Time Doesn't Matter When it Comes to Drawing in Coloured Pencil

Dec 09, 2022
Time Doesn't Matter When it Comes to Drawing in Coloured Pencil | Bonny Snowdon Academy

I want to talk this week about why how long a piece takes you to draw actually doesn't matter. Time is irrelevant when it comes to creating. It doesn't matter how long you take to do something. If you're happy with the result, then that's all that matters.


The Perception of Time

Usually, my pieces take around 25 hours plus, depending on the subject, and I never time them, so I don't know how long they take in total. I just enjoy the process! I'm really confident in what I do now as I've been doing it for quite a long time. I'm also not a perfectionist, which might seem a little bit strange, but it means I don't spend hours twiddling with areas trying to get them right.

When it comes to speed, I don't think I'm quicker than any other professional artist using coloured pencils, but I do have a well-planned schedule that allows me to draw for around five hours a day, so potentially it can appear like I have whizzed through a drawing. The belief that everyone works in the same way is something we all have to deal with at times, as we tend to project our own beliefs onto other people. I draw for 30 or 40 hours a week, but that might not be the same for somebody who's managing to draw for an hour a week, so often they will project their belief that I'm only working for an hour at a time and, therefore, I must be going a lot quicker than them. 


Using Visualisation

Sometimes I want to do a piece that is a bit quicker. That might be because I want to fit in a piece that's a gift for someone. Last week, I drew a picture of my framer's dog, Ben, as I wanted to create a portrait for him for Christmas. Due to my crazy schedule, I didn't really have the time to fit another drawing in. I wanted to create Ben's portrait in a day, but I still wanted him to look realistic and not rushed, and this is where my visualisation comes in.

I had drawn a portrait in a short period of time before, so I knew that I was capable of doing it, and when I start any piece, I visualise to help me prepare. I will visualise the techniques, the colours, the outcome, and what the surface colour and type are going to be, all before I put pencil to paper. This means I'm able to test out in my head what is and isn't going to work.

This is a really great technique to have in your toolbox and great to practise because it comes in handy in every single part of your life. I can practise it in my head beforehand and work out how I can physically create something in a much shorter space of time and still get a beautiful portrait at the end. I might not use the same techniques I would for a portrait that takes me 30 hours, or I will perhaps decide to use a different surface. With the portrait of Ben, I was able to get all of the texture in very quickly and then glaze my colours in over the top. That was all decided on before I even started the portrait. Within six hours I created a portrait that I could then give to my framer by fitting an extra little one into my tight schedule. 

To watch a clip of me drawing the lovely Ben and to find out more about why the length of time it takes to draw a portrait really doesn't matter, click on the video at the top of this page. 

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