What Is Speed Painting?

Speed painting is a technique for painting in a computer graphics program in a short period of time. This type of digital art is typically created without a preliminary sketch and with only a rough idea of how the final image will look. Successful speed painters employ traditional drawing techniques that are then applied to digital illustration. Some computer art pieces also include a time-lapsed video capture of the process from start to finish, which artists frequently use to demonstrate their speed painting abilities on the Internet.

Digital illustration packages as well as more comprehensive image editing programs commonly used in digital photography are examples of software programs used for speed painting. Digital artists with a lot of experience recommend a program with at least a few options for electronic brush sizes, shapes, and pressure levels. A speed painter can create more intricate finished pieces of computer art with a wider variety of brush options. Some of these computer graphics programs are open source and free to download; these programs are typically recommended for beginners to this type of electronic art. Other software options include proprietary brands that are frequently used professional digital artists.

One of the characteristics that distinguishes speed painting is a set time limit. For many experienced artists who consider themselves traditional speed painters, these limits can range from three to eight minutes on average. Some digital artists choose one of their favorite songs and paint it while it is playing, with the subject matter sometimes being a portrait of the musician who is singing it. This style of speed painting is frequently referred to as “fan art.”

Instead of a time limit, another variation of this digital art form uses video capture. Artists finish a painting in their preferred art software program and use a recording program to record every movement they make on the computer monitor screen. They frequently take as many hours or days as they want to complete a project. Once the electronic painting is finished, the video can be sped up in an editing program to make it appear as if it was completed in a matter of minutes. Although these art videos are popular for online sharing, some digital art purists believe that because there is no time limit, this method does not qualify as true speed painting.