Penplotter art profit/loss, Oct 2019 - June 2020

When I first got my AxiDraw V3/A3 Pen Plotter back in October 2019, I knew it was something that I eventually wanted to cover its own costs. But I wanted to make sure I knew what I was doing before I even thought about selling anything.

AxiDraw PenPlotter

I knew I was investing time and materials up-front, and I'm now only just getting to the point where I think I'm ready to start selling things, almost.

Which seemed like a good time to work out how much I'd sunk into it so far. Below is an attempt to capture everything, there's some stuff missing, a bunch of TWSBI fountain pens, some envelopes and shipping costs. But I use the TWSBIs for non-pen-plotter things, and the items I'd shipped are either gifts or me testing out the postal system. I also bought some paper and pens from the local W.H.Smiths shop, way way back, I assume that was about £40.

Here's the top-level overview, full details at the bottom of the post.


Pen plotter + supporting equipment £682.45
Framing, cutting, mounting and misc equipment £557.93
Postage & Packing £91.09
Paper £328.00
Pens and Ink £632.66
Art Studio £82.50
Shop space rent £40.00
Shopify £46.46
Instagram Ads £32.04
Total Cost: (£2,493.71)
Random sales £275.63
Final "profit" -£2,218.08

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1. The art studio rent is double that value, but as I also use it as my work "office" I'm splitting the cost.

2. About £650 was spent on mounting, framing and cellophane wraps. This is because I was showing various pieces in exhibitions and decided that it'd be ultimately cheaper in the long run to do the framing and mounting myself than pay for things to get mounted.

I always mount in a way that is non-destructive to the artwork, so I can swap them in and out of the mounts.

3. I did a lot of experimenting with pens, and I'm not going to have to buy any new pens for a fair while now. If I were starting again from scratch and only wanted to make art these are the supplies I'd get...

...which would cost about £765. Plus a bunch of cheap A3 paper.

Assuming all your plots were wonderful and you used all 60 sheets of paper to make perfect pieces of art, if you sold them for £12.50 each you'd cover your costs, not including postage & packaging.

But you are not going to get 60 perfect plots on 60 sheets of paper 😀

4. The "Random Sales" are from people sliding into my Instagram DMs and asking to buy a specific piece. Which I stopped doing when COVID hit.

5. I've used up a lot of paper on test plots, plots to send to friends, and other plots that are tucked away in a draw as I figure out what to do with them. I'm happy calling the majority of my pen and paper use R&D so far.

6. Shop space rent & Shopify. Just before COVID I started to rent a space in a shop in town and began setting up a Shopify site. But when COVID hit that all got put on hold. I'm not in the right place to start the selling in the shop, or Shopify yet, so I'm going to have a couple more sunk costs there before I can properly focus on them.

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Going forwards

I wanted to get this number down somewhere so that I could keep track month on month from this point onwards. As mentioned above I'm not going to go into full-blown selling mode yet, but I feel things steering in that direction as the local post office starts to open back up and the new-normal kicks in.

In my Weeknotes I've started tacking on a small "Art Update" which is just general chat about things. But I think I'll also make an end of month wrap up to update the profit/loss number. When I do them I'll add links here and update the running total on the /penplotter page.

I also needed this post to be done, so I could reference it in a "How I've decided on the pricing for my artwork" post, which I'll also link to from here once it's written.

I always intended to do proper pen & paper tests and then write blog post guides to those to help people not have to buy a zillion pens as I did. Turns out just making art is more fun, which means I never got around to it. I think I'll start doing that soon, but over on a different website.

Anyway, below is a detailed breakdown, I was going to link everything to Amazon, but who has time for that?! If you do have any questions though feel free to ask them here, on Twitter @revdancatt, Instagram: @revdancatt, or even Facebook I guess: Daniel Catt Contemporary Printmaking, if that's your thing.

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AxiDraw V3/A3 £569.82
Servos * 5 £54.47
Mild Steel Sheet Metal 5mm thick 50cm x 50cm £34.99
Neodymium Magnets * 2 £14.98
Self Adhesive Rubber Feet (for metal sheet) £8.19
Framing, cutting and mounting, and misc.
Logan 350-1 Compact Elite Mat Cutter £153.03
ANSIO Craft Cutting Mat Self Healing A2 Double Sided 5 Layers £15.99
Amtech S0518 Cutting Mat, A3 £4.09
Oak Wooden Effect frame 50x40cm £11.25
Black Wooden Effect frame 50x40cm £9.85
40x50 cm Oxford Black Frame * 2 £26.18
Pinnacle 500x400mm Snow White Textured Mount Board 1400mic - 10 Sheets £14.99
Pinnacle 500x400mm Antique White Mount Board 1400mic - 10 Sheets £13.79
Pinnacle 500x400mm Black Mount Board 1400mic - 10 Sheets * 3 £41.37
Pinnacle 500x400mm Ice White Mount Board 1400mic - 10 Sheets £13.79
Pinnacle 500x400 Greyboard Backing 10 * 10 £73.82
Framers Masking Tape 25mm x 50m £4.49
PH7-70 Acid Free Conservation Mount fixing/Frame seal White Tape 25mm x 66m £10.30
HomeHobby by 3L, Mounting Corners 19mm/0, 75' (250 Pcs) £2.90
HomeHobby by 3L, Mounting Squares, White 12x13mm (500 Pcs) £2.24
Daler Rowney Low Odour Perfix 400ml £17.35
Winsor & Newton fixing spray £14.22
3M ReMount Spray Adhesive £20.27
Artcoe Wooden Folding Print Rack £35.26
Enzege Radius 5mm Corner Rounder Paper Postcard Photo Cutter £5.99
Victor Bar-cutting ruler - 52cm £34.32
Siumir 150 x 300 mm Stainless Steel L Shape Square Ruler £8.49
OSCO Bamboo Pen Pot * 5 £23.95
Postage and packing  
50x40 Cello Bags, 10 £5.75
A2 Cello bags, 25 £16.99
A3 Cello Bags, 100 £14.95
A4 Cello Bags, 100 £6.99
C4 Cello Bags, 100 £6.99
C5 Envelopes £13.24
Dymo Digital Mailing Scales £26.18
Other envelopes and postage ????
A3 Fabriano Black Black * 3 £54.27
A3 Bockingford Artists Cold Pressed 300gsm Watercolour Paper, 20 sheets * 5 £99.95
A3 Canson Bristol 250gsm white paper, 20 sheets * 2 £43.62
A3 Artway Studio White Card, 300gsm, 100 Sheets * 3 £73.28
A3 Khadi Handmade White Cotton Rag Paper - White - 210gsm £18.55
A4 House of Card & Paper 220 gsm Card - Black, Pack of 50 Sheets £5.39
A4 Canson Bristol 250gsm white paper, 20 sheets £6.98
A4 Canson Iris Vivaldi 185gms black paper, 50 sheets * 2 £26.54
Pens and Ink  
Artline 'Supreme Fine Pen' Fineliner Pens 0.4mm £14.99
Diamine Ink £32.87
More Diamine Ink £44.45
Dr. Ph. Martin's Bleedproof White, 1.0 oz £15.99
Dr. Ph. Martin's Hydrus Fine Art Watercolor, 1.0 oz, Carmine (28H) £7.57
Ecoline Royal Talens Watercolour Inks 10 x 30mls £26.54
Kuuqa 100 Sheets Imitation Gold Leaf (14x14cm) £4.99
Molotow 127HS-CO Paint Pen - White £6.75
Molotow, Refill Ink - White £19.84
Noodler's 'Blue Ghost' Invisible Ink × 3 £40.50
Nuvo Gilding Flakes - Radiant Gold £5.35
Pentel Arts Colour Brush - Black £7.30
Pentel Arts Colour Brush - Grey £5.17
Pentel Arts Colour Brush - Red £7.29
Pentel Pocket Brush Pen - Black £9.24
Pentel Pocket Brush Pen - Orange * 4 £40.16
Pentel Hybrid Dual Metallic Liquid Gel Roller Pen, Pack of 8 Pens £9.59
Pentel Milky Pop Gel Pen, 0.8mm Medium Point, Pack of 8, Assorted Colors £13.73
POSCA PC-1MR Silver 0.7mm £1.89
POSCA PC-1MR White 0.7mm, Pack Of 3 £5.99
POSCA - white, black, silver, gold 1.5 mm, Pack of 4 £7.19
POSCA - PC-5M - assorted colours, Pack of 10 £20.45
POSCA PC-3m by Uni-Ball - [PACK OF 12] Metallic Gold £22.85
POSCA PC-3m by Uni-Ball - [PACK OF 12] Metallic Silver £24.26
POSCA PC-3m by Uni-Ball - [PACK OF 12] White £24.26
Premium Metallic Marker Pens, Willingood Set of 10 Assorted Colors Paint Pens £8.49
Sakura Gelly Roll Medium Point Pen - white, Pack of 3 £4.99
Sakura Gelly Roll "The Favorites", Pack of 3 £5.79
Sakura Pigma Micron 003, 005 - black, Pack of 4 * 2 £29.60
Sakura Pigma Micron 03 - black, Pack of 6 £11.34
Sakura XONB3 Quickie Glue Pens, Pack of 3 £6.29
Sharpie Metallic Permanent Markers, Fine Point, Assorted Colours, pack of 3 * 2 £8.73
Shintop blunt tip syringes, 25 £11.99
Staedtler Triplus 334 C30P Fine Liner Pens in 30 Colours * 3 £45.00
Tungsten Carbide Tip Scriber Etching Pen Marking Engraver Metal Tool £4.80
Uni-ball Signo UM-120NM Metallic - Assorted Colours, Pack of 8 £8.30
Uni-ball Signo UM-120NM Metallic - Gold/Silver, Pack of 2 £3.60
Uni-ball Signo UM-120NM Metallic - Silver, Pack of 12 * 2 £30.36
Uni-ball Signo UM-120SP Sparkling - Silver, Pack of 12 £15.18
Uni-Ball Signo UM-120 - Sparkling + Metallic + Pastel, Pack of 5 £7.99
Uni-ball Signo UM-153NM Broad Metallic - Gold, Silver, Bronze, Pack of 3 * 2 £11.00
Rent and costs
Art Studio £82.50
Shop space rent £40.00
Shopify £46.46
Instagram Ads £32.04
Grand Total (£2,493.71)
Random sales £275.63
Final "profit" -£2,218.08

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