Speed painting is an artistic technique where the artist has a limited time to finish the work. The time can vary, usually a duration is set from several minutes to a few hours. Unlike sketches, speed paintings may be considered "finished" after the time limit is up- it is generally accepted among painters that if a piece is altered after the allotted time, it can no longer be truly considered a speedpainting.
Speed painting is particularly common among digital media artists, because digital painting mediums allow for a work to circumvent drying times of traditional media. Digital media artists primarily use speed painting to practice working quickly and efficiently. Speed painting techniques are also frequently used in concept art, particularly in the early stages of a production when the polish of an individual image matters less than a clear basic presentation of many candidate concepts for consideration.
Speedpainted pieces both digital and traditional are considered by artists to be an excellent exhibition of the subjective skill of a painter, as the time constraint requires efficient rendering of form and detail and a deep understanding of their chosen medium to capture a complete, strong image, and leaves little time for noticing and correcting mistakes.
In the past few years, the term "speedpaint" has also come to be known as a single session of a visual art program, usually sped up and set to music, showing an artwork quickly made within the program.
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