Categories: Graphic Designer and Illustrations Articles

Get More Painting Done Using Speed-Painting Techniques

Whether you indulge in traditional art or digital art, there are ways to get more painting done using speed-painting techniques. In essence, the core set of skills needed in order to achieve more in less amount of time is basically the same.

Original Image: Martin Missfeldt

Paint Using A Timer

First of all, practice is necessary. It is only possible to get quicker by continuing to apply yourself to the art. Set a timer for a certain amount of time over a period of a few days. As you begin to see the speed at which you work increase, reduce the amount of time on the timer gradually.

For example, you can begin by setting a timer for half an hour and see how much you can get done in that time. Do this over the course of five days to a week. In the second week, reduce the amount of time to twenty minutes. In this way you will continue to push yourself both physically and mentally to produce more work.

Try New Styles

Next, research is also a major part of bettering yourself. Look at work that other artists have done. Learn more about techniques that intrigue you and try to master those techniques with practice. Keep researching new styles by following artists that interest you; subscribe to newsletters or forums where artists discuss techniques. Also, there are many tutorials that break down the steps involved in creating a piece. Understanding the journey from conception to the execution of the final result will go a long way in showing you how to develop your own shortcuts.

In addition to your research on other artists, you should definitely research your subject matter. Whatever it is that interests you when it comes to painting, be it landscapes, anatomy or light, the more you know about the subject, the better. Learning about the way shadows work with light from various angles, for example, will help you to quickly analyze and record your ideas. Through consistent study, it will become second nature to simply know what type of light will cast what type of shadow.

Digital artists

For digital artists, layer management is essential to having a greater output. Using layers in the right way will enable you to quickly clear up mistakes or add effects. You can also backtrack or duplicate layers to test new ideas without making permanent changes to the original piece. Washes of color can also be used cleverly. Using larger brush strokes will allow you the luxury of painting a larger area in a shorter space of time.

Traditional media

Artists using traditional media such as oils and acrylics may wish to try minimizing the color palette in order to learn how to be faster. Using black, grey and white washes will force you to look at the subject matter as simply as possible. This way, you won’t waste time mixing colors trying to get the right shade.

Finally, you should know that there are no immediate resolutions to learning how to speed-paint. It really does come down to pushing yourself on a regular basis to simply get it done. You will become faster without even realizing it through constant and consistent work.


If you’d like to try out some speed-painting techniques, considering using the free online timer from You just choose the number of minutes you require for your speed-painting session. The online timer will then count down to the end of your alotted time. There’s even an alarm that will sound when your speed-painting session has ended!


Your tips and tricks

Do you have any style or tips you would like to share on speed painting?

Written by Ruan Smit

Ruan Smit started Pixelsmithstudios with the vision of creating a new design orientated environment of sharing, learning and expertise development amongst local Animators,Illustrators,Game Developers and VFX artists in South Africa.

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Ruan Smit

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