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Hi, Eric:

Most of us who paint will tell you that price depends on how complex you want the cover to be. If, for example, you want a battle scene depicting more than two characters in various heroic poses, wearing full armor, with the siege of Realm du Jour in the background, that'll cost you. A single character in a compelling pose, mounted on a vorpal steed, will cost less. There are some wonderful artists out there.

Also, be prepared to be patient. We work best when allowed to 'strike when the mood is right.'

One more point: A digital artist has an 'undo' button. A painter's 'undo' button is a razor blade. Just be cautious in requesting major changes once you have approved the design, and be sure to give your artist a clear description of what you want (if you use a painter). To go in and say: 'Well, it's great. Can you turn the paladin's head a little more? I've decided I want him to face east' will  cause an artist to sigh mightily, reach for the razor blade, and scrape that part of the painting off. Not good!

People, in these days of taking stock photos and digitally manipulating them, expect custom artwork in record time. There is no comparison when it comes to final result, but one must be patient. :D
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