Master the art of Speed Painting: Digital Painting Techniques

REVIEW: Leading concept artists demonstrate the essential art of speed painting, with tips and insight to help you work faster.

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Our Verdict

Packed with plenty of advice from a wealth of leading pro artists, Master the Art of Speed Painting: Digital Techniques is an invaluable resource that will make you work faster.


  • Insightful painting projects by experts
  • Explanatory workflows
  • Detailed digital art tutorial

No matter how great your concept art is, studios and creative directors will only employ you if you can deliver to a deadline. And for many, that means learning to create high-quality work, faster.

Speed painting is a useful technique to help you achieve this. And so this comprehensive instructional guide offers a ton of tips and walkthroughs aimed at improving your speed painting skills, for both would-be artists and industry pros.

Following a foreword by celebrated concept artist Noah Bradley, this 258-page book kicks off with two step-by-step lessons in technique. Marcin Rubinkowski explains how he makes custom brushes for creating environments quickly, showcasing his technique by creating a futuristic industrial scene. Then it’s the turn of Ioan Dumitrescu, who demonstrates how to use photobashing to create a weapon design.

Working to a 30-minute deadline, Massimo Porcella produced this sci-fi scene

Then it’s on to the real meat: the painting projects, 25 in total. These come from leading pro artists and are categorised by time taken: 10, 30, 60 or 120 minutes, respectively. Happily for ImagineFX readers, most of the subjects are sci-fi or fantasy themed, although the techniques involved are universal and can be applied to all kinds of art genres.

James Paick establishes a fantasy ice world in an hour using a mix of photo textures and painting techniques. Noely Ryan explains the process behind his monster concept for a firstperson shooter, fashioned in just two hours. Alex Olmedo takes the same time to create a futuristic cityscape using photobashing, as does Wadim Kashin for his sci-fi coastline, using an unconventional digital painting technique. Massimo Porcella designs a Mars factory in 60 minutes using textures, colour and structural shapes.

Alex Olmedo took the opportunity to marry his speed painting techniques with a painterly feel

And there’s plenty more besides, with contributions from Katy Grierson, Sung Choi, Jesper Friis, Florian Aupetit, Stephanie Cost, Danilo Lombardo and Ian Jun Wei Chiew. Each project is packed with explanatory screenshots and the kind of workflow advice and insider tips only a pro artist can offer.

The book is rounded off with a real treat: a 14-page tutorial from Thomas Scholes. This talented artist shares the hows and whys of his digital painting process and workflow in detail, from how to develop your artistic muscle memory to making repetitive use of objects and props in your asset library. 

Whether you follow each tutorial and tip meticulously, dip in and out, or just enjoy the imaginative concept art, this is a great way to kick-start (or reignite) your enthusiasm for speed painting.

This article was originally published in ImagineFX magazine issue 140.

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The Verdict


out of 10

Master the art of Speed Painting: Digital Painting

Packed with plenty of advice from a wealth of leading pro artists, Master the Art of Speed Painting: Digital Techniques is an invaluable resource that will make you work faster.


Tom May is a freelance writer and editor specialising in design and technology. He was previously associate editor at Creative Bloq and deputy editor at net magazine, the world's best-selling magazine for web designers. Over two decades in journalism he's worked for a wide range of mainstream titles including The Sun, Radio Times, NME, Heat, Company and Bella.