You know the art colour by numbers … if you just colour these numbers you will create a fabulous piece of art!!! Now just colour in between the lines in the adult colouring books you will create a lovely coloured page!!! – It happened that way for you didn’t it?
If so great! If not, you can join the numerous people I have spoke to who have felt like failures at COLOURING in! I am here to tell you, please don’t feel bad!! You’re not an idiot there are plenty of valid reasons why you didn’t do so well and here they are (coming from a coloured pencil artist 😉 and why it’s totally OK!
#1 Focusing on your finished piece/page.
Here’s the problem, often in life we are focused on the outcome, not the journey!! How do we know if we are really enjoying something creatively?? We go into the ‘zone’. When you enter ‘the zone’ you lose all sense of time and space you could spend an hour and it feel like 5 mins. Many artists talk about going into the zone with their art. That is the part they enjoy the most. Did you go there when colouring? What excited you about trying the book in the first place ? Was it a way to relax, get back to doing something creative or just to do something with your hands? Don’t look at your finished page as your success look at the time you spent doing it. If you do this each time you create any type of art or colouring in no matter what the end result is it will still be a WIN!
#2 You were TRYING to finish the page/book in one sitting!! Yeah, you were weren’t you?
Along the lines of #1 – It’s about the journey not the end result! There are LOADS of projects in some of these books…It would take many hours to complete a page let alone a whole book. We live in the age of instant gratification.
To achieve a great piece of artwork it takes time, to LEARN how to create one takes even longer than that!! Squeezing in a bit of colouring in ‘me time’ between the 101 other things you have to do that day… its tempting to want to just get this page finished and put all the things away before the next task. SLOW DOWN and let go of trying to finish off a page in a short amount of time it’s really not the nature of the beast! Enjoy being in the moment with the drawing in the time you have and you can finish it bit by bit. Remember that not everything is a list that need a to be ticked off -especially not your ME time!!! You can come back to it as often as you need to and its good to practice delayed gratification!
TIP: if you have young kids find a page or a book that they can do with you. I have done this with my son and we colour and talk together then our colouring is enjoyable for both of us as its connection time rather than about what we finish in that time.
#3 Blame your Tools.
I know the saying “A good tradesman doesn’t blame his tools” BUT you need the right tools to go a good job, yes?
It’s no good trying to cut a large piece of wood with a blunt saw! Same same! Creating a good looking coloured pencil work takes good paper and good pencils – for those who are new to pencils do you know that there are multiple brands within brands of pencils eg. Derwent have Derwent Artists pencils, Derwent Studio, Derwent Inktense, Derwent Coloursoft just to name a few do you know why?
Each one of them produces a different result some hard some soft some will work better on some surfaces than others – I am not sure but most adult colouring books are not printed on paper that I would recommend to be used for pencils and don’t get me started talking about using the 72 colour tin as opposed to the 12 pack you might have bought from the newsagency and if you bought cheap $2- pencils from the grocery store sorry but those pencils are just not going to do much for you at all… I will stop there rather than making your head hurt but the fact is … your “tools” make a difference! S0, if you weren’t setup with the right tools you likely aren’t going to produce much of a good job nor an enjoyable experience are you?
#4 Staying in between the lines! = Great artwork = #failStaying in between the lines = #fail from a coloured pencil artist - Belinda Lindhardt Click To Tweet
Often when we teach children drawing at a very young ages we praise them for staying inside the lines. When you take an art class as an adult (as a generalisation we say that its good to blur the lines) to achieve a more realistic look. Adult colouring books books are designed so that there are lines for you to stay in and that you see the outlines in the end result. Unless your going for a really flat stylised ‘look’ you would generally blend some colours together to improve the look of your artwork eg. blend a dark blue into a light blue press harder in one section than in another… and yep.. just colouring in the lines is hard and cumbersome! Especially on some of these designs they are so so so intricate they would drive me bonkers and I am a pretty patient person. So, the theory of just stay between the lines and it will look good doesn’t really apply – see your paint by numbers example!
#5 Patience and detailed artwork is JUST not for you!!!
Colouring tiny areas with a really small sharp tip (or blunt if you haven’t got a good sharpener) is going to take time, its going to take patience and if you don’t have either of these things then your not going to enjoy this whole colouring in thing. Sorry to say this but you were kinda destined to fail before you even got started. But wait…
It doesn’t mean you can’t be creative!! I have people come to my coloured pencil workshops and realise that this whole detailed, planning pencil thing is just not for them!! I have had those same people come to a mixed media artwork workshops and splash paint around in large broad strokes and be in absolute heaven they can knock a artwork out in a couple of hours as opposed to a couple of days would take in pencils!! So it might be that pencils just aren’t for you!!! Like I said don’t feel bad, actually celebrate! You now know something new about yourself!!
We all need a ‘fail’ in order to appreciate the ‘win’!
It’ s not to say that adult colouring books are bad nor that you actually ‘failed’ because some of the things were actually out of your control before you even started!! It’s not that your not creative, bad at art or anyone of those crazy reasons that you have going on in your head!! Don’t let your attempt of adult colouring be the end, remember back to Reason #1 its all about the journey, the act of creating. If you have created something you have already won!
The great Masters took many attempts to create their masterpieces, its easy to look an an artists work particularly with the quick time lapsed video we see now days and see how easy they make it look but what you don’t see is the many many artworks they created before they created “this one”.
Don’t let the set back of an incomplete colouring page or book stop you being creative! If you like go back to your book add some more colour with the view of just enjoying your colouring in .. turn a fail into a WIN! You will feel amazing!!