Fast but not Furious


“Some of my Favourite Things”

40 x 60 cms – 2 days to complete.

It’s always nice to get comments about one’s work when it is posted on the Internet. I use Facebook, WordPress, Linkedin and Instagram for featuring examples of my artwork. On rare occasions I have had ‘negative’ responses, but overall, my work continues to be well received.

One of the comments that appears now and then concerns the ‘speed’ at which I (perceivably) work at. Some people are amazed that I’m so ‘prolific’.

I aim to produce at least one drawing per week when I’m in my studio. Most years I’ll finish 50 drawings, plus a range of ‘other’ artwork, usually in digital format or paintings. Some years have resulted in 75 or more artworks.

Coloured pencil art is often perceived to be slow and laborious; layer after layer of pencil neatly laid down. Some artists complain about the time it takes them to complete a drawing, how they found it hard to concentrate for such long periods. Some state the hours it took them to create their work. No matter how long it takes you to complete a drawing, the real issue is whether or not the artwork is a success.

If you price your work at an hourly rate, you may be forced to charge as much as $100,000 per drawing and then you’d soon starve!

“Kempton Sugarloaf”

20 x 30 cms – 4 hours to complete.

It usually takes me 2-3 days to complete a 60 x 40 cm drawing. What is unseen is the time I spend researching and planning my work. I stand at the easel knowing exactly what I want to do. I lay the pencils down firmly and 2 or 3 layers of colour is usually enough. I work with strongly designed pencils, Luminance being by far the best not only in quality of colour, but quality of design. Museum Acquarelle and Polychromos are also excellent to work with. I struggle at time with Prismacolor pencils due to manufacturing inconsistencies.

I owe a lot to my drawing approach to my days at Art School where I was taught to draw quickly, such as moving objects, working outside and drawing to strict time limits. This gave me the confidence to push myself even when working with a ‘slow medium’ as coloured pencils.

Coloured pencils are much more adaptable than most people think. Quality pencils can be pushed hard and are ideal for work plein-air.

I may work quicker than some, but I have control and don’t work up a sweat!


About artkleko

artist, art curator, art teacher, art judge, art critic
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6 Responses to Fast but not Furious

  1. sharonsskow says:

    Well put Richard. But still, I’m amazed at the speed you work.

    • artkleko says:

      I suppose it depends on one’s style and choice of subject, Sharon. I have completed several large, intense drawings over the past 10 years, but I must admit that I’m keener these days on ‘less’ than ‘more’.

  2. People often don’t realise the amount of time that goes into the preparation and development of an idea before pen (or pencil) touches the paper, sometimes a work that looks quickly executed has many hours of preparation involved. Knowing what you are about to do speeds up the process no end! People often comment that I am prolific too, but I think in my case it is because the work I do is so diverse, ranging from printmaking to painting to drawing, but often days go by and my work is happening inside my head!

    • artkleko says:

      That is so true, Anna. We look at a brand new building and never think of its foundations and the planning that’s made it possible. Thanks for your comment!

  3. Lorraine McNeair says:

    How rude to make negative replies. Most people should be able to be tactful. Otherwise, say nothing at all.

    Lorraine McNeair

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