What is speed painting?
Speed painting is art that is carried out in a set period of time, where the clock determines how much time an artist has.
This can be anything from minutes to a couple of hours.
After the time is up, an artist can no longer make any additional changes to the work. Speed painting can be helpful for beginner artists to learn painting techniques, and for experienced artists to practice their skills without over-thinking their work.
Speed painting is often carried out by digital artists, who learn to work quickly and efficiently, but do not require the ‘drying time’ that is required by wet painters.
Artists in the film industry, who create storyboards and often rely on creating multiple concepts rather than a single polished idea, often use speed drawing to get their ideas across quickly.
Speed painting was made popular by the artist Denny Dent, who introduced speed painting for an audience in 1981, after performing with high emotion after John Lennon’s death.
Dent would often speed paint portraits to rock music, sometimes turning the painting upside down after completion to reveal a celebrity face.
With speed painting giving the artist an opportunity to show off painting techniques while still having a lot of fun, here are some tips on how to get started:
How to speed paint
Remember to use custom shapes
Custom shapes mean merging or layering different shapes to create something new and unique. They are often forgotten by artists, but are fun to use, easy to create, and are a great option to think of when designing or speed drawing.
On days when your work takes on an abstract element, you can play with custom shapes, using a brush for layering, copying, repeating and transforming them into art.
Focus on colour and texture
Experiment by filling a canvas with colour, and adding texture. Instead of trying to paint something specific, use a large brush to simply apply colour to the canvas.
This playful and experimental technique will help you to see what emerges, without going into a detailed painting.
Keeping brushes large means you won’t be able to go into too much detail. You can have fun with texture or transparency, allowing a new vision to emerge.
Limit your use of brushes
Creating a limited selection of brushes helps you to focus on the shapes and designs that you can produce using these brushes, rather than the brush strokes.
Using a limited number of brushes might take a while to get used to, but it will speed up your process.
Use the gradient tool
Once you have decided on your colour pallet, make use of the gradient tool in order to plan your colours.
You can use the gradient tool to select a colour for every aspect of the painting, from the ground up to the sky.
If you would like the colours to blend, use the eraser tool to blend the colours into each other.
Take your own photographs
If you want to build up a reference library for images, take your own photographs.
Going out into the world and selecting your own scenes means choosing images that you can use for good paintings. You might find moments which are atmospheric, or where designs are particularly unique.
This will help you with developing content for your paintings or having images to choose from.
You don’t only have to make selections from the natural world though. Old buildings, character faces or interesting street scenes, all make some excellent material.
Search for creative inspiration everywhere
Sometimes, it is those unexpected moments that create new options or inspirations. It’s the time that you spill water and it mixes with the ink of your pen, forming interesting patterns, or the time the mist on your camera lens shapes into a salty formation which provides a layer on your images.
These accidental moments sometimes provide new or interesting designs or opportunities that can be used as reference material for speed painting. Many of these images are unique and offer a creative opportunity to bring something new to your work.
When speed painting, add intricacy by using a set of brushes which create texture. These brushes can often be found online. You could look for chunky brushes with hard bristles or brushes that will give a chalky look to the paint.
Choose brushes that will create distinct lines, those that will bring atmosphere, and brushes that will create forests, rocks, stone textures or even vegetation. This way, it is possible to work quickly, knowing that there will be reliable results.
Consider reference pictures
When preparing your images, ensure that they are consistent, so that you can work with them quickly.
This means checking lighting sources or perspective so that there is no need to modify or adjust your painting during the process.
This will save you time, and enable you to keep using your photographs during the process of painting.
Use your own knowledge – and experiment
At the end of the day, it is the knowledge an artist has of balance, flow, and composition that will contribute to making a good painting.
When starting out, instead of working with a set photo or image, you can use concepts such as shape, repetition and other tools in order to create abstract designs, and allow the process to reveal the form a painting will take.
This might lead you into new territory, creating a new and original result.
Keep your story simple
Instead of trying to say a great many things with the images you’re producing, focus on one or two aspects. This will help you to keep your painting simple.
Trying to share a great deal often means dividing up the canvas into two many different sections, which might be broken down to such an extent, that the meaning within the whole remains unclear.
Keeping it simple will help you to create an iconic image.
Ending thoughts on speed painting
Speed painting will assist you in developing and refining your skills as an artist. Whether you are just starting out, or an experienced painter, learning to speed paint will assist you with crafting your technique and give you space to experiment.
When you speed paint, you are able to get your ideas down quickly, allowing you conceptualize and explore new thoughts or ideas without over analyzing.
You can then present your work to a colleague or creative director. Speed painting adds to your artistic repertoire. It is an important skill to have.
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Published at Mon, 22 Jan 2018 12:00:42 +0000