Admittedly, we’re living in an age of high speed and low attention span — everyone wants to do everything faster. But there are a number of really good reasons it’s valuable to learn how to draw faster. Mainly, it can actually make your artwork better.
Artwork via CakeSpy unless otherwise noted
Increasing the speed in which you draw can benefit your overall artistic skills in a number of ways. For one, it will help increase muscle memory, so that you’ll be able to draw certain shapes and figures without thinking too hard — which makes sketching and rendering shapes a quicker, easier process.
For another, drawing quickly can keep you from overthinking a piece. When you speed up your drawing, you don’t have as much time to fuss about the outcome. Fear and doubt don’t have time to enter the equation, and you have the freedom to just create.
It might seem contradictory, but slow but steady is the best way to speed up your drawing.
Figure study via Craftsy member HaiVerstappen
Sketch moving objects or figures
In art school, it’s not uncommon to have a figure drawing session in which the model changes their pose every 30 seconds (or less!). No, it’s probably not possible to create a realistic masterpiece in this amount of time. But that’s not the point of the exercise. Rather, it’s to teach art students how to capture movement, shape and form in the most concise way possible. Drawing with speed forces you to instinctually capture the “essence” of a form.
While you might not have a live figure model waiting in the wings, you can try this at home by drawing characters in movies or in dance performances online. They’ll constantly be moving (it’s totally fine to press pause if you need an extra moment!), and it will help you learn how to capture moving forms.
Master capturing movement in your art with Craftsy course Sketching People in Motion.
Practice drawing the same thing over and over
Infusion through repetition: by drawing the same thing over and over, you will get faster at drawing that subject and similar forms.
Sound boring? It doesn’t have to be, as you don’t have to draw your subject matter the exact same way every time — it can be an exploration. You can use this an an opportunity to tackle tricky subject matter, or to refine simple shapes. Plus, drawing a repetitive subject can be surprisingly meditative and relaxing.
Ditch the reference image
Reference images are a fantastic resource for creating lifelike works. But at a certain point, the reference images may become a crutch, especially with subject matter you have become accustomed to drawing.
Learn the process how to draw from memory in This post. If you love your reference images, don’t worry — they’re always there for you. But you may find that as you continue drawing, certain forms don’t require references any longer, and it will certainly streamline the process of your drawing!
Want to draw fast right now? To hasten the process, try this simple method for increasing the speed of your drawing.
Decide on a relatively simple shape or scene to draw. Don’t time yourself, just draw at a pace that feels good to you. For this tutorial, I drew a simple skyline, but you could work with a simpler or more comples form — totally up to you.
Now that you’ve got the idea, draw the same scene or a similar one. This time, use a stopwatch to time yourself.
Now, draw the scene again, but try to draw it a little bit quicker.
Repeat as many times as you’d like, treating it like a game: How quickly can you draw the scene?
What you’ll find, using this method, is that you automatically begin to omit unnecessary forms, techniques and quirks from your drawing to increase your speed. This can serve you even when you’re slowing down the drawing process, as it will help you learn how to instinctually “edit” your piece, omitting what doesn’t serve the overall drawing.
Drawing more rapidly can help you reduce fear and increase your overall artistic skills. Gaining speed in your drawing will increase your muscle memory and help you draw confidently and concisely.