When Rainbows Vomit or Just Who is Judging This Art Show Anyway?

Hi everyone.  Today I want to discuss something that’s been sitting in my mind for a few weeks now.  I’ve uploaded a bunch of images to keep this page pretty and also to illustrate my point.  My point being that not everything I do is something that I think hard about, plan and painstaking execute to make the best I can make.  Sometimes I’m brain dead from nightshifts and too little sleep.  Sometimes I’m too stressed out to think coherently.  Sometimes I don’t want to do anything serious, I just want to break out all my pretty colours and play.  And that’s when I do the things I don’t post up on art forums or colouring groups.  This is my fun stuff, just for me, that doesn’t have to be about earning praise or meeting anyone else’s expectations.  This is the stuff you never see so, in the interests of transparency, I’m posting up some of THIS kind of work today.

My colouring books are divided into ‘Good’ books and ‘Fun’ books.  The good books are where I strive to do my best and the fun books are for everything else.  The picture above is from ‘Colour Me Calm’ ( from the ‘Really Relaxing Colouring Book series ), my go to book if I want to colour without thinking too hard about what I’m doing.  This picture started as a page to test a few new pencils and textas (markers) on but evolved into something I could throw colour on when I was in a blah kind of mood. Here are a couple more.




The second is my first attempt at using gel pens to do a ‘wall paper’ style picture… another warm up piece that required no brain power after figuring out the basic colour scheme.  The third one is still in progress.  I grab it out as a warm up page and may spend only as little as a few minutes on it at any given time.  It’s all budget priced pencils with a few basic attempts at shading and colour merging.  This is a good kind of page for practising on.

Next is a piece from Angela Porter’s Color Me Calm.  I used this to test out some new sharpie markers I had just purchased.  I wanted to colour without worrying about shading or creating some great work of art.  I just wanted half an hour of stress free fun.  This doesn’t look like anything special.  So who cares.  I enjoyed doing it and therefore it served it’s purpose.


Finally the piece that prompted this blog post.  This is the first picture in ‘The Art Of Mindfulness Peace and Calm Colouring.  This is another go to book when I don’t want to do anything too serious of cerebral.  This picture was created over a number of weeks by sitting at my desk with a number of different art media in front of me… in this case cheap coloured pencils, assorted gel pens from my tin of collected gel pens and a few Tombow markers… and grabbing whatever colour took my fancy and sticking it anywhere on the page that felt right.  No great work of art, certainly nothing that is going to win any prizes.  No planning, nothing.  Shooting straight from the hip.  And I loved every minute of it.



Now for the serious side of this blog post…

I belong to a number of online colouring communities.  They’re a lot of fun and the people I’ve met are generally good natured, fun loving people ready to help out with a complement or a useful art tip.  And I love at looking at the different interpretations people create of the same picture using their colouring techniques and their imaginations.  But one thing does concern me a little and that is the member who feels a little intimidated and reluctant to post their own work because they think that what they do cannot compete with what other more experienced artists post.  This makes me feel very sad because I love to look at everyone’s stuff, no matter their skill level or experience.  Some colourists are professional artists who do this sort of thing for a living and some are people who haven’t picked up a coloured pencil in forty years and just want to give it a go.  It really doesn’t matter what your skill level is.  Colouring is not about the end result but the journey you took to get there.  And everything… EVERYTHING I have ever seen posted by anyone is an expression of that journey and therefore has an inherent value.

To people who feel intimidated by the supposed skills of others… here’s five things I want you to think about:

  1. It’s not a competition.  (Unless it actually states it’s a competition.)  You are not creating a piece to hang in the Louvre.  Nobody has the right to sit in judgement of what you do and how you go about doing it.  This is about having time to yourself to do something personal and expressive.  It’s finding a calm center in the unending gale force storm of life if you want me to go all ZEN on your donkey.
  2. When you look at other peoples work remember that, almost certainly, they are only posting their best stuff.  For every jaw droppingly beautiful piece of work on that Face Book group there is a drawer full of rejects and a bin filled with screwed up failures.  Not to mention the many ‘mucking around’ pictures that were never intended to be anything but a bit of fun stress relief.  I have posted a few of mine above.
  3. Some of the work you see are from people who have been colouring or creating art for many years. Some of them are professional artists.  But each and everyone one of them started out raw and got better with practice.  If you’re new to this remember: DON’T JUDGE YOUR BEGINNING AGAINST OTHER PEOPLES MIDDLE!
  4. And about those other people who have had more experience. Look at them as a great resource of knowledge.  The majority of people I’ve met are genuinely nice people who are more than happy to help a person learn new skills.  If you see a piece of colouring you like or want to discover how the colourist created a certain effect then ask them.  Most people are only to happy to help and your art skills will improve with new knowledge.
  5. Finally… it doesn’t matter who you are: there will always be somebody who is better than you. That goes for anything.  There will always be better runners, better mathematicians, better house cleaners etc.  There isn’t an artist in the world that hasn’t looked at another’s art and wished they had those kind of mad art skills.  Every time I visit DeviantArt (a massive online art gallery open to anyone) I just about weep in frustration at the gob smackingly, perfectly executed works of art displayed there.  I will never be ‘their’ kind of good.  But I can be ‘MY’ kind of good.  And you will be ‘YOUR’ kind of good.


  1. Carol Brandreth

    a lovely thoughtful piece and love the idea of your ‘fun’ books/ pages. People keep talking about stress free colouring but actually producing a good quality piece of work requires quite a bit of concentration and consideration , in a nice way, but sometimes you just want to slap some colour on don’t you? 🙂

  2. lilian

    Hi, thanks for sharing, also saw your youtube videos, very exhilarating, amazing, out of the world ,beautiful coloring!.
    I am new to this and i have never been good in art. in school, my coloring and painting comes first from the bottom. hehehe… but i find the adult coloring, it is so addictive and relaxing… i really love the way you plan the colors. i dont know how to do that…one day i will learn hopefully.

  3. Nichola Feeney

    Peta, I am so glad you posted this. It gives me an opportunity to be open and honest here. I started following your YouTube channel and blog after “finding” you online through Lizzie Mary Cullen enthusing about your Inktense work in The Magical City. I’ve said to one or two friends “You should see this Peta’s work; she’s amazing!” And I have honestly been intimidated by how good you are, especially in the aforementioned book and Enchanted Forest. I’ve even tried some of the techniques you’ve mentioned — pencil on top of felt pens for shading, for example. So, I’m learning.

    A couple of pals are encouraging me to start a blog, and I’ve held back because a) I don’t know how to do YouTube videos and colouring works best there, rather than on a blog, I think. That is, you can see the process, rather than just the finished product, if you see what I mean? (Unless one does the same thing you did a few blog posts back and take photos at each stage of the colouring.) And b) I’m not as good as you.

    I loved what you said about not judging your beginning against someone else’s middle. It’s funny, to think that someone whose work I admire SO MUCH is actually intimidated by other people’s!

    I got into colouring in because it was a fun thing to do, no pressure, and now I’m at the stage where I want to improve and learn from other people and perhaps share my results online, gaining in confidence a little. So yeah, I think for me a blog is the way to go.

    And for what it’s worth, I think “When Rainbows Vomit” would be an excellent title for a colouring book if you ever decided to release your own. 😉

  4. Mickey Lavoie

    I just finished reading your “vomit blog” and you touched me so profoundly that it made me cry. You are a very fine person with a giving heart and I just want to say that I appreciate what you are doing and the wonderful person that you are.
    Sometimes we just need a little kick in the ass….
    Why some of us are so intimidated and insecure, I don’t know, but you touched my tender spots and brought all the pain to the surface.

  5. Pingback: Some good advice from a lovely colourist. | Enchanting Colours

  6. Sandra Harris

    Ditto all the above. Good article Peta. You are an inspiration to me, makes me strive harder. But I also have a fun book and a serious book ! I have torn out one picture I really messed up, and would never post some I did.It is all a learning curve,we each must do the best for ourselves and in time you do improve. I compare the ones I first did to where I am now, and it gives me satisfaction. That is the name of the game. Don’t give up is the message, practise, practise, practise !

  7. Tracy van Alphen

    Hi Peta

    Thank you so much for writing such a wonderful article. I “discovered” you yesterday when I was browsing the internet. Unfortunately I am one of “those” people who doesn’t post much of their work because I don’t feel it’s up to the standards of everyone else. I, too, am part of some colouring groups where absolutely astounding work is produced. I live in New Zealand and get frustrated with the costs of good art materials (and lack of availability), hence I have a fairly limited palate at present.

    Yesterday afternoon I devoured your YouTube videos (and, as a result, have added a couple more titles to my colouring book “wants” list.

    Can’t wait for your next posts … have picked up some great advice already (I *loved* the video on colouring leaves. And your review of Magical City has made me add a book that I was unsure about to my list.


  8. Cn456

    Well said. Love your wourk!!!!

  9. Coralie

    Hi Peta,
    You mention in your post that you are part of several online colouring communities. I’m curious to know if there are any that you would recommend checking out? It’s always so fantastic to see how different artists choose to colour the same pages.
    Many thanks!

    1. Chaypeta (Post author)

      Hi Coralie. I have joined several Face Book adult colouring communities which are quite active and feature pictures from very good artists, to beginners. They’re a good place to ask questions and post your own work for feed back. Also check out Pininterest for more coloured pages.

  10. Elle

    Bingo! I am one of the “people who haven’t picked up a coloured pencil in forty years and just want to give it a go.” At least, that’s how I got started.

    First, let me say that I love your videos and I don’t know why I didn’t get clued into your blog right away, glad I finally made it over here. Maybe because I’m overloaded with all things coloring? For something that is supposed to be relaxing and meditative, I can assure you that at least this Type A Personality can turn coloring into an anxiety-laden exercise. Until I actually settle down and start coloring, at which point it works its magic on my psyche. So, less stressing, more coloring. And thank you for the reminder to not compare my feeble efforts to others’ beautiful works.

  11. Jason

    Everyone’s gotta have a rainbow vomit book or two. I’ve got a couple that look like Easter exploded in them! Good times 😉

  12. Connie Mckeag

    Peta, I just ran across this blog and as usual it came at the most perfect time. I belong to a coloring group in San Antonio, Tx. People come from Austin and a few other places from quite a distance. I have a good friend that I can’t get to come for all the reasons you mentioned. This is a group of ladies who are friendly and all different levels. I’m new and due to my lack of knowledge most all my work is vomit fun. But by watching you I am slowly learning. When I see someone’s work that is really good, I always tell them I’m inspired/depressed all at once. Lol BtW, I’m “vomiting” your name to anyone who will listen. You have the most perfect videos. Hugs, Connie.

  13. NJHD

    Thank you for this. Thank you for everything – articles, videos, pictures – but especially this. It has encouraged me to continue. I have only just discovered your work (via Pinterest) and Google brought me here.


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