When people look at my finished work, usually a more complex one, they always ask, "How long does it take to make that?" In a instance like the current project the answer is, "It depends!" School's Out could have been built with simple fish. The mouths could be fixed and the bodies could be made with a smooth surface - no scales. The scales add an artistic touch but add a lot of time to the project, not only in making the scales but in the added complexity of painting. I have attached a short video to show part of the process of burning on the scales. Each fish takes about an hour to complete the scale and fin markings. Add an extra 15 minutes over a simple paint job for the extra wash coat to penetrate the voids and you have just added 12-1/2 hours to the project due to the wood burning detailing.
Hopefully most viewers would think it is worth it! Somehow having the fish looking fairly realistic adds to the serenity of the piece. To put more detail into it, I would feel I should be making a fish carving, not an automata. For me when making characters it's always about finding a satisfying balance - not too simple, but not too exact.
Automata is a creative blend of my life interests , engineering, art and woodworking.