Saturday, November 11, 2006

Keeping track of time

I am often asked how long it takes me to complete a portrait and my answer is always an approximation as I never physically take a note of the time I spend on a painting/drawing and more often than not I work on more than one portrait at a time making it difficult to be precise.

To satisfy my curiosity (I secretly wanted to know) to how long exactly it took me to complete a portrait I decided to keep a time sheet for my latest commission. So everytime I picked up a pencil I would 'clock-on' and note my start time and 'clock-off' when I stopped for whatever reason - even if just for a few minutes. This exercise was a bit of an eye opener for me as although I would spend all day working on the portrait, once I had added up all the hours minus my breaks for checking emails, telephone calls, taking photographs, website updates, paperwork, lunch, washing dishes - the list goes on (note I didn't mention surfing the Internet!!) - the actual time spent drawing wasn't as long as I had thought.

Obviously each drawing is different and some take longer than others - brindle coats spring to mind - so I can't say 'yes, it takes me ?? hours to do a colour pencil portrait' but as I said it satisfied my curiosity. So without further ado here are a few stages of my latest commission, Poppy and Misha, and the time taken to reach each stage.

Stage 1 and 7 hours 55 minutes later - to which my husband replied 'so it takes you nearly 8 hours to do two eyes, an ear and a bit!!' - Men.

Stage 2, 12 hours 5minutes - Poppy (cream and orange coloured) is near completion.
Stage 3, (hope you're not bored - had considered missing a stage here but thought I've started so I'll finish) and 15 hours 5 minutes later.
And finally Stage 4 taken after 17 hours and 35 minutes.
At this stage I normally sit on (not literally) it for a few days and finish of anything I feel needs finishing. With Poppy and Misha I darkened areas here and there and worked more on the fur around Poppy's eyes. Total time spent, including touch-ups, 18 hours 40 minutes. And yes I kept a time sheet for the next portrait I did - no reason really, just for me because I wanted to.


pet-portrait-artist said...

These are beautiful! Its difficult to keep track of your hours isnt it, i dont think i have managed it yet! :)

Laura said...

Coloured pencil takes ages doesn't it? Occasionally I have done this exercise with my pictures and it always amazes me how long it takes me to do one!! Your time was worth it - they are gorgeous!

Tracy Hall said...

What a terrific portrait, Laura! Worth every minute. And your time keeping is so much more interesting than my rather unhelpful 'no idea'!

pencilwizard said...

Beautiful portrait,interesting about the time though,like you I never keep track,so perhaps methinks I will give this a go just to see how it pans out.