Drawing by the minute

Updated: Mar 19

Why I Draw By the Minute


For a few months I’ve been drawing by the hour. Here’s how it works. Someone contacts me and says, “Hey can you draw this doodle or drawing for me?” And typically the person lets me decide most everything with just a few key wants. And then, I name a price. But when the customer doesn’t know exactly what they want and won’t let me decide for them, then all bets are off.


It goes like this: Hey Tiny Chick Pottery, I need an ad for my business or I need a portrait of my kid, or draw me something awesome for the side of my RV that’s in vector format, but I’m not sure exactly what I want, but I know it’s nothing like you’ve ever done before . Can you help me narrow that down? Sure I can but…


I’m like, “Look if I don’t know what I’m doing, it’s like that room full of monkeys. Each is banging away on a typewriter. Eventually, in the span of time something like the time it took the universe to become what it is, and what it will be right before it all gets sucked into a star, so like, a really freakin’ long time, I might eventually figure out exactly what the magic art in your brain looks like, or maybe not. Perhaps by then there will be a mind reading algorithm attached wirelessly to a painting robot that gives you exactly what you want in whatever art style you can throw at it. But it’s 2022, Janet, and we aren’t there yet.


Well, you don’t like that answer do you? Because, your mechanic has access to all the exact same parts that go onto your car and he/she knows pretty much within a reasonable estimate how long it’s going to take to replace the parts. Therefore your mechanic can estimate how much to charge you based on the time it should take. Now, if the mechanic removes the old part and there’s more busted in there that she didn’t know about, the cost is going to change and the scope of the job is changed. Whole different ball of wax now.


Look, asking an artist to learn a new style is one thing. But then expecting to know exactly how long that’s going to take is an impossible question. Imagine I went into my voice lesson and said to my teacher, how long is it going to take me to learn to sing so much like Kelly Clarkson that no one will know the difference? She’s not going to be able to tell me and Kelly Clarkson is going to get a little offended that I’m copying her.


So, I’ve developed a method of making my customer (who doesn’t want my style) happy. I’ll do what you want but I can’t tell you exactly how long it will take. I’ve created an hourly rate that lets you know the value of my time and I show you my progress at intervals. After time is up, I can send you the digital file at whatever stage the meter ran out. The great part of drawing digitally is that there’s no extra materials cost. Oil paint for example and decent paint brushes are really expensive.


In the scheme of things, the good part for me is I’ll never be a starving artist. And you as the consumer can be proud that you didn’t support any sort of deal in which the artist gets screwed.


See if you like a style that I already know how to do, and you agree to a limited scope for your drawing I could create a price point that would make you happy and buy me a caesar salad and an iced tea, while my mortgage is paid up and my car has diesel.


But if you don’t, I’ve created an option called “Drawing by the minute.” Say my current minute costs $1. It doesn’t, but my price is going to change over time so let’s just use that as an easy example.


You paid on my website (TinyChickPottery.com) for me/us to draw for $1 per minute Or whatever my current rate is. After the minutes you’ve paid for, I show you what I’ve gotten done. The drawing is not anywhere near completion or maybe it is if you chose a loose style (like how I do portraits currently.) It’s not complete, because it was a draw until the timer goes off, kind of thing. When the timer dings, I can give you my work so far and you can be on your way or I can accept more hourly pay and add to it or start over in a new direction, if you like. At whatever interval you tell me I can show you my work, like say after each half hour. If it’s after each minute you want to see what I’ve done you should probably just stand over my shoulder.


At the bottom you can see a drawing by Julie Hiltbrunner that too exactly 1 hour. I use a photo and to save time traced the features before free hand digital painting with a fancy digital brush.


Once you paid me to draw for three hours, ($60 x 3) and I drew for three hours and you were satisfied with the work( or not,) that is my $180 and I’m not giving it back. As I’m typing this in Feb 2022, my hourly rate is $30 an hour. So three hours is currently $90. Hopefully, you get my point. If you are busy comparing your wage at the Taco Bell to my $30 an hour rate, know that I can not physically draw for 40 hours a week. So you will not be able to calculate my take home pay with that number but, I’m impressed that you tried.


So there you go… narrow down your wants to a few key points in a style that I know, or pay me for my time. It’s really as simple as that.


But if you’ve read this far, I hope you enjoyed it. Thanks for your time.


Julie Hiltbrunner

Creative Director

Tiny Chick Pottery, LLC


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