I would try to avoid using lines or sticks as a model, based on the fact that the principle of animation is all about weight and movement, not just movement. *then there is timing*
But in the end its what ever you are most confy with, There really is no wrong way to do it as long as the end result is what you want.
Now for time issues, You may just want to keep practicing, as you start to animate more you will notice your speed picks up, If not you can run some drills to help speed yourself up.
If you want to do some speed drills its simple, Just take something you animated.
say a 20 second clip. think how long that took you. and then how many frames it was.
Now try to do a new animation of something new, with the same amount of frames (dont reuse any) and try to shave off some time.
repeat this and try shave off about 10 min each time until you find good medium.
try not to rush to fast to the point your project looks horrible.
eventually you will find your confert zone of time+quality.
Then you can try to improve on one of those 2 factors later.