How can I paint some­thing that looks pro­fes­sional with a min­i­mal amount of de­tail?

David Charles, US

ImagineFX - - Imagine Nation Artist Q&A -

An­swer

Tony replies

Ev­ery once in a while, I’ll re­ceive an emer­gency email from a client ask­ing if I can paint some­thing for them in a day or two. It can be dif­fi­cult to squeeze these as­sign­ments into my sched­ule, but over time I’ve de­vel­oped a short­hand that can shave hours off of my process for just such a sit­u­a­tion. So whether it’s for an on­line con­test that ends this week, or an as­sign­ment for school or col­lege, these tips should help you meet that dead­line with (a bit of) time to spare.

Ev­ery­thing from thumb­nails to sketch stays rel­a­tively the same, but you need to be even more mind­ful of sil­hou­ettes than nor­mal. Con­dens­ing your story or por­trait into a hand­ful of de­scrip­tive shapes is your first step in cut­ting down on draw­ing time.

A well-painted cen­tre of in­ter­est can carry an en­tire com­po­si­tion, so don’t skimp on what­ever is your most im­por­tant el­e­ment. In this piece it’s the woman in the cen­tre, so she’s re­ceiv­ing more at­ten­tion than any other area. Con­sider pulling back on in­te­rior de­tails as you move away from the fo­cal point.

Colour is a com­plex beast, but if you go into a paint­ing with the goal of only us­ing a small slice of the colour wheel, this will save time. You may no­tice that the back­ground struc­tures in my il­lus­tra­tion are all con­nected into one large shape, as are the leaves on each side. As al­ways, save your high­est con­trast­ing shapes and val­ues for the main fo­cus.

Your over­all aim is to cre­ate fewer op­tions for yourself. If you can stream­line the think­ing process, less time will be spent de­bat­ing what needs to be done next. While the idea for the piece in gen­eral is to min­imise draw­ing, you’re still go­ing to want to de­scribe the fo­cal point.

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