How to deal with works taking longer than desirable?

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  1. #1
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    How to deal with works taking longer than desirable?

    I enjoy making a piece for about one to two hours.
    When it takes me three or four hours I strive forward mechanically.
    When I need to spend more than 4 hours I do not enjoy making the piece.

    Lately the complexity of the things I am making is increasing.
    The time I need to invest in each piece is more and more.
    And this does not suit me because I stop enjoying making the drawing.

    What do you do to make sure you finish work within time you are comfortable with?
    How do you setup work such that concepts do not "inflate" in complexity?
    What kind of work process can I use to still create finished pieces that I like within short time frame?

    The heights by great men reached and kept,
    Were not attained by sudden flight,
    For they, while they companions slept,
    Were toiling upwards in the night"

    (Henry Wadsworth)
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  3. #2
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    You just push through man, the more complex the drawings of course its gonna take longer, come on... And 4 hours is nothing haha, I wish stuff took me that much time to finish. But anyways, I guess you could practice for the purpose of getting faster, try to use photo textures, custom brushes, filters or whatever you can find to finish faster.

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  4. #3
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    I depends on your goals. If you want to be pro, you just take as long as it takes until it looks good enough. But of course it takes a lot longer when you're learning. Once you've developed the knowledge and got some experience things start to get faster again - in the words of Dave Sim (creator of Cerebus) first you get good, then you get fast, then you get good and fast.

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  5. #4
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    Don't take what i say as any kind of truth - i am *just* starting out, but i've been reading a bit about time spent on a piece since it made me curious - especially for digital.

    Needless to say, many of the pro artists that i admire spent days and sometimes weeks on a singular piece. In the case of one artist i heard about (Cryptcrawler) i even heard him quoting months once or twice (don't take my word on that though).

    In short...it takes the time it takes - at least that's what i aim for. But if its not fun, you take a break .

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  6. #5
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    For me, I do not aim to learn painting, but rather to do painting. Improving is important to me but it is definitely a secondary goal. Continuing to output paintings is my first goal and I am doing it against having a limited reserve of attention span and desire.

    which is why I am asking what I am asking. Because when I paint a centaur and suddenly it becomes an epic piece with 10 characters, 2 different backgrounds and perspective it's basically the picture turning from "oh boy i can have fun painting while I listen to this record" to "oh god do I really have to do another pass on the background?"

    For me - a work process where I put on a 2 records and output a piece while they play is sustainable. I end up thinking about what I painted, wanting to work more on it, and coming back to the painting to tweak details and play around with it (=learn). A work process where I need to return to a piece multiple times and progress in stages, is not. Because what happens there is that I just want to put the piece behind me and just trash it somewhere even if it isn't finished.

    Which is why I really want to setup the way I work in a way that I do mostly short pieces.

    Last edited by Amir0; April 11th, 2014 at 04:23 PM.
    The heights by great men reached and kept,
    Were not attained by sudden flight,
    For they, while they companions slept,
    Were toiling upwards in the night"

    (Henry Wadsworth)
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  7. #6
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    Ok, I get it. This site is really like a boot camp for people trying to become pros, so there's a strong emphasis on work ethic and realism, and most people here won't relate to what you're talking about. But if you just want to keep cranking 'em out and don't care if they come out looking realistic or not, then just don't let them get too complicated. One or two figures in a simple environment. In fact a lot of illustrators who do paperback covers will use really simple environments because the final image is going to be quite small and too much detail would kill the impact of it, so Frazetta and a lot of the 60's/70's heroic fantasy artists would make misty amorphous backgrounds without any detail. Then the focus is just on the figure.

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  9. #7
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    Set intermediate goals. Break down the big picture into stages, areas, figures etc. Work on each one, and stop at once when you begin to do it mechanically. Switch to checking that everything clicks together, then go back to working on the next part.

    Also, treat preliminary work as distinct pictures. E.g. a composition sketch, a lighting study, an anatomy study are all pictures in their own right, with their own goals and approaches. The final picture should then be a synthesis of all preliminary ones.

    Also, you can switch between several works in parallel. Work two hours on one, then two hours on another, etc.

    Also, learn to enjoy the process itself. You can find a lot of room for creative decision making even in seemingly routine things.

    And be aware that making anything beyond a quick doodle you NEED more than two hours. The bigger the size, the higher the complexity, the longer it takes.

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  11. #8
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    If you don't want to spend a long time on a piece, don't make complex pieces. You'll get faster and more efficient with practice, but there is a limit to what you can do in a particular amount of time. If you only want to spend 4 hours max per piece, plan each piece to only take 4 hours or less.

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  12. #9
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    Pro or amateur? If you're an amateur and intend to stay that way, do whatever the heck you feel like doing. Amateurs rule.

    If you're a pro, grit your teeth and do what you have to do and maybe take different kinds of commissions in future, if you can.

    I was once on the receiving end of a critique so savagely nasty, I marched straight out of class to the office and changed my major (sketchbook).
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  13. #10
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    plan each piece to only take 4 hours or less.
    how to do?

    The heights by great men reached and kept,
    Were not attained by sudden flight,
    For they, while they companions slept,
    Were toiling upwards in the night"

    (Henry Wadsworth)
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  14. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Amir0 View Post
    how to do?
    Well, you have to time yourself. How long does it take you to draw a figure? Let's say that takes 1 hour (I'm just throwing around numbers here). 1 hour/figure means you can have an image with one figure and spend the other 3 hours on the background and props or you can have 2 figures with 2 hours for the rest of the image, etc. Figure out what you can do in 4 hours, and only plan that much stuff per image.

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