How to Art with Limited Time by sonderjen

Be sure to waste lots of time writing journals instead of working for your paying clients!

But really, I've noticed a bunch of people in various places online whining about whether or not they should completely give up on their art because work or school takes up all of their free time, and I've had to deal with a LOT of that in the last three months and for the foreseeable future. I have a solution though - you have to think small and not take every single idea you have into completion. I would VERY MUCH like to work on nothing but Chit-Chat and Laika comics right now, but comics take a shitload of time that I objectively don't have.

So, faced with this problem, I am doing the following:

Trying to sketch every day, at least a little in the small windows I get. I feel that drawing is the quickest skill to atrophy if you go too long without it.

I no longer try to complete anything in one go. Got an awesome, clear idea in your head? Sketch it out as soon as you can (or at least write the idea down), and come back to it later. You'll notice most problems right away when you get back to it anyway.

Think of your "future self" as a collaborator. They can fix all the technical problems for you as long as the most important visual information is there.

Primarily sticking to sketches, you can organize your to-do list ranked by most promising material - doing this ensures maximum interest and focus when you do get the time to finish stuff, instead of finding out halfway through an extensive piece that it's a horrible chore.

Figure out if a ton of effort is needed to make the image "work" - simple images can be just as effective as a 10 hour rendering.

Simplify your character design - does your wolfsona need exactly 63 spikes of hair, or can 8 work? Economy is a good thing anyway.

Stop refining sketches unless you really need to. It's a fucking sketch - get it out, make sure the proportions aren't horrible, and fix the little details when you ink/paint.

Attend to clients first if you're doing this for money. If you absolutely have to get an idea down before you lose it, go for it, but get back on track.

And finally, if you're a self-professed slow artist, DO SOME SPEED EXERCISES AND DON'T WORRY ABOUT THE RESULT UNLESS YOU MAKE ZERO PROGRESS AFTER A MONTH OR SO. Art is a cumulative purge - if you do it quickly, your proficiency will increase at a greater speed than if you try to make every single sketch absolutely perfect.

And I need to get back to work now :T

How to Art with Limited Time


11 November 2014 at 15:55:03 MST

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    But what if you're not drawing as much just because you have alot of free time and have gotten incredibly lazy because of it? That's my situation right now. :(

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      That was my situation before I lost all of my free time!

      I don't know what to say other than the old bootstraps thing. Figure out some way to put a fire under you to work, or go somewhere random - something to get you more interested in doing something than doing nothing.

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    These are good pointers.

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    I applaud that rather than 'ugh just stop whining' you give constructive, practical advice from your own experience.

    I'm in the same place (long hours and long commute) so I hope I can take this on board (even if it's for other pursuits than furry art

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      ... - it seems applicable to many spare-time ventures).

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        Yeah, the principles are the same.

        You should covery more songs if you aaren't gonna draw :T

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    I love having a phone with a wacom pen (galaxy note 2, and now galaxy note 4). allows me to work on things basically anywhere, and nearly everything I draw is done in 15-30 min spurts throughout the day.

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      Same (Note3). I'll do most of my sketching on this thing, unless sitting down to do a bunch.

      This thing is my primary computer for most things :T

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        yep, all of my sketching is done on the note, and some coloring, about the only thing I don't do on it is inking, just because theres really nothing out there for android that can compare to SAI or MS5 for linework.

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          There isn't. Have you come across any good painting apps? I have infinity painter, but I'm not to big into it yet.

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            only thing I ever use is Layerpaint, since it natively saves/opens in PSD format

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              but not Layerpaint HD, which saves in .mdp

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                I've a feeling I'll be stuck with Sketchbook Pro and Infinity until someone new comes around.