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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!
- 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.
- 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.