21 Incredible Artworks That Took An Extraordinary Amount Of Time To Complete

Artists know that their process is as important as the product. In fact, the time they put into their work can directly affect how powerful and impressive their completed piece will be in the end. Here are some time-consuming works of art whose ends justify the means.

Snow art

facebook.comSimon Beck creates enormous geometric designs with his boots by walking across fields of snow for hours on end, sometimes having to retrace his steps in case snow has already covered his tracks. The laborious process results in spectacular patterns that are almost too incredible to believe his arduous effort.

Hyperrealistic pencil drawings of eyes up close

Brian SchmalzriedtThey say the eyes are the windows to the soul. That’s probably why so many artists have taken to drawing extremely close up, hyperrealistic images of them. Countless hours are devoted to capturing the reflective glisten of the iris, the feathering wisps of eyelashes and eyebrows, and the tiny creases of eyelids.

Encyclopedia landscape sculptures

guylaramee.comGuy Laramee carves old, obsolete volumes of encyclopedias into model landscapes. Each intricate sculptural piece is a handcrafted work of art that explores the erosion of cultures, knowledge, materials, and lands. The artist takes his time to get the textured ridges just right.

Hand-carved leather paintings

mymodernmet.comMark Evans chooses to “paint” with a knife. Instead of using a brush to create images of animals, the artist opts to carve his desired visual into large pieces of leather, taking his time to carefully scrape out each image.

Layered resin paintings/sculptures

kenglye.deviantart.comKeng Lye creates works of art that lie somewhere between painting and sculpture. He pours multiple layers of liquid resin, paints atop them with acrylics, and waits for each layer to dry individually before proceeding to the next. It takes a long time to complete, but once it’s done… it really boggles the mind that he was able to create it in the first place.

Human wire sculptures

seungmopark.comSeung Mo Park works with steel wire to create realistic sculptures of the human form. The wire is neatly and tightly wound, giving a sense of time passing and the amount of tedious work that went into its creation.

Wood chip animal sculptures

terra-z.ruSergey Bobkov was an ordinary school teacher until he delved into the art of Siberian wood chip sculptures. Now, he spends 10 to 12 hours a day creating his lifelike creatures. Each sculpture can take months to complete.

Stone balancing

distractify.comLand artist Michael Grab carefully balances rocks and stones of varying sizes without the aid of any adhesives. The time-consuming process requires a great deal of concentration and patience.

Fingerprint portraits

likeafieldmouse.comInstead of working with a paint brush, painter Chuck Close chooses an alternative method and creates large-scale portraits with his fingerprints. This one is of the artist’s wife’s late grandmother.

Photorealistic wire mesh portraits

seungmopark.comIn addition to wire sculptures, Seung Mo Park creates photorealistic portraits by carefully snipping away at multiple layers of wire mesh. The artist has to take his time, making sure to carve out only specific spots. One wrong cut can alter the entire image.

Large-scale sand art

andresamadorarts.comAndres Amador is a land artist who creates enormous works of art on sand using nothing more than a rake. Occasionally, the diligent artist will use rope to help blueprint his geometric designs, but either way, he allows the sea to wash up his work after hours of labor.

Land/soil art

thisiscolossal.comCuban-American artist Jorge Rodriguez-Gerada spent YEARS turning a field in Belfast, Northern Ireland into the portrait of an anonymous young girl. With the help of volunteers, he placed nearly 8 million pounds of soil, sand, and rock to “draw” his project called WISH.

Pencil sculptures

luerzersarchive.netArtists like Dalton Ghetti and Cerka Hegyzo don’t use pencils as tools for illustration. Instead, they take their time carving into the wood and graphite of each drawing instrument, creating tiny, mind-boggling sculptures. One wrong move could ruin the whole thing, so they are careful to take their time and keep a steady hand.

Skateboard sculptures

haroshi.comJapanese artist Haroshi recycles stacks of old, broken skateboards into colorful, figurative sculptures. He has to scavenge and collect countless skateboards in order to make each piece, as the decks are often very thin and don’t always stack neatly atop one another. Once stacked, the artist proceeds to cut, shave, and polish them.

Woven glass kimonos

wovenglass.comAs if making a life-size glass sculpture of a kimono wasn’t enough, artists Eric Markow and Thom Norris construct these gorgeous garments by weaving pieces of glass in and out of one another. It’s hard enough to do it with malleable materials like straw or bamboo leaves, but these guys do it with GLASS!

Coathanger sculptures

davidmach.comScottish sculptor David Mach uses thousands of wire coat hangers to create incredible, life-size sculptures of ferocious beasts likes gorillas and tigers. Each sculpture can take him up to thousands of hours to complete.

Matchsticks globe

Andy Yoder spent two years individually hand painting matchsticks and attaching them to a custom-built frame made of foam, cardboard, and plywood to create a giant globe. And, don’t worry, the artist thought ahead—the entire sculpture is coated in a flame retardant.

Crosshatched portraits

rikreimert.comRik Reimert spends dozens of hours across multiple months creating each of his crosshatch drawings of icons. Every one of the portraits are made entirely by hand, with a few pens and paper.

Tiny origami

flickr.comAnja Markiewicz is an origami artist that works with unbelievably tiny squares of paper that are less than an inch in width. Once folded, the detailed little paper sculptures are tiny enough to sit on your fingertips. The artist uses the utmost patience and care to create each nano-origami piece with her hands and a toothpick.

Large-scale metal scrap sculpture

selcukk.deviantart.comTurkish artist Selçuk Yılmaz created this enormous lion sculpture out of 4,000 pieces of salvaged metal scraps. The sculptor hand-cut and hammered each piece individually, taking him nearly a year to complete it.