Sunset Tutorials: Speedpaint


This post isn’t really a tutorial since you can’t really teach people how to speedpaint. However, here are my insights and tips for speedpainting.  If you’re not familiar with speedpainting, it’s the process of making a quick digital illustration that conveys the general concept, without finishing all the detail work. They usually take about an hour to do, though it varies from person to person. What I like most about speedpaints is that they reveal the raw state of a drawing before it gets polished up. Also, you don’t really need to have an idea to start off—it might begin as a weird shape that develops into an awesome creature. Another thing about speedpaints is you don’t need the painting to be perfect, and you don’t have to feel like, “I spent 10 hours on this picture and it still doesn’t look right.” You don’t need to worry about these things because everyone understands that a speedpainting is more of a demo, not a final product.evil

Another awesome thing about speedpaints is that they can help you get over the frustration of artist’s block. When you’re art blocked, you don’t have many ideas about what to draw, or even if you do, they don’t turn out the way you want them to. Speedpaints help with this since they don’t even require an idea at the beginning. Also, they never lead to that feeling of frustration that comes from spending a ton of time on a piece, only to discover that you’re not really happy with it.


Before you begin, it really helps to read up on the basics of anatomy. When things look disproportionate or unrealistic, often it’s because they don’t comply with some basic rules of human anatomy. Second of all, if you decide to go to the wonderful world of Deviantart, Tumblr, or Google to search for examples of speedpaints, don’t get discouraged! I know, they are freaking amazing! But those are professionals, with years of experience. Don’t punch yourself wondering why you aren’t able to do that!

When I start off with a speedpaint, I try to get something on the canvas, even if I don’t have any idea what I’m doing. One thing that I always remind myself about is that it is okay to mess up. I’m going to repeat this for all you perfectionists out there: IT’S OK TO MESS UP! (Most famous artists agree that you should only share ten percent of what you make. Why? Because most of it will not be very good, no matter who you are!) This is a speedpaint we’re talking about. Don’t put too much time into it. Just go with the flow. They usually turn out pretty well. As a general rule, I limit myself to an hour or two, to avoid overloading it with detail, and to prevent myself from getting too attached. Also, if you polish the speedpaint up too much, it takes away the rawness of the piece. Personally, I like seeing some of the brush strokes in speedpaints, and find it much more interesting than when everything is blended.


Well, in the spirit of speedpainting, we should probably wrap things up! If there’s one thing I want you to remember, it’s that speedpaints are supposed to be fun. I like to do them in my free time because it helps me relieve stress, and take a break from the rush of school work. Hopefully, this inspires you to give it a shot. Thanks for reading!

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