The illustrative struggle journal #5

This week I am rather struggling with the question: Am I fast enough?
Being creative and making good looking artwork I should not forget the commercial aspect of my job. I do have to find balance in quality and quantity. Of course I would love to make extremely detailed drawings all the time and I am doing this for my mystery book project. But I can't do this for posters all the time. So what are important factors when talking about improving your speed?

Technical aspects.

I can't say this enough, keep working on your technical skills! Don't listen to anyone who dares to say that you have to look for other options when you can't draw it. Feed your urge to learn anatomy, perspective, colors, composition and whatever more you need to learn.
Keep on challenging yourself, and be critical on what you are doing. Seek other artists who tell you how to improve yourself and don't just sit around. I try to do a study every day and I take my time to look at what I am doing. When you learn how to draw things and understand how shapes work things are going to look a lot better and you can draw, paint, sculpt all of this a lot faster since you did things before. We walked a different road then most people. It is not like we put a lot of knowledge from books in our brains and under stand it and then when we finished our school we know most of the stuff and we suddenly we can do our job. We know that there is something like illustration when we graduate at best! This is the moment where we can explore and learn everything! It took me years before I dared to call myself a professional illustrator. I still think there is enough to improve and the proof lies in my portfolio. I know there are things changing and getting better every drawing and I can happily see this over time.

Be real with yourself, know where the joints are and you can make a figure move without him or her looking like a sausage with some weird sausage limbs on it. When you know how to position this figure in a certain environment then you are closer to your story. When you know how to draw all these elements you are way faster at making the real deal. The more you do it the faster you get.
Color study.
Model study

Model study

Knowing where you get your knowledge. (BOOKZ!!!)

It is hard to start looking for good information. There are a lot of books who (kind of) learn you how to draw.  But most books are not complete enough or just bad. To be honest I don't believe in those modern day books about how to draw horses or elves or whatever. Lets go old school for this!
Below you can read about some of my biggest heroes, real heroes in art!


Yes of course, if you haven't heard of him you should run to your nearest art store and ask for his books. His complete guide to drawing from life is one of the most important things to everyone who wants to draw humans. Don't think you can get away with something like "but it is my style to draw disfigured cartoons" or "I don't want to draw realistic figures" These are the basics. Bridgman will learn you how to draw things even when you draw cartoons. When you are drawing you need a base where you work form. This base is not copying manga or anime, this is drawing from life. Those manga and anime artists really know how to draw, believe me. 

Therefore, Learn to draw the hard way. It is quite hard to understand what is happening in this book. But when you discovered the mindset an entire world will open right before you.
This book shows you how build up your figures and how to work with balance and gesture and even how folds and therefore clothes work on a human body. For the hardcore artists among us. Try to get this book!

Andrew Loomis

Loomis, aah yes loomis. Maybe this is something more for the artists who don't feel Bridgman. Andrew Loomis is one of those artists who takes you by the hand and walks with you through the world of drawing step by step. He discribes the possible mistakes you can make so you don't have to make them. And he was a true painter. Where Bridgman works from lines and drawing, Loomis is working with a mindset towards surfaces. There are little fields where a bit of light falls upon.
This is a good thing to work through. He is nothing less than Bridgman! but I prefer Bridgman more because of the line work. Still I grabbed Loomis to understand volume more and where light falls upon and how to see things in perspective. These two books work perfectly well together.

Muddy Colors

Aah modern days and something that is on this very site. Muddy Colors. This is a blog you should read so now and then. You don't have a clue how much you can learn just by looking at other artists and analysis by artists about the old masters. I am not going to say anything more about this, just look for yourself. It is fun to read and always interesting. 

There are more artists and boos where you can learn from but I leave it with this because I don't want to get too deep into this matter. If you like I could write a whole entry about this. Please do comment below if you want me to.

Know what you are doing!

To work faster you have to have a certain procedure to walk through. I know it sounds boring but there are stages you have to go through like everything in life. You can't wake up, pee and get up out of bed. That is the wrong order too and therefore a mess.
First step you have to take is to know what you are going to draw. Read your clients wishes damn good. Then make the sketches so you are sure about what you are going to show your client.
Second step (when needed), do your experiments. Know for sure it is going to work and send this pre production to your client. When they think it is great do it for real.
Third step, work in the right order. make the pencil lines then the inking and then the digital part. Well that is how I do this. Don't go back and forth to discover problems on your way. That is only going to delay you. Just know what you are going to draw before you start on your final design. Be sure about everything.

Illustration Magazine Vooys


Before you even start to draw, please know what you are going to do this day. When you are just going to start and see whatever happens, it would be most likely that nothing really is going to happen. I am not saying everyone is like that but I surly am. I am the type two illustrator. The one that collects everything. Type one is that extremely organized person in his or her white and clean room with clean lines and organized workspace without any ink stains.
But both types do have to make sure they have a schedule. There are books that help you with this form of self discipline who help you with that and I wrote about this in December last year.


I know all of this, why am I still insecure about my speed? I don't know, maybe because I have a shitload of ideas in my head I want to visualize. Maybe because I have the idea I am not good enough and I have to practice a lot more or maybe because I am just a impatient bastard. I can't sit still at all. That is why I am working about seven days a week for at least 10 hours a day.
I don't really know why but I still think I am a bit slow at making my drawings. It takes about a day to finish a normal drawing from sketch to finish and about two, sometimes three days to finish a very detailed drawing with a lot of figures and weird things happening in them. I think that is rather slow but then again, they are detailed drawings with a lot of technical problems I have to solve. So the complexity is equal to the time it takes to finish it. I am not drawing a bird for a magazine or a sign, or a fast and smart illustration for a newspaper. So maybe that is more it. I hear people producing up to three illustrations a day! I can't imagine how fast or skilled those persons are! I don't know if that is really true or it is just me misjudging my own speed. It would be nice to see some comments about this from you fellow artists.
The thing is, I don't make that much money yet. So that would probably be the biggest reason. I want to keep on producing on a high level of quality as fast as possible to prove the world I am good enough for whatever they need. I know they need me, I just need to convince them.

I hope you liked this ramble about speed in illustration. I am not a concept artist who works as fast as you see in those speed paintings, that is a nice conclusion.

Hope you are back this sunday to read about the next inspirational artist!

Kind regards,



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