Friday, 13 March 2009

It Cost How Much????

I keep reading about how cost effective coloured pencil art is. That may be true in comparison to other forms, but I must say it's still not a cheap way to express yourself. I had a neighbour comment on how it was a nice little past-time and another provide me with a suggested price for my work. He though $100 dollars would be fair. Here's a quick look at the cost of doing a coloured pencil drawing in case you should feel the desire to get into this form of art.

Starter kit of Prismacolor pencils (24 set): approx $33
If you want the whole set of 120 pencils you're going to pay up to $239 depending what you choose.
Open stock pencils (which I buy) $1.60 + tax per pencil. (prismacolor)
Other brands are generally a bit more. Some are over $2 and I frequently use Faber-Castell brand as well.
Stonehenge paper: $2.50 to $12 depending on the size of paper you want. Per sheet.
Electric eraser: $79 to start. $10 for the re-fill box of erasers
Electric sharpener (trust me....there is no other way!) $40ish You really do need a good one.
Kneeded erasers $1.39 (these last quite a while though)
White plastic eraser: $1.00

Don't forget to add the tax on all the above items!

Subject: Then there's the cost of the photography. A good digital camera is the cheapest way to go because you don't have to first develop the film to see your pictures. I generally take about 100 photos to start of a subject if I can. Walmart develops for approx. $0.19 a picture. If you want enlargements they are $2 to $3. I work from 8x10's so I can see the small details of a subject.

You need an art desk (drafting table) and stool: $100 to $300 depending what you want.

Lighting: $30 per lamp

Something to hold your pencils on.

Framing: Time to mortgage your home or sell your children;-) On average for a 20x26 portrait done professionally with a double matt you are looking at approx $230 to $300 more or less depending on the frame you choose. For a small drawing with an inexpensive frame and single matt I've paid $79 + tax.

So, since I don't actually need to purchase everything every time what is the actual cost?

The example I will use is the painting called "Looking for Her Prince." The young girl holding a frog.

This picture had a solid blue background. It took 5 layers of colour and 6 hours to get it that way. (The final layer is done using a method called "scumbling" which is very time consuming.) It took 2.5 pencils to do this section alone. I would have went through a couple of brown, and peach pencils as well. The rest would have used up approx. a quarter to 3/4 of other colours. I use about 30 to 50 different colours in one painting. (If I use grey....there are 18 different prismacolor grey shades.) In her hair alone I've used probably 15 different colours.

You then have to look at the time factor. I've sped up of late, but even the fastest coloured pencil artist is still going to take 20 to 40 hours for a painting this size. The more detail the more time. What would you expect to get paid for a 40 hour work week? Would you work a whole week, full-time for $100 excluding the cost of supplies? Probably not.


bella rum said...

I find this post very interesting. People rarely appreciate the value of art or hand crafted items. With all the cost of supplies and your time factored in, you then have to factor in the talent.


If everybody could do it, it wouldn't be worth so much. It's very important for you to value your gift. And what a gift it is.

richgold said...

You must be kidding. You're running with the wrong crowd.

Serena said...

I so understand where you're coming from. It seems to me that it's mostly other artists who truly appreciate the time, effort, talent, and hard work that goes into creating an art piece.

My son works with Derwent Coloured Pencils....cheaper than Prismacolour but still expensive with a set of 72 costing around $140 AUS. When we were talking about him wanting a set for his birthday one year, my sister and her children (teenagers) were stunned when we spoke of the cost. They couldn't believe that coloured pencils could be that expensive and wondered why anyone would be silly enough to pay that much for them. Of course, they think along the lines of the cheap school line of pencils and have no understanding of the difference in quality.

A graphite drawing can take hours of work, be very detailed and look amazing and yet, some non-artists will see it as simply a pencil drawing on paper so not worth much.

Sometimes, I wonder if it's worth all the of course it is because art is my passion.

Perpetual Chocoholic said...

Hi Serena! I also find it funny when people ask me to draw something spectacular in about 5 or 10 minutes. They don't realize the planning, quality of supplies and measurements that take place before you create something. I had someone suggest I open a booth in a mall to do caricatures. I know he meant well, but that's not what I've studied to do and it would be something new to study that would take both time and money. You wouldn't ask a family doctor to do neurosurgery without further study.