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"So, how long did that take you?"

Have you ever been asked that question in a contemptuous manner? I have been asked this question , by "non-creatives" mostly, too many times.

Until I developed the screening answer of "too long/not that long" (because I like to remember that I can make mistakes in reading tone), and additionally asking "Do you want to know in detail?", I would answer them truthfully and I would see their gears hard at work.

You see, asking how long something took is a way for 'them 'to decide by some fickle measure - your arts worth, and yours. I actually started working on a table mapping out the askers perception, the actual answer and how it affects their conclusion about value and worth - but there is no point in that, besides an exercise in assumptions.

Now, I do not even use the screening question, I am very upfront, and ask, "May I understand why you're asking?", this is to remain open to help any genuinely interested artist, but most importantly, to enforce my boundary, of keeping these mercurial measures away from my inner artist child.

See, I never really cared whether something took me a long time or not, because sometimes in flow I would lose track, OR my takeaway, if even related to time, was a good one. I was the kid that could finish the exam paper and refuse to be pressured to continue if I knew I had done my best. And then the "What, 4 hours! I could never sit around for so long!" and the "Just 30 minutes, that's too quick" started rolling in, in response to my work, and then started echoing in my own mind.

"This has only taken 40 minutes, it can't be finished!"

"This took 6 hours, you're too damn slow!"

Realising this, through asking myself questions during or after art sessions, made me enforce this boundary, and I am much more happier in my practise for it.

I hope that whoever you are, that others measures of your worth, especially when tied to what you love, and when based on time/productivity/efficiency/capitalism means less and less if not nothing at all to you.

One of my 10 minute sketches, which I love very much, and even turned into a sticker!

Tamka Out!

Effy Wild Blog Along Sept 2021 - come along, it's fun!

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awesome, i always think that too, i would never dream of asking someone how long something took to complete, a work of art, is timeless regardless of the viewers perception. Good for you!


Jean Puhlman
Jean Puhlman
Sep 17, 2021

"May I understand why you are asking" is a great comment/ question for a lot of things. Thank you. I so love your characters!!!


Sep 16, 2021

you bring up a great topic.I get asked this often too.I get a little bold and ask back when was the last time you did something you love?you never count the time for that right? 🤗depends on the person asking😄...I love your reply as well.🙂

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