The day that I originally wrote this article was something of a tired and busy day. What this meant was that I didn’t really have as much time or energy to make daily art as usual. Still, the night before, I’d prepared some rather generic line art for a landscape painting (but, I fell asleep before adding paint to it).
Still, realising that I didn’t have time to start a new painting, I realised that I had to do something with this line art. It had to be quicker and easier than adding paint (and waiting for it to dry etc..), but it also had to be better than just adding the line art itself to the daily art post that I was preparing for January. So, I just scanned the line art and added colour, shading and a background to it digitally. It actually turned out relatively well, here’s a preview:
But, I wasn’t always this good at making “lazy” art or this confident about it. So, why am I now (and how can you be) ?
1) Keep a schedule: Keeping a regular art schedule with an almost religious level of devotion is, ironically, one of the best ways to learn how to make “lazy” art well. Because you’ll have days when you aren’t inspired but you still have to make art, this will force you to come up with ways to make original paintings with relatively little thought or effort.
It’ll teach you things like creating the illusion of detail, using clever lighting to shroud large areas of the picture in darkness (in a way that looks good) to cut down on painting time, how to take inspiration properly etc.. In other words, keeping a strict practice schedule actually comes in handy when you need to make a “lazy” piece of art.
In addition to this, keeping a regular art schedule will teach you how to make art quickly. It’ll teach you how to make a vaguely decent-looking piece of art within the space of a couple of hours (or less). Knowing how to make ok-looking art quickly can come in handy if time, energy or inspiration is an issue.
2) Multiple mediums: Although I have a preferred art medium (eg: a mixture between watercolour pencil painting, drawing and digital image editing), I have a basic knowledge of a couple of similar mediums. Namely monochrome B&W artwork (like this) and some rudimentary digital art skills learnt from my image editing experience.
Knowing how to use a couple of art mediums, even if they’re fairly similar, can be absolutely invaluable when you have to make a “lazy” piece of art. Since having multiple options available to you will allow you to instantly choose the “quickest” or “easiest” one and then focus more time and effort on actually making art.
3) Use what you’ve got: This one is fairly self-explanatory but, if you’re making a “lazy” piece of art, then no effort should be wasted. So, if you’ve got an old failed painting or an unfinished piece of artwork or even an unused idea, then use it.
Likewise, if you’re well-practiced at one type of art, then make that type of art (eg: this is one reason why a lot of my more recent “uninspired” paintings have been cyberpunk paintings. Since this is a genre I can pretty much paint in my sleep). It’ll be easier and it’ll look better too, thanks to all of your previous practice.
4) Know the theory: The difference between a good and bad piece of “lazy” art can often come down to how much the artist knows about the theory of art. This includes things like knowing where to add shadows and shading, how to use different types of perspective, knowing which types of compositions work well, having a basic understanding of what complementary colours are etc…
For example, one of the things I’ve been focusing on over the past year or two is getting better at choosing colours in my art. So, when it came to making the “lazy” digitally-edited drawing at the beginning of this article, I was able (after a little experimentation) to make the colours look like something from a modern 1980s-style album cover or an old comic book. In terms of the colour scheme, I went for a very slight variation on the classic red/green/blue one. Likewise, I also tried to add as much realistic shading as I could to the picture too.
A couple years ago, I probably wouldn’t have known how to do this and the picture would probably be a clashing mess of colours and/or just a series of boring “realistic” colours. Likewise, the lack of proper shading would have made it look much more “rushed” and “undetailed” too. So, yes, theory and knowledge can make a lot of difference!
Anyway, I hope that this was useful 🙂