• Kathy

Student Success Story: Tess' Horseshoe

Updated: Oct 9


Do you know when to push or how to pull when coloring, or like many of us do you fall into that category of "doing as we are told" when coloring? After the Practice Corner members spent the month of March focusing on the Push & Pull technique they now understand the what, why, when and where of Pushing & Pulling!


Most of us that practiced this month's technique had been exposed to this technique when taking a class or workshop with Amy Shulke (Vanilla Arts). Pushing and pulling, essential for realism in our coloring, is used to render 3D form from a 2D shape. Or more simply stated, bringing your object to life with depth and/or dimension.


At the end of the month we like to highlight great work from one of our Practice Corner members. There was no doubt who I wanted to talk with when I saw Tess' challenge image. It was clear to me that I had to talk with her about her Pushing & Pulling practice experience. Her horseshoe project left us speechless. If you see a wonderful metal horseshoe, feel free to leave her a comment below and let her know how "lucky" we were that she shared this with us!


I asked Tess a few questions about her current practice:


What did you like best about the practice drills?

I like the fact that the drills progress from week to week. First we get simple images to practice the concept. I usually do 2 or 3 sheets of those and then sometimes just focus on one or two of the images that I particularly want to work on a little bit more.


Were you a conscious "Pusher and Puller" before we started focusing on this technique on March 1?

I was not a conscious pusher or puller prior to this month. In fact I had no idea what it was all about. It is a very different concept from shading, and since I have always struggled with not making my colors dark enough I was afraid I would never be able to push hard enough at all. Now I feel like pushing is easier than pulling, and still have to remind myself that I do need to do both. Pushing and pulling definitely make a big difference in providing the depth that adds realism to the image.


Did you pick up any special tips or figure out anything new about "pushing and pulling" that you would like to share with others?

If I could offer a tip it would be to ask for more feedback along the way. I tend to wait until I have an actual problem rather than checking to see if I am on the right track. Waiting too long sets you up for a lot of extra work, if the image is salvageable. I also learned that even when I thought mine was not, there WERE things I could do to bring it back from the edge. I think it would be worth coloring the horseshoe and clover image again just to see if I learned my "lesson".


What was the hardest thing for you when it came to pushing or pulling?

The hardest thing about pushing and pulling is knowing how hard to push and where to pull. For me it is not automatic yet, and I have to really THINK about both.


Have you noticed any difference in your coloring skills after your time here in the Practice Corner?

During my time with the Practice Corner I feel like I have learned a LOT. I have taken other coloring classes but honestly they have felt more like "follow the leader" so this concept of thinking and figuring things out for myself has been a fun learning experience. I also really love the feedback from Kathy and Frankie, from my Practice Partner, and from the other members of the Corner. Everyone has such good insights and suggestions, it really helps to make my work that little bit better each time. 


Is there anything else you would like to add before I let you go practice more?

I joined the Practice Corner because I had made a promise to myself to spend more time on coloring in 2020. The Practice Corner was announced just after that and I knew it was the right step for me to take to not only spend more time, but to learn new and better ways. I have been admiring Amy's work for awhile, thinking "someday" I would like to color like that...I feel like the Practice Corner has put me on that path. Even when I feel like I haven't done enough on a particular lesson or challenge, I can feel good about the fact that I am still meeting the pledge I made myself because I am definitely coloring quite a lot more than I had been. I have to say that I love Amy's humor, and look forward to the blog/emails, and both Frankie and Kathy are just amazing guides on this journey. I highly recommend having a Practice Partner too...Katy and I text constantly, and we have Skyped a couple of times too. She is also an enabler and we are both taking the Darling Ducklig class together. Having someone to check in with gives a sense of accountability, but also a great cheerleader when needs, or a kick in the pants when that is warranted too.


As you can tell, Tess is another of Amy Shulke's Vanilla Arts amazing students that is working hard on her coloring skills. Her dedication to practice is really helping her take the information that she has gained through prior classes/workshops and is now able to apply the techniques as she colors both guided and independent projects. Congratulations Tess, your month of hard work sure paid off.

Are you sheltering in place and looking for something fun and exciting to do on Tuesdays? Vanilla Arts has launched a live coloring class. If you have never experienced coloring with Vanilla Arts, The Art of Coloring is perfect. These live classes are actually taped so if you aren't available on Tuesday (11:00 a.m. EST) it doesn't matter because the recording is available when you are.

You can see my latest coloring projects (from The Art of Coloring Ink Frog and Daisy Duckling) or follow me on Instagram.


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