Suggestion on how to get faster?

  • Hi all,

    I am so slow when I draw. I will spend hours and have little to show at the end. Do any of you have suggestions on how to get faster?

  • SVS OG

    I don't know? I've been doing it for years and I'm still slow takes me about a day to figure out and draw the image and about one to two days to paint it. I've learned a few things as of late that have sped up my process as far as Photoshop short cuts and things like that but I think the answer, as always, is just draw and paint and you'll get faster with time.

  • SVS OG

    I agree this is hard to answer. I know I have gotten faster over the years just from drawing, but I wish I would have drawn more. I like what they talk about in the classes for doing copy studies but not doing a finished drawing. Just studying the composition or the gesture. I think studying the forms of things and getting faster at that can help with not having to make changes later. Hope that makes sense.

  • This is a problem most of the people have. It takes me too a long time to finish the drawing part. Especially when it come to certain areas like anatomy. I found that using a lot of references really helps. I use tens of references when drawing something. And obviously, practice helps a lot. I tend to draw a lot of girls and with time it has become easier, but men, for example, take me more time. so practice, practice, practice.. 🙂

  • Pro SVS OG

    As has already been said - practice is the only thing that helps. You can do timed sketches (there is a website that times poses for you here: figure drawing) or you can grab a pose book and time yourself: 2 minutes, 5 minutes and 10 minutes are typical routines. I try to start every studio day with one hour of figure sketches - it is a habit I carried over from school. My personal goal is one full page (4-6 figures) in one hour, but of course you can set your own goals - the most important thing is to keep practicing.

  • SVS OG

    @smceccarelli that is a cool figure drawing website, thanks for sharing!

  • Do not bother with speed. You get faster as you get better.
    It is not about speed, but about knowledge. Masters are fast because they know exactly where tu put lines.
    Concentrate on quality and you will get faster more you practice.

    Another thing that makes you faster is to keep to a single painting process. Some begin with silhouettes, some with lineart, then build up grayscale values or work with color... Find what method suits you and stick to it.

    As Peter Mohrbacher says, take as much time as you need, give it all you got. Lookup illustrations of similiar style and try to get it to the same level. If it takes 60 hours, so be it. If you hit walls, do studies or start over, but take as much time as you need. You deepen your knowledge and get faster and better in a result.

  • I can be so jealous at my companion, who draws fast as lightening. It is different from persoon to person. But as I get more experienced I notice that I draw faster and faster. For example, I work on an assignment for a educational publisher. I make sketches and than redraw in Illustrator. they always ask to deliver yesterday. Now two years ago I had to ask my partner to help out, but today, I can do up to 20 sketches a day, and deliver 40 illustrations in one week. some are simpel and some are more complex, but as I try and work fast in the sketching fase, I becomes a flow.
    Model drawing helps to work faster. At first it looks horrible, but keep going, it does become better and better as you go.

  • SVS OG

    @Joy-Heyer I think most things have been said here, but other than echoing "practice-practice-practice" (which is very true and probably the ultimate answer), an addition I might add would be similar to what was said by @holleywilliamson about composition, gesture, forms, said by @smceccarelli about timed sketches (in my rewording: quicker exploration without concern over it looking "final"), and said by @Jiří-Kůs about silhouettes, line art, build up, etc. In my words:

    These all address: "drawing process" (whether long-term self-development or immediate project development)

    In other words, the efficiency & benefit to developing a drawing in stages of rough-to-tight, broad-to-specific, etc. In @Jiří-Kůs words, to "build up".

    By approaching a drawing initially in a rough/broad/gestural/form-based way, a wide variety of options can be quickly explored in order to exclude the "wrong" directions and select the "right" one(s), which will help in not "wasting time" on having to redo carefully constructed lines & details every time it's "not working out" as could happen if the approach was to start with in a tighter more final drawing way. Plus, by creating rough first, a composition-form-motion foundation is established, which allows you to refine a little more on top of it (to give the rough more concreteness), with continued refinement ultimately unto the final, "tight", "detailed" drawing.

    In my opinion, while the above is often said in regards to aiding in drawing quality, I think that this also helps with speed. You can see this with @Jake-Parker real-time drawing in various SVSLearn videos as he blocks out the basic shapes & structure then proceeds to refine from there. Obviously we can't all be a superhero like Jake (I think I recall @Lee-White and maybe @Will-Terry saying in a video that they have to wrestle with a drawing more than Jake), but I think it is pretty clear that his quality & speed comes from his process & practice (he's drawn a tremendous amount over the years), which we can apply to our own work.

    I might also echo/add one more thing: Aside from having to meet deadlines, I do not think you should be too focused on your drawing speed. As @evilrobot & @Leontine said, it will speed up as you keep doing it (I have experienced this with my painting), but also, speed is not so much the issue as is "getting it right" (which reference helps with this and speed as @Doha said).

    Note: I put "getting it right" in quotes (as I did with other words above) because "right/wrong" or "good/bad" mean different things with different styles (e.g. right/good anatomical structure is much more important as one moves towards realism and less so as one moves towards whimsical and especially abstract).

    On a separate note: Your kite illustration would work great for SCBWI's Postcard Contest!

  • Thank you everyone! This all helps me tremendously! I will stop worrying about it, find a process, work on the basics, and practice, practice, practice. @QuietYell I created my kite illustration for a local SCBWI contest so I'm not sure it would be good to submit in this one. Thoughts?

  • SVS OG

    @Joy-Heyer You might need to review the rules of the local SCBWI contest you entered it into (or contact your local rep), but there is nothing on this new, global SCBWI contest that says you cannot enter artwork that was used for other purposes. In fact, they have a new special "rule" here that says, "...unlike most of our other awards and contests, you may submit as many images as you like." Even if your piece was used at the local level, this is an opportunity for it to be used at the global level. That would be nice!

  • Hmm, I think the first step to this would be to see where in your process takes the longest first.
    Doing this will help you understand that because you know this is the longest process, that you need to focus on the shorter processes first.
    This is very crucial, especially when you get deadlines involved. It adds to stress which causes problems for creativity.
    Second, try to understand what it is that you don't need?
    Ask yourself, is this too detailed? Am I focusing on things the audience won't see or care much about? Can I tell my story I'm trying to tell without some of the elements I'm trying to put into it?
    Taking the time to identify what it is that is causing the hang ups is probably what you want to focus on.
    Then once you know the area, then keep drawing and try to force yourself to remember that not every single little detail is going to be seen. Focusing on making your color theory, composition, shadows, lighting and the appeal of your character are all very important so try focusing on those instead.

  • @QuietYell I'll review the rules of the local contest. Thanks! Are you entering it the postcard contest?

  • @MuttsGraphix Thanks! Those are great suggestions. I will analyze where I'm the slowest starting today!

  • SVS OG

    @Joy-Heyer I hope there's no conflict and that you can enter it!

    I have been intending to; though, I've been preoccupied with other things. Regardless, I better start very, very soon so I have time!!!

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