The obvious way to improve your skills as an artist is practice.

But sometimes that’s not enough.

Or maybe you’d like to achieve your personal, artistic, goals a little faster.

In this post I’ll explain how to do this with an easy tactic one of my own art instructors taught me: speed drawing exercises.

The concept is simple. You use an object or a person, or a part of a person (i.e. their face, an ear, a hand, etc.) and draw it as fast and as detailed as you can. I’d recommend using a timer for this.

Cheap_donor_clock_(15384139696)The easy part is you can set the time to be as short or as long as you want. If you’re a beginner, I’d recommend something between 30 to 45 minutes. For everyone else, try no more than 15 minutes. Of course you’re not limited to any of those times, regardless of skill level (and the object you’re drawing may be difficult), but the point is you push yourself. However, there are a few things to keep in mind:

Firstly, don’t push yourself to the point you feel overwhelmed. You’re only trying to improve your skills, it’s not a contest. So pace yourself, but not too much (otherwise it wouldn’t be called ‘speed drawing’).

The second thing to remember is it doesn’t matter the outcome. Your first attempt will probably look kind of messy or unfinished and that’s ok! It will eventually get easier and the faster and the better you’ll be able to draw! I know first hand.

To be honest, I hated these exercises at first myself. But it’s probably one of the many things that I learned that really improved my skills as an artist. Even though I was pretty advanced at the time, my sketching time was practically cut in half by the time the course was over. So it may be annoying at first, but it will really pay off in the long run.


Sketch by William Trost Richards

Sketch by William Trost Richards — This probably wasn’t a timed sketch


I’d suggest doing one once a day. It doesn’t have to be long or complicated, it’s ok to start small. But don’t get so rushed that you halfheartedly slop through it and you end up never improving. If you find yourself doing this, stop. It’s better to not practice at all in this way than to practice bad habits. You’ll just end up hating yourself and hating your art.

However, if you’re serious about really improving your skills, I highly recommend it.

Remember to pay attention to detail and to really observe what you see–given the small amount of time you have. Push your limits and you’ll be surprised at how well you’ll do! You can only get better.



Let me know what you think in the comments or shoot me an email. Don’t forget to keep up with your art challenge!



I’m still trying to catch up so here’s week 12 and it’s “Illustrate your favorite song”.
I went with Deconstruct by Epica and took the more typography route. Honestly, I feel I could’ve come up with a better design that didn’t involve typography, but I just couldn’t think of anything! Let me know what you think in the comments and feel free to share your own art challenge! 🙂


My life has been crazy right now, so bear with me on the lack of posts. This was week 11 of the art challenge (which was to draw food).

I chose ice cream! Because why not? I really liked the swirly, soft, pattern of the ice cream and the texture of the cone. It was a nice contrast.

Anyway, here it is!

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Be sure to be working on your art challenge as well. I hope you’re doing better than I am 😉

Let me know what you think in the comments and I’d love to see your art challenges as well, so feel free to shoot me an email!

This week’s was a “mythical animal”. I chose a Lim-Lim from a game called Planescape: Torment.

It’s pretty awesome. You should check it out if you like video games, especially old ones.

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Look at his wittle face! ISN’T HE JUST SO CUTE??

Here’s week 9, “A fictional character”.

To be honest, I kinda cheated on this one… it was already drawn. BUT I don’t get to share it often so I thought I would. He is a fictional character after all, in a novel I’ve been planning on writing for a long time. So it totally counts.

Although I may redo this one some time.


I seem to be behind on everything lately. Story of my life I guess. But here is Week 7 of the Art Challenge. I promise I’ll post regular content soon!

“Something in your favorite color”

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Comment down below and let me know what you think! 🙂

This was week 6 (the week before last) that I forgot to post after I posted week 5. So, it’s technically done on time–I just forgot to post it. I procrastinated this last week and haven’t done week 7’s yet. But I’m working on it!


This theme was ‘my favorite animal’ which is the giant squid. I like squids in general, but specifically Architeuthis dux.


My favorite animal!

My favorite animal!

I want to start a series on anatomy because I think a lot of people are genuinely interested in the subject from both an artistic and a non-artistic perspective. Human anatomy is also one of the most difficult subjects to master. I can’t really explain why, it just is. It’s taken me many years to get to the level that I am and there are many artists who surpass me in leaps and bounds. Although I am proud of my own accomplishments, which is more important than any level of skill. shoulderandneck3
Now that I’ve probably intimidated you, let’s begin. I’m going to break these down into short, but several, lessons. That way you can learn what you want at your own pace. I’ll start this one off by talking about human anatomy as a whole.

If you’ve been following my posts, you’ll be familiar with the observing and studying I mention a lot. For this subject, it couldn’t be any more applicable. Which should be obvious, but some people seem to think that most artists just pull this out of thin air, other artists included.
Just so you know, this will probably be the most time consuming and area of most needed practice. Especially for early beginners.

I would suggest purchasing a book on anatomy. It doesn’t even have to be an art book, just get an encyclopedia or nursing book. They are a wealth of information because you’ll want to study the subject first before you start. I’m not suggesting you need to be a doctor or physical therapist, but it’s good to be at least visually familiar with everything.


Start by using a model. This could be a live model like a friend or family member. Or an inanimate one including a plain googled image on the web. Use different models too, everyone has different body types. Of course, overall the human body is about the same when it comes to placement of certain parts, but weight and height vary. I won’t get too detailed about that in this post. We’ll focus on the general placement first.


I’d take a good look at this photo in particular and I’ll break it down for you.

We’ll start with the upper body:


The head can be any shape at the beginning stage. Just so you understand the placement. So it doesn’t matter if it’s rounded or more of an oval shape. Then draw two lines representing the neck, which will be connected to a trapezoid shape (which is the chest area).


Moving on to the bottom half of the torso draw an elongated trapezoid, similar to the first one. Then attaching a triangle to that. These are the waist and hips. Since we’re using a male model, we’ll stick with a masculine physique for now. A woman’s hips will be much larger.

Continuing with the upper body, draw two small circles at the top corners of the first trapezoid for the shoulders. Like so:


Make sure they’re not too big, but not too small. You’ll also want to overlap part of the trapezoid.

The next thing you’ll want to do is draw an elongated oval, or an almond shape if you prefer, overlapping the circles you just drew. I did both:


Then, repeat the process you just did. A good indication of the length of the arm is that the elbow joint is about in the center of the waist. The ovals for the upper arm and forearms are around the same length. Of course, some people have different lengths, but overall you want it roughly even.


Remember to sketch lightly! My sketches look dark only because I purposefully darkened them for this tutorial so you could see them. Otherwise they’re hard to see. You’ll need to press lightly for the 3rd part of this tutorial.

Lastly, for this lesson anyway, we’ll add the hands. Yes, those dreaded hands!

I’m letting you in on a secret (draw a skinny hexagon!). Like so:


Congratulations!  You’re halfway there to getting the base finished!


Yes, our little man looks kind of silly. Don’t worry about him looking ‘pretty’ at this point and time, we’ll add details later. The point is to get a foundation laid out so you can build from it.

Thanks for tuning in and check back later for the other parts! (No pun intended?)