I have to agree with D Akey, in that knowing the program you are using is an essential to producing a good product. Simple tricks picked up through trial an error of use can really make the difference in the outcome. But this aside, there are a few tricks that I have picked up which may help you out, and can be done using the free Starter Addition (but for $25 US you really should think about just buying the full edition, since it's just an absolutely amazing program). So here are some tips:
- You can't use layers, so you'll have to do with just the one, so make sure to plan ahead by having a set idea in mind.As an example, I used these methods on the following image using only the Oil Paint, Pencil, and Crayon tools on a single layer.
- You can't use reference images in the Started Edition, so I'd recomend importing the image in and then expanding the canvas so you can have it off to the side of where you plan to work.
- Since you're in a hurry, you may want to try and use the Load Tracing Image option to get a jump start on getting the composition of the figure down, or even lay down some of the blocking in for the paint.
- The Starter Edition only lets you use the flat edge palette knife, so getting a smooth blend can often be troublesome. If you need to smear the paint, try setting the paper grain option for the layer to something smooth ("roughness = 0%), like the "Cell" preset paper setting, and then use the crayon (pressing lightly). The crayon will add a bit of the color you have selected, but at the same time will smear with the colors you are drawing over.