Right now, I am drawing realistic detailed human cartoon characters for my video game (For example, like XCOM Chimera’s character portraits, but full-body pictures), but am unhappy with how many hours it takes to create each character.

I’ve looked up how to draw faster, and learned that to get faster, I need to practice drawing within a time limit but I want to do so without sacrificing quality.

It would be helpful for me to know how long it takes for professionals/experts to draw realistic human cartoon characters so I have a tangible time limit goal to aim towards.

I understand that professionals work under time constraints and that there is a range between artists. I am asking: what realistic time limit(s) (or range of time limits) do professional artists set for them when they are creating characters for their employers?

For a drawing that is:

  • digital
  • fully-colored
  • fully-detailed (including clothing, buttons, details etc.)
  • picture of the whole body (not just torso)
  • realistic (For example, XCOM Chimera's portraits)
  • used for cutout animation in a video-game

How long does it take experts for:

  • Each whole character?

  • The 3 main sections:

    • Each face?

    • Each body’s top half?

    • Each body’s bottom half?

  • Any additional suggestions on speeding up drawing while minimizing sacrificing quality are also welcome. Thank you!

  • Seaside/carnival caricaturist, 3 minutes, Roy Lichtenstein 18 months.
    – Tetsujin
    Commented Dec 22, 2022 at 19:16
  • Realistically, the time it takes anyone to do anything is really never an accurate estimation for anyone else. Everyone gets faster with practice and some people simply work faster inherently.
    – Scott
    Commented Dec 22, 2022 at 20:22
  • Thank you both for your comments. Hopefully, the more I practice, the faster I can get, though as Tetsujin states, it depends on the quality/style I am aiming towards. Happy Holidays. Commented Dec 23, 2022 at 3:08

1 Answer 1


I am not answering the main question. This is opinion based.

Depends on the style, experience, size, technique, or skills, among a ton of other things I can think of. Is the character new? Is it of the same style of the artist? How dynamic are the poses? and a big etc.

I can only give you a few tips.

Prepare a 3D model, to give you the pose, framing and basic shading. It does not need to be detailed.

Prepare custom paletes. Limit the number of colors you use.

Prepare some gallery of assets. Brushes? Grids? Palettes? Poses?

And the final tip. Do not compare yourself to other people. Compare yourself to what and how are you doing today and compare it to what you did yesterday.

  • Thank you for the advice! Commented Dec 23, 2022 at 2:54

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