How long do you spend on a painting



  • @Lee-White this is making me feel a LOT better today!



  • I totally echo what @Lee-White is saying. As i've gotten more experienced at painting, the research and thumbnails take way longer. I feel like paintings used to take 40 hours (and I'm thinking of full color watercolor to digital paintings I do), but I didn't spend as much time on the research and thumbnails, and would often struggle through the painting, and have to problem solve as I went. Now, I spend way more time on research and thumbnails, and not only does the painting happen pretty quickly, but it's much more enjoyable and relaxing. I do all the problem solving before the brushes come out. I do sometimes spend extra time at certain stages of a painting because it's just fun (we all have certain things we love to savor), and I don't feel bad about indulging in that because I didn't waste a bunch of time re-painting a hand over and over or get halfway through and realize the composition is bad.
    That said, my paintings usually take about 16-18 hours (2 full work days is how I like to think of it) from start to finish depending on the complexity--but keep in mind these paintings used to take me about 40 hours.



  • Also! BTW @Lee-White I forget which class or podcast you talk about it in, but thank you for introducing me to the Pomodoro technique! It has helped me so much with figuring out how I use my time and how long it actually takes for me to get something done, as well as keep me on task in this evermore distracting world.
    @robgale If Lee can remind me, (I think it may be the "How to Make Money in Illustration"?) I highly recommend it as well as checking out the Pomodoro technique. It will really give you the realistic number of hours you spend on work. πŸ˜ƒ


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    @lmrush thank you!



  • @Lee-White This is exactly what I was hoping for when I asked this. The proportion of how your spending your time is awesome. I see that you spend at least as much as, if not more time on your research+thumbnailing as on the rest of the process.

    I think this (along with your recent thumbnailing video on youtube) is going to be a game changer for me.

    And thank you everyone for chiming in! It's awesome to hear everyone's input.



  • @Elinore-Eaton I love the pomodoro technique. I use it all the time in my work as a designer and it really helps me pace myself, and I notice that I get more done in less time using it... really focusing is so key.

    I like the way you think about it as 2 full days. That larger chunk of time I think can be really helpful.



  • @DOTTYP Exactly! I want to do a good job, but I also don't want to work for minimum wage! It's all about limits.



  • @robgale I just looked up your website you are very very good you also have some great info on there ,you should definitely not be working for minimum wage maybe you just need to speed up your process.


  • SVS Team SVS Instructor Pro SVS OG

    @Elinore-Eaton My video this week will elaborate on how I use the time blocking techniques.



  • @Lee-White Awesome! Thanks!



  • @DOTTYP Thanks for the kind words! Well I'm not currently working for minimum wage, but I'm working mainly as a designer and I'm trying to work out my process for making illustrations in a way that makes sense. So yes, I definitely need to find ways of working faster/smarter/more efficiently. Speed is one aspect, but also speed while still being able to come up with good ideas. I'm not always so great at giving myself structure, so it's something I'm trying to learn more about and implement.



  • Ok. Because I like this sort of thing and it helps me see things visually, I made a pie chart to visually see the process as percentages according to @Lee-White 's recommended breakdown. In case anyone else finds this useful πŸ™‚

    Artboard 1.jpg image url


  • SVS Team SVS Instructor Pro SVS OG

    @robgale Cool!



  • @robgale yes that’s brilliant Rob



  • How long is a piece of string? 1-infinity hours I guess....

    I would say on average I try to keep the total time to around 20 hours, but if it's going beyond that then that usually means something has gone wrong, either in my process or the image itself. The current paintings I am doing are taking a lot less time than previous ones as I am trying to simply things a lot more and make sure everything is almost finalized before touching the final canvas. This has actually made my research, thumbnail and color study time increase by a lot in comparison, however the final painting is taking much time and I don't have to worry about scrapping it and starting again as I have in the past.

    The book I just finished had about 3 double spreads that I spent a lot of time on, but completely repainted them at a later stage. It was a waste of time, but it taught me to make sure I was well prepared and I feel that it is paying off as I have managed to paint about 3 paintings in about 3 days as I already had everything set up for it. The painting I got to do for the podcast also felt as though things were running a lot smoother than usual and I was pleased that I got a result I was happy with without spending too much time worrying about it.

    This is all through trial and error though and if I hadn't wasted time or gone through a bad process in my pursuit of becoming an illustrator then I may have not learned the things that have helped push me forward πŸ™‚



  • @Gary-Wilkinson Awesome. Yes. It's great to hear about people's experiences, what they've arrived at through trial and error. I like that so many people are saying the same thing... basically spend a lot more time up front and the painting will go faster and you'll be happier with the results. I also like your comment about, if it's taking longer than the 20 hours (for you) it probably means something more fundamental isn't working.

    Thanks!


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