I've had a number of bookings from customers with March, April and May deadlines, what with Mother's day in March and for some reason, there are a LOT of birthdays in April! This is honestly one of the things I find hardest about my work-trying to work out when each piece needs to be started in order for it to be completed in time and also taking into account shipping, especially when pieces are going overseas. Thankfully, three of the bookings coming up are collection pieces, so I'm not under such a tight deadline with those. It's just really tricky sometimes to work out time-frames.
One of the questions I get asked most frequently is this: "How long does it take you to draw each piece?" I have learnt that I have no straightforward answer to this. As I've said before, I don't work to set hours. Each piece I do is entirely unique so there are so many elements that could have an effect on the time it takes me. I recently did a portrait of a gorgeous tabby cat called Elsa; it was in the smallest size I offer (A5) but took me a lot longer than I expected, due to the tiny tabby markings in her fur, which required lots of pencil-sharpening and patience!
I really should time myself with each piece I do, just so I can get an average timeframe, but I never remember! My process is very stop-and-start as I find it can be too heavy to work for 5 or 6 hours solid, although that has happened in the past and I really struggled with it.
It's about this point that I'm starting to stress out, much like before Christmas. It's only because I don't have a definite idea of how long each piece will take me and I absolutely HATE not knowing and not being able to plan things exactly. I'm learning more and more about how to be disciplined and to avoid procrastinating too much so that I can make the most of my time.