What Is Speed Painting All About?

Posted on 18. Jan, 2010 by in Articles

I am creating this article after receiving many questions about how i go about creating my own speed paintings. For those of you who don’t know, i’ve created many successful videos that recieved high ratings and views on YouTube (You can check my channel here at http://www.youtube.com/user/AshrafArtwork). I will tell you all about my experiences with speed paintings and what are the misconceptions that people have about them. The speed paintings discussed here is the process of creating your artwork digitally. By digitally i mean using the computer. Whether you use a graphic tablet (recommended) or even a mouse, digital speed paintings are created by using an external device that is connected directly to your computer. Speed paintings that are done using real tools (such as pencil,paper,canvas etc..) is a whole different story. Lets begin…


People make a big hassle about the software.  To be honest with you guys, i personally believe that Photoshop is the BEST when it comes to quality and efficiency. It doesn’t really matter what kind of software you use as long as you have a decent application where you can adjust colors,layers and artistic tools (artistic tools such as smudging and dodging for example). Choose a software that would help you create the artwork YOU want to create. Guys, don’t forget that the main goal here is to actually make a great piece artwork and what you are doing is just recording the process of it. Imagine someone watching a speed painting video that is 3 minutes long and then the final results are bad? Then the whole video is rated badly! A good speed painting is rated about the quality of the final piece. People don’t care whether you followed the ‘correct procedures’ of creating an artwork or not, its not a test. Every artist has a different approach in creating his/her own final piece so don’t change the way you create an artwork . Draw like you draw naturally!


Before you start anything, you have to record it. We don’t use cameras or any external accessories to record off the screen (misconception), we use an internal recording software. You would want this software to record what you are doing in high quality AND save it in minimal disk space. Lets say your artwork takes 3 to 4 hours to create, you would then want a software that would record all this time and save in minimal disk space. I prefer to use a software called ‘Camtasia’ recorder. For me 3 to 4 hours with Camtasia would be around 700MB of disk space which I’m alright with. That is why i would really recommend that your computer would have a high disk space (minimum 100GB to be in the safe side). Regardless of what recorder you have, MAKE SURE that it has the function to choose the region of your painting window. We don’t want our recorder to record the whole screen because people are not interested in looking at your tools as much as they want to focus on the process of your work itself. With Camtasia, as soon as i click the Record button, i highlight the window in Photoshop that i draw in and then i start painting. I prefer to always stop every 30 minutes and create a new region and continue on because if your computer froze, you wouldn’t want to loose everything (that way your process is saved on many different files). Always test different recording softwares and try a sample of drawing for 2 minutes and then see what movie size has been created. Make sure that you are not filling your disk space or else your computer will crash.


After you have finished your artwork, you should have lets say four video files saved from your recorder and your final photoshop artwork file. Now, you would have to combine all four movies and picture in a movie editing software to fast forward it or ‘speed it up’. For windows user, you can use Windows Movie Maker and for Mac users you can go ahead and use iMovie (both are great Free softwares). Just import your videos in it and then speed them up to a range from 3 to 5 minutes. Add music that is nearly as close to your timing of your video (it sucks when the video is over and the music is not). Guys, don’t forget that speed paintings should be FAST (hence speed paintings). People don’t want to sit and watch endless artworks being done forever, because they are partly interested in the final result too. You would want your final exported video to be between 3 to 5 minutes and not more than 30mb (assuming that you are going to upload your video on YouTube).

People use different softwares but i find the softwares mentioned above produce good quality for the smallest disk space. I know people who create speed paintings using Microsoft Paint! You gotta be true to yourself and use a software that you are comfortable using when you naturally create your own artwork. Remember, if your final result sucks, no one would care if you made it in Paint or in Photoshop. Same goes if your artwork looks brilliant. Bottom line is, use a software you have full control off and enjoy speed painting :)


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11 comments on “What Is Speed Painting All About?

  1. okay now i know ´bout the gear, thanks a lot^^

  2. how do i get the colors of my picture sharp? after i smudge the lines it looks more like a water color painting than a realistic portrait

  3. Heyy Appeal17! Well, the way you smudge your painting is very important. In most cases, try not to smudge edges. Its very important that you keep your edges sharp because its that what gives the painting a sharp look (unless you want otherwise). Also, be very specific about what brush tool you use. There are many brush styles and it depends what you are actually trying to smudge (example, skin has a preferred brush style). Try giving us more information about what you are doing and how you want it to look. Good luck!

  4. i´m talking especially about drawing skin. when i try to do the highlights and shadows and smudge them to make it look real, it rather looks undefined or, as i said, like a water color painting. same goes for eyes or details of the face in general.
    guess you should know that i use “spray” functions when i fill my sketches with color and not the brushes. should i switch to brushes?

  5. Its all about brush styles when it comes to painting skin. Make sure that you choose a brush that looks sprayed like. The wave-sample of the brush should look sprayed. You gotta experiment with the different brushes till you find the perfect one… good luck

  6. I am looking into doing some speed paintings to post on youtube. I’ve never done it before. I actually just got interested in doing it upon discovering this very site. I am looking into downloading Camtasia for this purpose. I really don’t know much about it or how it works yet. Just one question. When you have decided on a piece to do and are ready to record, should the piece be done in one sitting no matter how long it takes to do it physically?

  7. Hey Sean. When you are recording your speed painting with Camtasia, you will have two options – either to pause or to Stop the recording. When drawing your speed painting, it’s always good to STOP every hour or so, so that the clip would be saved – and then start another one. This is done so that if the recording freezes, or lets say you ran out of hard disk space, then you wouldn’t loose all the video file. That is why we recommend you to stop the recording every hour or so and then start a new recording.
    You don’t have to complete the painting all in one session. Sometimes when i stop camtasia, i would take a little rest and then start a new recording. It’s really up to you, but its better to leave the painting and come back to it with a ‘fresh eye’. That way you could immediately realize any mistakes in the painting. Good luck ;)

  8. Thank you very much for the input.

  9. im 12 so speak slowly..
    1. how do you speed paint?
    2. what are some good free sites that i can speedpaint on?
    i want to make videos and im a talented drawler…. soooooo tell me please. thank you-
    sincerly a confused child…..

  10. In the article above I described the software and hardware needed, If you have any questions about them ask :) . The best place to upload your speed paintings would be YouTube because of the amount of exposure. Good Luck

  11. Great share, lots of good tips for perfecting capturing the work to present it on video. I am very interested in speed painting videos and have followed your work, I also found this recent round up on speed drawing: http://www.real.com/resources/speed-drawing-videos

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