So the results of that recent portrait of a hero contest came out and of course all the drawings are quite amazing:!/overview

But I have a question that is more on the technical side as I am learning photoshop myself. And since there is no art forum, I'll just ask here.

If there are any good artists around, could someone give me an approximation of how long it takes to paint something like one of those paintings? They all look highly detailed. Whenever I go on youtube or deviantart or some place, the artists there always say it only took them a few hours, and then I watch these speed painting videos and there's really no way to tell how long it actually took them. From personal experience, anything I do that is bordering on such detail usually takes 2-3 days (not nonstop of course), so I find it hard to believe anyone can do them so fast. But then again I could be wrong and these guys might just be really really good and fluent.

The reason I'm asking is because I'm trying to break into the industry and I want to gauge how far I still have to go and just how good I need to be. I'm not sure how many of the contestants are professional artists in some regard, I'm sure some are, but they all seem to have a pretty good grasp of photoshop and I would guess that level of skill would certainly qualify for jobs.

So anybody with any helpful info would be appreciated... maybe even a Blizzard artist?
Edited by FreshTofu#1305 on 5/19/2012 7:35 PM PDT