and have a bit more wiggle room in my bank account.

  5. Agree with the above. $60 is a bargain price for the quality of work you do. That said, thank you for not raising your prices. Traditionally MTG players aren't made of money, and this allows a broader base for your talent to be exposed too. And I am not just saying that because I shipped you two cards to be altered today :D

  6. I would suggest that rather than raise your prices, you charge by the hour. If something is a simpler piece, and only takes an hour or so, charge $30. If it takes a bit longer, $40, etc. That way you get at least $20-$30 an hour for your time (which is a bargain, thank you).