August 3rd, 2011 | filed in News

20-Minute Timed Master Studies

Ghost in the Shell sources

Back in May, I started up an experiment at the urging of my friend Shogun at the Humble School of Arts & Music. I’ve long known that one the skills I wanted to improve was my drawing speed. Over the past year, I’ve been working on speeding up the production process for Paradigm Shift by pushing towards tighter deadlines. While this has succeeded in increasing my productivity, it also caused some of my work to suffer a subtle degradation. When combined with working at a smaller page size my ink work was getting tighter and more careful and losing some life in the process. More troubling was the work was beginning to drift away from its roots, and my enthusiasm began to wane.

When I brought these challenges to my friend, he suggested something completely counter-intuitive: a daily drawing study that would add to my workload. Harkening back to my art school years, he proposed a series of master studies, looking at a favorite, influential manga artist and executing a timed, daily drawing to test my skills and force myself to work more quickly.

Here are the rules:

  1. 1. Create a reference sheet based on Masamune Shirow’s Ghost in the Shell, creating two sheets of 20 images each, 1 page of female characters, 1 page of male.
  2. 2. Every day, create two drawings: the first would a copy of the master’s work, the second a riff on the first, drawing one of my own characters in the style of the master.
  3. 3. The Catch: each drawing must take less than 20 minutes, 10 minutes to pencil and 10 minutes to ink. Use a timer. If I run out of time, I must simply stop.

Timed Master Studies

I was skeptical at first. However, I accepted the challenge and dove in headfirst. It is now nearly three months since I started the experiment, and I’ve been delighted with the results. My pages are getting easier to pencil and faster to ink, and better yet, they look fantastic. The ink looks more alive, and I’m enjoying the work again.

At any rate, I’ll be posting the results of my daily work here as a part of the Daily Art series, starting from the beginning. Keep an eye out and see how the work progresses.

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