Just recently, someone on DA asked me for ways to speed up their process and their ability to finish their art faster. Honestly, I have been struggling with being a slow artist for a long time, so it sort of struck me as kinda funny that they would be asking me how to get faster, as I never considered myself to be someone to point out as an example of being a 'fast' artist. After giving my two cents on the subject I thought I would pass along what I said here on my journal, so others could see it and maybe benefit from it, or add their two cents in the comments. So here goes…
The best advice I ever got was to focus on speed, rather than getting it perfect. Keep finishing each piece you do, but focus on doing it faster rather than making every aspect absolutely perfect.
Almost every art job out there will require you to adhere to deadlines, and for that you need the speed to be able to get something done that you are happy with in the allotted time. In fact, one of the best ways to lose an art job (and future art jobs if word spreads), is to fail at keeping up with your deadlines. On the flip side, if you are known to keep to deadlines, and do it consistently your chances of getting paid for your work are MUCH higher.
If approach your art from the stand point of focusing on your speed, a couple things will start to happen. 1, you will draw much more stuff in the time that you normally would have, and having practiced that much more will make you that better, and strangely enough your slower style (the one that you used to take forever to perfect each piece) will catch up to your faster style. 2) You will then start to realize that the projects that previously seemed out of your reach due to crazy seeming deadlines will start coming your way and be much more manageable and realistic to handle.
Some ways to get faster.
- Get yourself a sketch book and try to fill it up, cover to cover, in a set period of time, drawing anything and everything (especially on the things you struggle to draw). Set an end goal to finish an entire sketch book once per month. Once you get to that goal, I guarantee you will be a better, faster artist.
just reminded me that Gesture drawing is a great thing to practice for building speed. AND it is something you can do in your sketch books
Practice timed gesture drawings in intervals of 5 minutes per sketch, 2 minutes, down to 1 minute. This will speed up your ability to get the essence of what you want on the page. Only allowing yourself a short period of time to finish a drawing will force you to simplify everything you do and make each stroke more ecconomic. Overtime it can make your work faster.
- If you are currently working on a project, a book for instance, you won't want to change your style too drastically in the middle of it. What you can do is continue to make your stuff the way you were doing it, but start trying to find ways to simplify, and make things you do more efficient. Put a clock or a timer next to your desk, and give yourself an allotted time to finish any given step. Set time goals and work towards surpassing them, then set shorter times and do it again. To quote Scrooge McDuck, 'Work Smarter, Not Harder!'
- In the end it's just a matter of forcing yourself to practice getting faster.