Artist Q&A: Preferred Artwork Size

I get a lot of similar questions asked about my process and I thought it would be great to start sharing them here on my blog! Here is installment number one:

What size do you like to work at and why?

The short answer to this question is 11×14 inches, but short answers don’t make for good blog posts so I’ll elaborate on why.

As many of you may already know, I like to work primarily in colored pencil and mixed media. While it’s possible to work at smaller sizes with those mediums, a lot of artists like to work at larger sizes because it allows for greater detail. In my particular art practice, I found 11×14 inches to be a perfect size for me to work at that allows for detail but is also not so big that it will take me too long to finish.

Because I’m often working on a piece in addition to working a full-time job, it would take me entirely too long to work at larger sizes. To be perfectly honest I also have a bit of a short attention span when it comes to projects so this also allows me to work at a pace I’m comfortable with.

This is also a great size for me to still be able to scan my art without having to do it in sections.  A couple of years ago I invested in a wide format printer/scanner and it allowed me to skip the step of stitching my art together and Photoshop and just focus on color corrections. If you don’t have a large format printer or scanner though, this is still a great size to work at because it works well scanning it in two parts with a standard-sized scanner bed.

If you want to learn how to stitch your photos together using photoshop you can watch my video tutorial here:

Another reason I like to work in 11×14 inches is that it is a standard framing size. I often offer to frame pieces for my customers who buy or commission original art from me. Assuming we have agreed upon doing their piece at this size, it allows me to keep their costs down. I can easily purchase a ready-made frame and acid-free mat kit that will fit that size. Using a standard 2-inch mat in a 16x 20-inch frame, this leaves the overall size something that feels substantial without being too large or too small.

This size tends to be my “Goldilocks” size but I also enjoy working at smaller sizes with larger subject matter. Again, this allows for speed in completing something since colored pencil can often be a very slow medium compared to some. I have great ambitions of doing a piece at a large size one day but for now, I’m sticking with my tried and true.

What size do you like to create art at? Share with me in the comments!

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