Updated: Oct 9, 2020
Hello, my name is Frankie, I am a grown woman and I am afraid of the dark. No, no, not the lights going out dark, I mean going as dark as I need to go in my art to create the realism I want to achieve.
I think part of my fear has to do with the white paper I'm using. Any color you put down on white paper looks dark. As you add other colors the dark areas are no longer dark enough. BUT I am afraid to add more color because oooooo it might make it too dark and then I've ruined it. Let me tell you, of all of the art projects that I have done that didn't turn out the way I had envisioned, not one of them was because it was too dark.
So why am I afraid of the dark?
I have a hard time turning off my logical brain when I color. Let me explain. I'm looking at a reference photo of a blonde haired girl with gorgeous curls. You and I know, blondes don't have dark hair, right? So logically I should pull out yellow colors, right? That is what my logical brain is telling me to do.
I've learned a lot of things by practicing my coloring. One thing is that I shouldn't let my brain be my color picker. Instead, I should use my eyes. In order to do that, I use a trick that I want to share with you. All you need is your photo reference and a regular piece of plain paper. Punch a hole in the piece of plain paper. Now put the hole-punched plain paper on top of your reference photo. Using the hole as a view finder, move the paper over the photo reference to identify colors in the photo.
I did this on a photo of that girl with blonde hair to help me decide which shades of yellow I needed. Hmmmm, guess what, I couldn't find any shades of yellow through my make-shift viewfinder. What I saw was a surprise to my brain. It was umber, cream and then dark umber as her hair got closer to her head and inside her curls.
As I picked up my dark umber pencil my logical brain did it's best to tell me "don't do it - she's blonde". That is when I decided to stop listening to logic and trust my eyes. Dark umber it was! And in the end, her hair came out blonde.
Are you afraid of the dark too?
I remember when I was a kid, my Dad would not let me sleep with a light on after I watched a scary movie. I would sit up in my bed listening to all of the noises to make sure the boogie man was not after me, telling myself there is nothing to be afraid of, I will be ok. I would say it over and over, even when my eyes couldn't stay open, until I heard a noise then I would sit straight up again and say it over and over until I finally fell asleep. I should use my old tactics to get past this. I do not need to fear that dark umber pencil. I simply need to pick it up and tell my logical brain "there is nothing to be afraid of and it will be ok, boldly start with the dark". There is no reason for me to chicken out, run and hide in my bed...I can do this.