Take Time to Evaluate How Your Coloring Has Changed

Updated: Oct 20, 2020

I recently came across a tutorial online that grabbed my attention and before I knew it, I was coloring away instead of cleaning house. Must have been the pull of the full moon. I mean who wouldn’t rather be cleaning . . . right?!

I was happily coloring away and before I knew it, I had blueberries coming to life right in front of me. But these are not your normal size blueberries here. These are large, about 1 ½” in diameter. This is right up my alley right now as I have been challenging myself to color bigger so that I focus on more of the details within my images.

When I finished my Sprig of Blueberries project, I shared it with my Practice Partner for her observations. One of her first questions to me was had I ever colored blueberries before and if so, can I see any changes between the two projects.

As a matter of fact, after looking through my stash of finished coloring projects I did find one that included some blueberries. This project was a Vanilla Arts Patreon project that I colored in March of 2018 that featured the Hearts A Bloom digital stamp by Power Poppy.

Looking at this project now made me laugh. I remember thinking at the time I colored it that the blueberries were amazing. You must admit, I did get them to appear round anyway! I guess for where I was in my coloring process at the time, they were amazing for me. But now, after coloring the Sprig of Blueberries tutorial from Ekaterina Putyatina I can see just how much my coloring has changed over the last two years. I’m not saying that my current coloring is perfect by any means. But it sure has changed. I do know there are things I would attempt to improve should I color it again in a couple of years.

I think the biggest change between these two projects is the approach I took to color them. When I colored the Hearts a Bloom image in 2018, I was coloring by the “follow the leader” approach. That means that I did exactly what the teacher told me to do with the Copic marker or colored pencil she told me to use. Fast forward to 2020, I found a tutorial and didn’t care that it didn’t come with a video for me to follow. I also didn’t use the colored class sample as my reference. I used the actual reference photo and colored what I saw. I used the written instructions as the starting point for the colors that I would use and deviated when my brain didn’t agree with the colors I was seeing in the reference photo or on my paper. I also took days to color this latest project versus hours in 2018. I am becoming a much more patient colorer now.

If you had told me two years ago that I would still be coloring today or that I would have made improvements in my coloring I would have been very skeptical. But that has changed too. Now I can’t imagine not coloring. It gives me so much from frustration to joy. After I get frustrated, I love to figure out how to solve whatever is causing the frustration. And, it’s true, with every project I color I think I get even more excitement from the process.

I will just leave you with the biggest secret to my coloring progress. Practice. I practice my coloring nearly every day. Whenever I am coloring, I’m practicing. When I doodle, I’m practicing. When I create drills and images for the Practice Corner members, I’m practicing. It all contributes to building up my skills and expands the techniques that I rely upon when I color. And when it comes to my coloring, I will always cling to the words of a wise person who said,

“You have to be willing to be bad at it in order to get good at it!"

I’m off to practice, see you next week.

What's happening in the Corner . . .

Do you "think" about your coloring in your image in layers? I know I didn't until I learned to start with a base layer of color from which to start my coloring.

We explore different purposes for creating a base layer this month, from establishing the light and dark value areas of your image; creating a color map to know where to place your colors; or create a quick base of color on which to add contrast and/or details with colored pencils.

If you are reading this after we moved on to the next technique, you will be able to find the Practice Technique Pack for Coloring for Depth & Dimension here.

You can see more of my work or follow me on Instagram.

Follow the Practice Corner on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest for more inspiring stories and tips to help you keep practicing and finding new joys through your coloring.

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