Hyouryuu-Na

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Hello! Not many people know this but I draw sometimes and really enjoy it ^^ I'm still very inexperienced. Today I tried making a character portrait after a verry verry long time because my mid exams have just ended and I wanted to do something different and relaxing. As I don't get that much practice, I was really really slow... It took me 1 hour and 47 minutes just to do this bit here:
I'm sure experienced artists will take 10 minutes or something to do this? Imagine how long it will take for me to colour this XD
So, to the artists of the community, how do you get on with your workflow? What do you do to speed things up? And I'd really appreciate it if you could offer some suggestions on how to improve the quality of artwork in general.
Thanks!
 

Sharm

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The biggest thing that helps me is something that I'm still working on, and it's kinda a combination of things. The first half is that I often go to details too soon. This means that I'm working on a finalized version of something before I've worked out bigger elements like proportions or even sometimes the pose. This means that I end up spending a lot of time on things that either don't matter or need to be scrapped. The second half of this problem is that I fuss about things that don't matter, like getting clean strokes on someone's head that I'll be covering with hair, or swapping between two nearly identical color choices before choosing a third. The reason why I consider it all the same problem is because it stems from the same thing, perfectionism. You're going to be your own worst critic, most of the tiny things that you feel are glaring errors won't be noticed by others. So the biggest way to speed up is to just not care about the things that only you would notice.

Another thing that really helps is stacking the deck in my own favor. Working at my best time of the day, eliminating distractions, having all the references and supplies on hand before starting, and so on. It makes a big production out of creating art, which means I'll sometimes procrastinate starting, but once I start I can crank things out much faster.

The third thing is to allow yourself to do the quick and dirty way. I feel like using transformation and deformation tools is cheating, so I end up redrawing things to fix them instead of just using the software to push it into place. But when I watch pros work, they use transformation tools constantly. Speeding up sometimes means getting off your high horse and just doing it the fastest and easiest way instead of the more pristine or elegant way.

I've found most of my hang ups by doing speed challenges. Trying to get things done under the pressure of an extreme time limit really brings out the bad habits I developed over time. The really funny thing is that although going really fast isn't so great for my enjoyment level, I've notice no difference on the quality of the end result. The biggest time waster of all in my art is second guessing every step, and it does me no good.

As for actual techniques to make things go faster, that will depend on what stage of the art you're working on and what tools you like to use. I know you were wanting to do coloring next, so I'll tell you a trick I've used for doing flats. Make a second copy of your linework, make it black and white instead of black and transparent, bring the contrast waaaaay up so there's no anti aliasing anymore, delete the white, block any gaps by making lines with the pencil tool, then you have a completely clean linework to color in where you can just use the flood fill, and you can fill or delete the lines at the end to get rid of the evidence. Flats are all about getting color down quickly, so getting things exact is just not required at this stage. You can do that when you're refining things later. If your linework is good you can also just select inside the area, expand the selection and fill below the lines, but that method is more trouble than just coloring by hand if your linework has a lot of gaps.
 

SmashArtist

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People tend to tell me that I'm a speedy artist and honestly I'm not sure how I do it.
I think it might be due to my impatience. I get really bored and demotivated if an art piece takes me a while and then I end up abandoning it.
One thing that helps is that I'm too lazy to do lineart half of the time and my sketches are clean enough that they can pass as lineart. XD

I'd suggest practicing doing art under a time limit, once time's up you have to stop drawing. If you do this often enough I'm guessing you'll end up being a faster artist.
Something important to note: try not to be perfectionist in your art, it slows you down and eventually might demotivate you drawing at all. Remember that art should be fun and if you're not having fun, trying to make every stroke perfect, you'll end up taking a long time to finish.
 

Hyouryuu-Na

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@Sharm Those are really good suggestions! Thank you for sharing ^^ I never really thought about those. I also make those mistakes you talked about. Even now I feel like I should've adjusted the character's head a little. It's not too late to do that I suppose. I didn't start colouring yet. Was waiting for the replies here.
@SmashArtist I will definitely try doing timed drawings. And you're right perfectionism is honestly what demotivates me more than anything. Even 4 years ago I used to draw like sh*t XD I got better by practicing but when I started to compete with my friends, I started to strain myself to make the drawings 'perfect'... It became not so enjoyable over time :(
 

Sharm

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Ah yeah, I remember one more thing that helps me. Limit how far you are able to zoom in. I've spent so long working at something 3000x9000 at 300 dpi at 1000x zoom only to drop it to 300x900 at 72 dpi in the end because I'd be terrified at needing it bigger and wanting it to look good. I mean, there's some wisdom at working a little bigger than you need, but there should be limits too, or you'll wear yourself out on things that don't matter.
 

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I've moved this thread to Resource Support. Thank you.

 

WaywardMartian

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I'm not a digital artist ( I draw on paper and colour digitally ) so I don't know how you work. Did you just start with the finished lines or is there a sketch layer that you've hidden?
 

Hyouryuu-Na

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I don't have a sketch layer. I just start drawing and fix lines along the way until they turn out perfect. Do you scan your drawings to be coloured digitally? :0 How do you get the right scale
 

WaywardMartian

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A sketch layer could be a big help. Then you can do the basic layout quicky and get all the bits where you want them so you know the pose and proportions are right, then make a new layer to do the finished lines over top. When that's done, either erase the sketch or make it transparent. It's okay if your sketch is scribbley and imperfect because nobody's going to see it. ;) When you try to do it line by perfect line, you're having to go straight from your brain to the page with no guide and you spend a lot of time mentally checking if it's right. A layout sketch, even if it's awful, is half your work finished because now you know where your finished lines should go.

Bonus: If you're unhappy with a layout sketch as you're drawing it, it hurts a lot less to change it because, who cares, it's just a sketch. Having to erase finished linework that you spent a lot of time on because now that you can see it you've decided the pose should be different is painful.

I scan my drawings in then tidy them up and colour them in Photoshop. The scale works in my favour, since my drawings are always bigger than the size I'll post them at. Scaling down the finished drawing makes the linework look smoother and nobody can see any small mistakes I made. ;)
 

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