That is a pretty great question. Right now, the thing that worries me most in my art creation process is my self-perceived lack of speed. Someone who is able to sketch fast benefits from a number of advantages over artists who are slower. Particularly, since they can create a greater number of drawings in the same time, they get more practice during that time, and so improve faster, and part of that improvement is put into more speed. It all builds up over time, you see.
It is true that art shouldn’t be rushed, but there is a difference between rushing and being efficient. The speed I talk of is equivalent to efficiency, and achieving efficiency means that wasted operations should be minimized. This march towards efficiency is a two-front effort: on the one side, the artist’s workflow should be optimized for the creative task in hand, and on the other side, the artist should strive to achieve maximum precision in their gestures, in order to minimize time-consuming do-overs.
Focusing on the precision front brings us back to some of the most basic and primordial abilities associated with artists: a good mental catalog, complete mind visualization capacity and fine motor control.
I’m pretty poor on all of those. They can be trained, of course, but I feel that the effectiveness of such training is quite low on someone who started as late as me, and who is self-taught. That does not mean that I won’t keep on working on it, of course. I will get better. Certainly not enough to catch up on the speed aspect to those who trained since their young age, but the asymptotical nature of artistic skill makes me more optimistic regarding the rest. Since the last 10% towards mastery take up 90% of the artist’s time, I’ll be very happy if I can get 5% behind the big guys in the long run. :)
I believe that my main strengths in terms of basic artistic abilities are a strongly defined aesthetic sense, a good capacity for reverse engineering visual effects, and detection and correction of flaws, mistakes and deviations. Just in case you were wondering about that. ;)