Tracking your time in the studio

I encourage everyone to hop over to Lisa Call’s blog and see how she tracks her studio time. More importantly, pay attention to how she plans to change her approach for 2008. It’s a healthier way to look at goals and be accepting of where you are.

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3 comments to Tracking your time in the studio

  • I track by kiln loads – I pretty much know how much time each piece takes since when I started 5 years ago I spent a month tracking minutes and hours so I could figure out prices. I know, depending on the size of the work, how much time it took to make a kiln load. Now that I’m focusing only on my top 20% of income producing work, it’s *really* easy because I’m just making torsos and masks. Simplify, simplify, simplify!

  • Coming from an advertising background, I thoroughly understand the importance of tracking time spent on projects. It’s one of the best ways to know how much to charge for your work. If you want to have an hourly wage of $45/hour, price your work accordingly based on the amount of time you spent on a particular piece. It can be a hard habit to form, but I believe that if more people did this (and backed themselves up) people would be less shocked at the prices of artwork.

  • I am not sure that time spent in the studio would actually be a good indication to the IRS that your work was more than a “hobby”, and therefore, deductible. Years ago, my accountant said that what they need to see is evidence of a business nature: promotion expenditures, evidence of exhibitions, etc., to prove that you are doing it on a “professional” level. Tracking studio time may be helpful for those artists who are doing production work or illustration, but, as far as painting (that nasty term “fine art” comes to mind), I find it impossible to “time” an outcome or progress, for that matter. I don’t think it is a viable method for pricing your work, except in a production mode. Your work is worth whatever someone is willing to pay for it, and that has little to do with how much “time” you spent making it.