How to Value Drawings

The instinct to create and express ideas visually is deeply ingrained in the instinct of mankind, with art being one of the primal identity factors that separates humanity as an intelligent species instead of mere animals.


woman drawing flowers

Drawing is a foundational process for creating art, as one of the oldest forms of creative expression with copious evidence of humans making drawings since prehistoric times. Today it remains to be one of the most fundamental ways to create and depict visual ideas. Therefore it is no surprise that drawings are consistently popular on the art market. Are you interested in selling a drawing, or perhaps just knowing more about the item you own? Here are some tips and guidelines that will be able to assist you in finding an accurate estimate.

Drawings vs. Paintings

While to many it may seem an obvious answer, it is important that one knows the difference between a drawing and a painting in the context of the art market. While a painting is typically created using a brush and wet materials like paint, drawings are created using lines and dry or fast drying materials like graphite, charcoal, or ink and pen. Even if a piece is composed of painted lines with little to no coloring or shading this is still considered a painting, just as a drawing that is fully shaded and colored is still a drawing. Paintings will typically be worth more monetarily just because of the cost of materials and time spent to create the final product; however that is certainly not to say that drawings can rack up a great deal of money at auction, especially if by a popular artist.


The first and most impactful matter to take into consideration regarding your drawing and its monetary worth is who created it. Of course the more famous or popular the artist is, the more it will be worth, and the list of people who meet this criteria is endless, from old masters like Leonardo da Vinci to impressionists like Van Gogh, modernists like Picasso, to contemporary artists active today. Most artists sign their work to make it easier to identify their work, however if there is not signature on your piece do not fret; there are still ways to ascertain the origin of the work, though it is best that this is determined by an expert.


The next matter to address is what condition your drawing is in. As with any other item, the more like new it is the better it will fare in terms of price. Of course some allowances can be made if the work is particularly old and rare, but it is important to look out for signs of wear and tear like fading, rips, stains, water damage, and so on. If no such compromises to the quality of the piece are present then the value of your drawing will be greatly increased compared to a similar item that is damaged.

woman looking at drawings in a museum


Just as it is with any other market, the rarer a piece is, the more it will be worth so long as there is an existing demand for it. If the demand exceeds the supply of an item, its worth will increase exponentially. Naturally if your piece is particularly old it will likely be rarer and thus possess a greater value. Renaissance and old master pieces by well known artists are particularly rare and sought after and thus bring in a great deal of money at auction. Although just because a drawing of a certain nature is rare does not always necessarily mean that it will be worth a lot; if there is no demand for it on the market due to obscurity or other factors, its monetary value will be very little.

Price Guides

Thanks to the age of information we live in today, there is a plethora of online resources and platforms online to take advantage of in seeking an estimate for your the value of your piece. Websites like,, and more are helpful places to start when trying to get a better feel for what your drawing may potentially be worth. However these are certainly no substitute for professional valuation and anything read online should be taken with caution.

"No matter how thorough or observant you are, only a trained expert will be able to make the truly most accurate estimate of worth as possible..."


Of course the most important thing to do if you are serious about determining the worth of your drawing is to seek professional valuation. No matter how thorough or observant you are, only a trained expert will be able to make the truly most accurate estimate of worth as possible and thus it is crucial that one takes this final step. Luckily here at Value My Stuff there are experts available to provide professional appraisal services so you can discover what your drawing is worth in no time!

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