I find the biggest problem among freelancers is being aware of the volume their counterparts are cranking out. Above is a job I just did for Trader Monthly. They do a cool back page parody thing, which did actually do a pretty good job with. I was asked to do CEOs as superheros (and of course, superheros are on everyone's minds this summer with Ironman, Batman and Superman coming soon. Plus CEOs love being portrayed as celebrities.). Anyway, the point is I was given two weeks to complete this but if I'm going to realistically make a living doing this (freelancing on my own) I need to impose my own deadline based on how much I was getting paid. I was also juggling multiple writing assignments, working on my next book, a handful of other illustration jobs, my usual 10 cartoon submissions (every week) to The New Yorker and the below painting (which is half way done).
One exception of my "time-based-on-pay" rule (like I made it up. That's just it. The whole world, except us, freelancers, is using this business model. So why do we ignore it?) is the painting below for a charity group, The Lacawac Sanctuary (wonderful people but just a very difficult task to paint 30 or so animals – they don't sit still). I'm more than half way done with the 3 feet museum mural and let it be said here it will be my last illustration as I will probably kill myself when it's done.