It's Spring Break in the Coloring Studio

Doesn’t that sound amazing, a coloring studio? I know, I don’t have one either. Or do I?

Let’s consult with my know-it-all friend, Google and see what he has to say. Oh wow, would you look here, by Google's friend Wikipedia's definition I do have a studio. Better yet, you do too! Wikipedia says, “A studio is an artist or worker’s workroom”. So anywhere we’ve set ourselves up to color . . . that’s our studio.

But with the joy of having a studio comes the responsibility to keep it in a state conducive for coloring. I suppose that means on occasion I should tidy it up. So today I’m taking a break. I’m going to go down my checklist of things to get me on my way to a tidy studio.

Cleaning isn’t my number one hobby but I can admit that when I take the time to tidy up I'm normally rewarded with treasures that I forgot I had. I may even come up with a missing Copic marker or much needed colored pencil that I just knew I had but couldn’t find lately. I’m off to get started . . .

Next day . . .

Wow, that was quite the cleaning session yesterday. It was so worth it as things are sparkling around here now. Feels so fresh and clean. Who knew spring cleaning could feel so good. It was so good that I thought I would share some of the things I’ve done so that you can take a break and come back feeling as fresh and clean as I do.

Here are a few spring cleaning items from my checklist:

Create swatching scraps

Be honest, you do it. You have bits of project paper everywhere. Projects that went awry so you decided you had to start over. As a crafter at heart, I can’t get myself to throw that paper away (quite possibly would require therapy to figure out why). But I forced myself to put that paper to good use by cutting it into 5 1/2” x 4 1/4” rectangles and storing them in a tray to be used when swatching future projects. There are many reasons this is a good habit to develop all year long, not just when spring cleaning. Reasons such as; 1) you are recycling good paper, 2) you have scraps of the same paper that you are coloring on—crucial when swatching your colors, 3) saves money as you don’t waste a good sheet of paper just to swatch, and 4) I don’t feel the need to explain why I am keeping a used-not-so-perfect piece of paper.

Clean my coloring work surface

Many of us color with a piece of clear glass (or other hard non porous surface) under our projects. Even though I started this for my Copic work (creates better blending) I seem to grab the same surface when coloring with colored pencils. The coloring surface collects residue from my coloring projects. Yep, even when I can’t see it. That residue can get absorbed back up into the paper as I work. So take a minute to clean your coloring surface with just a few quick swipes with an alcohol wipe.

Maintain my Copic Markers

I so wish I were disciplined to fill my markers after each project I complete. But honestly, who really does that? So this is a great time to sit down and really give them a good exam and cleaning (wow, that made me think I need to schedule my next dental appointment).

My spring marker cleaning goes like this: 1) examine the nib and replace if necessary, 2) fill the marker, and 3) clean the outside of the marker and inside the marker caps.

Sharpen my colored pencils

Like filling my markers after every project, I don’t know why I don’t sharpen my pencils? Since I’m in the cleaning zone, I sharpen my colored pencils. There is something great about starting out a project with all sharp pencils. This is also a great time to identify which pencils are getting dangerously short and place an order to replenish my pencil supply.

Clean my pencil sharpeners

The first thing I do is dump the shavings and dust out the inside of my sharpeners. Yes, I did say sharpeners. I have many. And they each serve a unique function for me. Some cause no trouble and require no maintenance other than emptying the shavings. But then there are a couple of others that take more care and attention.

My little KUM sharpener came with replacement blades. That is a good indicator for me to remember that the blades don’t last forever—change them.

Next, it’s a great time to check the batteries in my battery operated sharpener. I don’t use it as often anymore so I either should take those batteries out or change them during my spring clean.

Lastly, my hand crank sharpener. First, I remove the shavings drawer, empty and wipe it out. Then I turn the sharpener upside down and I use a brush to clean all around the cutting blade. Then I use my rubbing alcohol with swabs to wipe down the cutting blade. Before putting the shavings drawer back in, I will double check I don’t have any broken pencil tip bits caught in the blade.

With all my cleaning done and a nice tidy desk I am now sitting here looking at these two items. I forgot they were in my supply crock. Do you know what they are and how I use them? I would love to know if you found an exciting coloring supply when you did your spring cleaning in your studio. Or better yet, post a picture of that item that you found that you just had to buy for a project but now you can’t even remember what it’s for. We will all try to figure it out!

P.S. My re-found items are color filters that I borrowed from my sewing room. I use these to evaluate the values in my coloring projects. Either to figure out what I need to use when I am selecting my colors while swatching or to double check the values of my final coloring project.

Now, it's really time for me to get back to my practice. This month we are focused on creating realistic hair and fur. It's not too late to join in!

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