How to Draw Faster: 29 Tips to Speed up Your Sketching Skills

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If you’re an artist or thinking about becoming one, then chances are you’ve wondered how to draw faster.

There’s nothing more frustrating than spending hours on a piece and not finishing it because you ran out of time.

Drawing fast is all about practice- the more you do it, the better your skills will get. Here are 29 tips that can help speed up your sketching skills!

a woman drawing against a sunset

Why should you learn how to draw faster?

Table of Contents

Speeding up your drawing process is a worthwhile goal to focus on because it allows you to work faster without sacrificing quality.

It’s all about practice, and there are many benefits from sketching fast- from having more time to work on your art to training your hand to get better.

It’s a great way to keep your energy levels up when you’re working on a piece!

Look for and Draw the Basic Shapes.

It’s a good idea to get in the habit of drawing basic shapes when you’re sketching.

Look for circles, triangles, rectangles, and ovals in your reference photo and try to recreate them with simple strokes.

You’ll find that it’s much easier to draw what you see once you break it down into simpler geometric shapes.

Draw with Your Whole Arm.

One of the best ways to draw faster is using your whole arm instead of just your wrist.

Use big, circular strokes from your shoulder and elbow as often as possible so that your hand doesn’t have to travel very much to complete a stroke.

You’ll find that this technique makes it easier for you to keep up a steady flow.

Use a Different Medium.

If you’re constantly trying to draw as fast as possible with a pencil, then it’s going to be hard for you to speed up.

Try working with markers or pens, making it easier for you to draw faster since they require less precision and give you more freedom of movement.

Draw Moving Objects and People.

If you can, try going out and sketching people who are in motion.

This will help speed up your drawing skills because action poses are more challenging to draw than stationary ones.

hand drawing faster

Draw from Imagination.

When you first start learning how to draw faster, it’s a good idea not to use a reference photo at all.

Try closing your eyes and picturing an object from memory before you attempt to recreate it on paper- this is an excellent way for beginners to learn how to draw quickly without getting bogged down by outside distractions or limitations, such as using a reference photo that doesn’t come out quite right.

Leave out Details from the Drawing.

Most beginners tend to get caught up in the details when they’re sketching- they’ll spend time shading in every strand of hair on a person’s head or drawing individual leaves on a tree.

Don’t fall into this habit- try limiting your detail to only the most essential parts of the object you’re drawing.

This will help you learn how to draw faster because you won’t be spending time trying to recreate all of the little things that are less important.

Work on Several Drawings at Once.

If you’re having trouble drawing fast, it might help to work on several different drawings simultaneously.

This is a good way for you not to get bogged down in any one piece and can also speed up your sketching skills in general since you’ll be able to move quickly from one project to the next without getting stuck or discouraged.

Keep Your Pencil Moving.

When you draw, try not to lift your pencil very often- instead, keep it moving throughout the entire piece so that you don’t have to stop to make corrections.

If you find yourself stopping frequently, the chances are that your hand or arm isn’t making big enough motions when drawing, which will slow your progress.

What if I said You talk too much?

When you talk, you stimulate your left brain with logically dominated language.

This part loves to know the identity of an object, label the item, and organize it. When I am trying to learn a new way of drawing reality, it is essential to stimulate my other side, which is more interested in photos and image perception.

It’s challenging to do both at the same time.

Two hands, two halves of the brain: The right brain controls the left side of the body.

The left brain controls the right side of the body.

How-to-Draw-Faster.

Trace or Photocopy your Drawings.

In High school art, there are times where tracing is a great technique to use.

If you want to draw from life but don’t have the patience or ability to re-sketch an object.

I often photocopy my drawings and cut them up to use them as a template for new drawings.

Tracing is also a great way of learning how to draw faster by mimicking your own style of drawing but with a different outcome each time.

The most important thing is that you’re moving your hand across the paper and getting familiar with manipulating tools such as pencils and pens.

When I am lacking in confidence in a certain medium or speed, I will trace my drawings from past paintings so that it is connected with something familiar.

Draw Negative Space.

If you find yourself struggling to make progress when drawing objects like people or animals, try drawing the negative spaces between their bodies instead.

Just like it sounds, this is an excellent way for beginners to learn how to draw quickly by freeing themselves from focusing on the actual object’s content and looking at the shapes around the objects or subjects.

For example: if you’re working with graphite pencils and someone’s face, try spending some time just drawing the space around his/her eyes before attempting to shade within them so that you can practice manipulating your hand in order for your drawings to have more fluidity.

This will help speed up your sketching process because there are fewer distractions once you’ve learned to draw faster by focusing on specific parts of an object rather than the entire thing.

drawing materials

Incorporate Mixed media / Patterned Surfaces / Textural Elements.

If you are having trouble with speed, then incorporating textured surfaces or other elements into your sketching may help to increase your momentum while drawing.

Using different materials that force you out of your comfort zone can also boost creativity because it helps to stimulate all five senses simultaneously instead of focusing on only one sense at a time.

You’re not necessarily obligated to incorporate these media every single time- the point is for you to get used to switching things up so that when you return to regular graphite/pencils, watercolors, etc.- you will have a good understanding of the capabilities of the medium.

Change Your Internal Script. 

One of the best ways to increase your momentum is to change your internal dialogue.

Instead of saying “Oh man, I need to draw this person before my lunch break ends,” Change it to something like, “I’m going to take 30 minutes to sketch out this person quickly.”

The first statement feels more intimidating because it’s focused on the length of time vs. what you’re focusing on during that time.

Changing your language helps you focus on speed rather than how much time you have left, which will help eliminate distractions and erasing to learn how to draw faster by being present within the moment.

We are often our own worst critics. Remember, drawing is about progress, not perfection.

More importantly, it’s about having fun and enjoying the process rather than fixing the result.

So give yourself permission to make mistakes and embrace them as part of your learning process.

Once you’re able to tap into that mindset, you will see how much easier it is for you to learn how to draw faster by not giving yourself too much time or space for over-analyzing your drawings.

Leave Your Drawing Intentionally Incomplete. 

One of the best ways to increase your momentum is to leave your drawings intentionally incomplete.

It may sound strange, but it’s a great technique for beginners who are struggling with finding motivation during the sketching process since you’re allowing yourself to jump around on paper without having any pressure or expectations on specific areas.

This helps you focus more on speed and less about making progress in one area which will help you advance in multiple aspects of drawing such as perspective, shading, line quality, etc.- all at once!

The idea behind this technique is that when we draw things that we know precisely how they’ll turn out, our mind already has an answer, so there isn’t much need for us to pay much attention.

Know Your Medium. 

The more familiar you are with the medium, the easier it will be for you to draw faster because you’ll know things such as: how much pressure to apply and where if your lines should be light/heavy, and how they look when used properly.

Spend time playing with and experimenting with different art mediums (pastels, Conte, markers, etc.)

Know Yourself.

Before you can change or increase your momentum, it’s important to know yourself as an artist.

Ask yourself: What am I good at? What am I wanting to improve?

What makes me feel frustrated/in a rut? How do I want the world to see me as an artist?

By knowing these things, you can set specific goals and create actionable steps on how you’re going to reach those goals which will help keep you motivated throughout the learning process.

Selectively Flatten Tone.

Remember, to draw fast, you have to let go of perfection.

One way to do that is by selectively flattening tone- where you are purposely creating large blocks of missing information.

This will help you eliminate time spent on detailing small areas and allow your mind to focus more on larger forms which will speed up your process since you’re not having to switch between different views or details often.

Use Masking Tape to Create Straight Edges.

This technique can be helpful when you’re practicing drawing straight lines, squares, rectangles, etc.

One reason is that it’ll help you reduce or eliminate erasing so you can learn how to draw much faster using the “trial and error” approach which will allow your confidence to increase as well!

You will also find that this helps keep your work clean looking within the forms because there are fewer smudges.

Masking tape works great because it’s doesn’t really leave any residue on paper unless it’s pressed down extremely hard.

Use Shapes Instead of Lines When Drawing from Imagination.

Progress to Abstract (or semi-abstract).

Drawing abstractions can be a great source of inspiration since it allows your mind to create without boundaries.

This is important because the more you practice this, the less intimidating drawing from imagination will become.

Even if you are just using shapes & shadows- that’s okay! Just remember that it should require much less time for you to finish your work.

One thing I always do when I get stuck with my drawing is taking a break and come back to it later after I’ve had some fresh eyes take a look at it.

So by taking a step back away from your work, it’ll allow your mind to see things differently which will help break that “mental block”.

Give Yourself a Time Limit.

To draw faster, it’s good to set a time limit or placing a clock in view while you work.

This will help keep your mind focused on the task at hand and not be distracted by too many other things going on around you.

Take a Drawing Class. 

a drawing class

It’s always a good idea to learn from other artists.

Whether it’s an online class or in-person – it will help keep your mind sharp & focused on evolving as an artist.

Draw things in the right order.

For example, draw the large forms/shapes first before getting hung up on smaller details that you might be tempted to start with.

This will help keep your mind focused on creating larger images since this often requires more thinking and gives your eyes something substantial to see in order to guide you when drawing.

Practice.

It’s important to keep in mind that the more you practice, the better and faster your skills will become.

If you’re feeling frustrated with your work, don’t worry- this is completely normal.

I still get frustrated when I feel like I’m getting stuck or not making any progress with my drawing skills.

But instead of getting upset with myself, I just take a few deep breaths and break down my larger goal into smaller steps so that it feels more manageable.

No matter what skill you’re trying to learn- drawing or otherwise – keep in mind that if you’re willing to put in the time and effort required, then becoming proficient enough to use this new skill is absolutely possible.

Omit parts of a scene.

By “fudging” things and leaving out small details you can speed up your drawing process.

For example, if you’re drawing a scene from real life- leave out the texture of objects that are far away.

You’d be surprised at how much time it’ll save you especially if you’re just starting out with learning how to draw.

Different Textures.

Incorporate different textures in your drawings when possible.

These can be things such as the roughness of the paper, smoothness of skin, the feel of velvet/silk, etc.

This will help add detail and realism to your work which also makes it more interesting to look at!

Use digital manipulation.

This is a great way to speed up your work and experiment with things.

For example, you can create an abstract background: Manipulate how the light falls on the subject of your drawing & add effects such as blurs/noise.

Use digital images as a reference when drawing from imagination.

This is a great way to speed up your work, especially if you’re like me and like to break down the process & steps required to complete something.

Create blanket backgrounds.

When drawing from imagination, use a large area of color or tone to act as your background.

This will help speed up the process because you’ll be focusing on the figure/object itself.

Observe & Sketch.

Take the time to notice the important aspects of whatever you’re drawing.

If you want to capture a realistic piece, be sure to pay attention to light & shadow, angles, movement, etc.

Don’t forget details but try not to overdo it either because less is more!

Practice Speed Sketching Exercises.

Sketching exercises are great for learning how to draw quickly because they force you to work with strict deadlines and limited materials.

You can find lots of these exercises online if you for “speed sketching.”

Exercise: Gesture drawing.

A gesture drawing is an artistic process that involves creating quick, basic sketches of a figure or subject.

It’s usually done in very short intervals from 10 seconds to 20 minutes per sketch. It is often a timed drawing activity.

Gesture drawing is a quick way to practice your figure drawing skills and capture the essence of a subject.

It is often done to quickly explore an idea or emotion before creating a more finished artwork.

It’s also useful for artists who don’t have access to more materials but want to work on an idea.

Gesture drawing is not meant for you to use as final art, but it is often used by artists while they are developing ideas.

Exercise: Draw with Your Non-Dominant Hand.

This is another great exercise for boosting your artistic prowess since it forces you to see things from a different perspective.

Have fun with it and don’t worry if your drawings turn out less than perfect.

Drawing is all about having fun and exploring new possibilities so don’t be afraid to try something new!

Exercise: Break it down.

Break down your drawing into parts and focus on each part of the overall finished work separately.

For example, you could look at an apple as just a circle, lines & dots.

This is another exercise that’s good for learning how to draw quickly by focusing on small details that are easy for you to replicate.

Exercise: Continuous Line Drawing.

This is a similar exercise to the one above because it also encourages you to focus on smaller parts of the overall piece.

The difference here is that with this exercise, you’ll be drawing continuous (i.e., uninterrupted) lines and not stopping between each part like with “Break it down.”

Here is a great video on How to Draw Faster:

Recommended Sketchbook.

The Strathmore 400 series sketchbook is a great choice for beginners. This paper is perfectly smooth and takes ink, colors, and pencil really well.

Check out my articles on the best sketchbooks for multi-media art, watercolor sketching, and …

Recommended Pencils to Speed up Your Drawing:

Luckily it’s really easy to get hold of good quality pencils to help you on your drawing journey! You can buy them online or at any good art supplies store.

A 2B pencil is definitely your friend – it’s just dark enough to allow you to see what you’re doing, but it won’t be so dark that you’ll struggle to erase any mistakes.

Frequently Asked Questions about Drawing Faster

How do I draw?

This is a question that many people have been asking for a long time and many still do not know even how to begin!

The most important thing you can do is practice.

How do you draw? Drawing is a skill that needs to be learned through practice, which means they need discipline and patience.

You start with simple shapes and work your way up to creating your own work.

The more time and effort you put into your drawings, the better they become and the more comfortable you’ll be with them.

Drawing is a process that requires time, practice, and patience.

It’s important for artists to keep in mind that drawing involves many different skills: observation, imagination, creativity, memory, visualization, and the ability to translate what you see onto paper.

Without one of these skills, drawing can be difficult or even impossible.

An artist with all five of these skills will be able to draw anything they set their mind to.

But for those who lack some of these skills, it may seem like an uphill battle at first. It is not a mountain, but a hill.

The secret to success is just to keep practicing.

How do I learn to draw without years of study?

If you are looking to learn how to draw – this is it. No need for years of study in Art schools.

There are plenty of great books with instructions on drawing techniques, self-teaching tutorials, or online video instructions available free of charge.

The most important thing about learning how to do something is that your brain will design your method for learning.

The trick is to turn off the “inner critic” and get started, instead of spending time looking for a perfect method.

Ultimately it will be your personal experience that will allow you to identify what works best for you.

Why do I draw so slow?

There are many potential reasons why you might draw slower than others, here we will list a few of the most common:

– Being more self-conscious about your drawing and therefore taking longer to produce it.

– You may feel that your drawings aren’t good enough and need tweaking constantly. This is often referred to as an “Inner-Critic”.

– You have a pre-determined idea of how you want your drawing to look at the end, so you spend more time planning it out before starting.

Is it better to draw slow or fast?

Both are good depending on what you’re going for!

If you want a sketchy/looser look, then draw quickly. If you want a cleaner and more polished look, draw slowly.

How do you speed sketch?

Just like with most things in life, the more you practice – the better you’ll get at it!

There are some simple steps to follow that will help you speed up your sketches. Here they are:

– Use a bigger sheet of paper (to compensate for bigger movements during sketching).

– Try 1/2 or even 1/4 page sketches.

– Draw in simple shapes and try using line weight to help you indicate details such as depth, textures, etc.

– Draw lots of sketches! The more you practice – the faster you’ll become.

How can I improve my drawing fast?

The first step to improving your drawing skills is always practice.

Exercising daily and setting specific goals, such as a certain number of drawings per week ( 3 – 10), will help you improve faster.

– Set deadlines for yourself and make sure to post them somewhere visible where you can see them often. This will keep you motivated and accountable.

– Find a creative theme and channel your energy into it. It’s much easier to practice drawing when you’re enjoying it!

If it feels like work, then you need to find something else that you enjoy doing. The key is finding something that keeps your interest and makes time pass quickly – also known as “flow”.

– Draw with others, trade drawings, or join a sketch group, and this will give you an extra boost of motivation and support.

You’ll be able to help each other out by encouraging one another, sharing tips and techniques, making plans to draw together (in person or online), etc…

Can you teach yourself to draw?

Yes, but it’s hard work!

I think that anyone can learn to draw – but you need to be willing to put in the time and effort.

If you’re up for a challenge and want to give drawing a shot, here are some general guidelines:

– Be as devoted as possible (time spent practicing).

– Be patient. There will be times when you feel like you’re not improving at all

– Find an activity/hobby that supports your drawing practice (to optimize the time you spend).

How quickly can someone learn to draw?

It depends on how much time they’re willing to put into it and what their expectations are.

There’s no way to speed up the learning process, but one can continually improve their skills by practicing more often!

Here are some general guidelines:

– It takes several thousand drawings to become comfortable with a pencil.

– It takes years of practice to become a skilled drawer.

– It takes decades to master the “art” of drawing.

How can I improve my drawing speed?

Here are some simple steps to follow:

– Set a specific goal. How many drawings do you want to make per week?

– Get a sketchbook and pencils/pens that you enjoy drawing with. They will seem less like “work” if they’re tools that help your creative process rather than hinder it.

– Post your drawings somewhere where you’ll see them often – either at home or work. This will motivate you to draw more often.

– Draw digitally sometimes. You can sketch faster digitally, save time by using shortcuts, and it’s easy to share with others when you’re finished!

What are the five drawing techniques?

One can use many techniques to improve their sketching skills, but here are five simple ones to get you started.

– Shading (using pencils, markers, crayons, pastels, etc.…)

– Line weight (thick vs. thin lines)

– Gesture drawing (quick sketches of the human figure)

– Perspective (3D rendering of objects and landscapes)

– Pattern and texture (using repetitive shapes and strokes to create patterns and textures).

How do you draw instantly?

Drawing quickly takes practice, but here are some simple steps to follow:

– Practice drawing one subject repeatedly (a tree, a face, etc.) using different techniques.

– Create your drawing method. Forget about the rules and experiment until you find something that works best for YOU!

– Speed up your hand movements. The faster you move, the less time it will take to finish a drawing because there will

How can I learn to draw in 30 days?

It’s possible to learn to draw well in a short period, but it all depends on your goals and how much dedication you have.

Here are some simple steps to follow:

– Set a daily drawing goal (even if it’s just 5 minutes). Make this goal achievable so that you’re able to do it every day.

– Find a specific activity (like working out or cooking) that you can do while practicing your drawing skills. Learn to multi-task!

– Remember to take breaks. Drawing for long periods without taking breaks can lead to hand cramps, so be sure to take short 5-minute rests when needed.

– Find others who want to learn to draw (in person or online). You can motivate each other and share tips, techniques, etc.

How-to-Draw-Faster.

Conclusion

Drawing faster doesn’t have to be complicated. There’s nothing more frustrating than spending hours on a piece and not finishing it because you ran out of time.

Just remember drawing fast is all about practice- the more you do it, the better your skills will get!

If you are wondering how to draw faster, these 21 tips will certainly help you speed up your sketching skills!

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