Artistic Coloring: Are You Ready for Advanced Techniques? Realism, Expression, Artistry

 
 Are you ready to listen to your inner artist? Copic Marker and Colored pencil classes and tutorials can only take you so far. Here are signs that you're becoming a strong, independent, and artistic colorer. | VanillaArts.com | #copicmarker #coloredpencil #coloring #howtocolor #realisticcoloring
 
 
 

Do you take a lot of Copic Marker classes?

Do you do a lot of tutorial projects?

But do you also find yourself wandering off into other media like colored pencils or watercolor just to keep things interesting?

A lot of us use coloring as a stress-reduction hobby. There's something very soothing and almost soulful about the color blending process.

But there are always a few students who really get into the coloring.

Maybe this is you. Does coloring feels like a whole lot more than simple zen time? Does the process speak to you on a deeper level?

You dream about doing more, learning more, and being more... well... dare we say... artistic?

But how?

More classes?

 If you've been coloring with Copic Markers or colored pencils for a while and classes just aren't inspiring you anymore, perhaps it's time to think about art classes. Eight signs that you're ready to get artistic! | VanillaArts.com | #copicmarker #coloredpencil #realisticcoloring #howtocolor

That might work, but finding the right online course can be difficult. Finding something local is even harder.

So you stick with more classes until you can find better classes. And you follow the instructions to the letter, hoping that something in the supply list or technique of the day unlocks the key to becoming an artist.

Following recipes closely though? It might not be helping the way you expect.

My latest Copic Coloring Tips video at YouTube talks how a reliance upon standard blending combinations and recipes can temper or even halt your artistic growth.  

(Watch the video here.)

Unfortunately, I can't cover everything in my videos. One of the points that didn't make the final script is a common question I hear from a lot of beginner students:

"How will I know when I'm ready for more than casual coloring classes?"

That's a great question. Let's talk about it today!

 
 

Attention: there is nothing wrong with simple coloring!

Before we delve deeper, I had to say that. Someone always takes it personally or wonders what I'm fussing about in these articles.

Why can't we all just color? Can't we all just be happy?

Look, I'm not getting all judgey on anyone. In fact, when someone gives me the "let's just..." comment, I kinda wonder who's judging whom.

Because I understand what it feels like to yearn for something more.

And there are tons of classes where we can all Just Color. But if you're someone who feels the very real need to move beyond Just Coloring, there are very few resources available.

And that's really frustrating!

So this article is for the folks who are no longer happy with Just.

How do you know that you're ready to move to art-based classes? 

What are the signs that you should be doing more than Just Coloring?

Let's Just talk about that, shall we?

 
 

1. Where are you right now?

Let's face it, if you've made it this far into this article, you're not average, are you?

I lost the Just Colorers about five paragraphs ago.

If you're still here: You. Are. More.

You just are.

2. Basic mastery

Has it been a while since your favorite tutorial blogger actually challenged you?

When was the last time your instructor told you to do something and you couldn't do it?

Do you spend a lot of class time helping your neighbor catch up?

Can you correctly anticipate what the instructor is going to say before they say it?

Have you ever felt like you could be teaching the class?

Stop dinkin' around!

You're ready.

 If you've been coloring with Copic Markers or colored pencils for a while and classes just aren't inspiring you anymore, perhaps it's time to think about art classes. Eight signs that you're ready to get artistic! | VanillaArts.com | #copicmarker #coloredpencil #realisticcoloring #howtocolor
 
 

3. You own all the stuff

Hey, remember up there in the first part of this article when I mentioned trying colored pencils and watercolors?

 If you've been coloring with Copic Markers or colored pencils for a while and classes just aren't inspiring you anymore, perhaps it's time to think about art classes. Eight signs that you're ready to get artistic! | VanillaArts.com | #copicmarker #coloredpencil #realisticcoloring #howtocolor

And how about watercolor pencils, drawing inks, pan pastels, brush tip markers, and whatever is on sale at Dick Blick this week?

Could your spouse auction off half the contents of your craft room without you noticing?

You're a crafter. You're an artist. It's not in your nature to be bored.

You know what else is not in your nature? Sitting around complaining about being bored!

You don't complain; you go out and find stuff to do.

But I want you to start paying attention to that stuff.

If you find yourself flitting from paint to markers to pencils to whatever else... that's a sign.

Your brain is subconsciously keeping itself busy until you gather up enough guts to go take a real art class!

It's not that you're flighty.

You're bored.

You're ready.

 
 

4. Eureka!

Isn't it fun to look at someone's coloring and just know?

"Ah-ha, I see what you did there. Pretty clever!"

Pssstttt.... If you can figure it out, you're ready for more.

 

 If you've been coloring with Copic Markers or colored pencils for a while and classes just aren't inspiring you anymore, perhaps it's time to think about art classes. Eight signs that you're ready to get artistic! | VanillaArts.com | #copicmarker #coloredpencil #realisticcoloring #howtocolor

5. A critical eye

This is related to point number four.

You know how we sometimes look at someone's coloring and think: 

"Huh, I wouldn't have done it that way. Not at all!

The stuff on the right side is all messed up and the color over here is way too dark and the flowers don't have nearly as much dimension as they should and the sky looks way too green and that chicken looks kinda demonic because the shading is coming up from the bottom and don't even get me started on the lack of balance or texture or contrast and has this person ever heard of a freakin' focal point and what about that great big..."

Excuse me.

I don't mean to interrupt your rant.

I just wanted to tell you that you're ready.

 
 

6. Sorry, I missed that last point. I was thinking about a project I did last summer and sorta wondering if I should've...

Ready.

 If you've been coloring with Copic Markers or colored pencils for a while and classes just aren't inspiring you anymore, perhaps it's time to think about art classes. Eight signs that you're ready to get artistic! | VanillaArts.com | #copicmarker #coloredpencil #realisticcoloring #howtocolor

7. Picky picky

Are you growing more selective about which courses or classes you'll take?

This instructor uses B37 too much. That instructor uses stamps from a company you don't particularly like...

Her tutorials are fun but she has too many markers in her blends...

The classes at your local shop always stick the sentiment in the wrong spot...

And you'd really love it the video included tips for alternative backgrounds...

Stop.

There's nothing wrong with the classes. They're full of valuable information... for someone.

Just not you.

You're not a good fit any more.

You're ready.

8. No excuses, no hurdles

Confession time: This is point number 8 right?

In my rough draft, this was point number two. Every time I've sat down to work on this article, this point moves farther down the list.

Because I'm scared to death.

But I'm always honest with you, right? I can't just edit it out and pretend like this thought never occurred to me. So stand back; I'm about to douse myself with premium unleaded and flick a Bick.

Ready? Here goes:

Oh my gosh! This is soooo beautiful and I'd really love to color like that someday but Copics are so darned expensive!

Not ready. Not ready. Not ready.

Not even close to being ready.

Now don't start thinking that I'm a trust-fund baby with a sugar daddy. I ate ramen, oatmeal, and a whole lot of nothing to get through art school. I know darned well how expensive art supplies are.

 If you've been coloring with Copic Markers or colored pencils for a while and classes just aren't inspiring you anymore, perhaps it's time to think about art classes. Eight signs that you're ready to get artistic! | VanillaArts.com | #copicmarker #coloredpencil #realisticcoloring #howtocolor

But here's the weird thing: the price of supplies never seemed like a hurdle; not to me or most of my schoolmates. You do what you gotta do and we did.

People with the drive for art don't let finances stand in the way. They don't skulk around in the comment section complaining about the price of paper. They don't wish upon a star. They just shuffle expenses around, pinch pennies, and do it.

The same thing goes for time too.

I can't wait until my kids are grown so I can finally take art classes.

Nope, not ready.

When it's important, when art is something your soul truly needs: you make the time, you find a babysitter, you take an Uber, you borrow the markers, you budget until you've got the entrance fee and the cover charge.

And you don't think much about it.

There's not a poor-me moment because you're too busy making it happen. Hurdles don't mean jack-squat when you're ready.

Excuses come from a lack of intention.

And I know this sounds mean and nasty and elitist and snobby and whatever else you want to call me for saying it.

But we all know stories of people who ate dirt to make their dreams come true, right?

So if poker club meets on class night and that's a problem?

You are not ready.

 
 

So there you go.

8 Signs that you've outgrown your coloring class

Hopefully I didn't lose you with that last point. If it stings a bit, that might be a sign, right?

So let's rehash. You're ready for more challenges and a more artistic approach to coloring when:

1. You start to wonder what's beyond coloring

You wouldn't be curious if it didn't matter.

2. Been there, done that

You've outgrown that tricycle!

3. You switch mediums a lot

Looking for love in all the wrong places?

4. You easily spot how things are done

You're either psychic or you're an advanced colorer.

5. You know how to do it better

And it's not bloviating, you really do know.

6. Thinking, thinking, always thinking

The artistic mind is a tad obsessive.

7. Picky-Picky

It's not the class curriculum, it's you.

8. No Excuses, No Hurdles

Ain't no mountain high enough!

 

What'cha think? Are you ready?

 

 
 

Yes, it's finally here!

The Ink & Hydrangea class is back again! It's been retired since 2015 and back now with all new content in a supersized course.

And it's the first Friday of the month which means I've got lots of new stuff available.

Let's start with the free resources! 

Watch the latest Coloring Tips on YouTube:

 

(Click the image above to watch the video at YouTube)

 
 
 

And get a Taste of Vanilla!

Taste of Vanilla is a FREE monthly program focusing on the supplies, techniques, and interesting mindsets used by artists who work creatively and independently.

You can't get creative until you feel comfortable!

 Taste of Vanilla - FREE mini-lessons, changing your mindset about Copic Markers and colored pencils to help you add artistry, maturity, and realism to your coloring projects. | VanillaArts.com | #copicmarker #coloredpencil #coloring #howtocolor #realisticcoloring

Learn and grow with monthly mini-lessons designed to reduce the intimidation that happens when you jump into the deep end of artistic coloring.

Fresh bite sized art lessons every month!

In September, we're learning how to color teeny-tiny delicate and fancy veins on pretty little flower petals and leaves...

and we're stealing that technique from BIG, BAD CAVE MEN!

I'm not kidding. We're using the oldest art technique in human history to color beautiful details on your floral projects.

And it's so darned easy!

Don't miss this issue of Taste of Vanilla.

 
 

And of course, there's the Workshop class!

 Marker Painting Workshops. Learn to add realism and artistry to your Copic Marker or colored pencil adult coloring projects. "Tree Frog" teaches the color sculpting process to maximize realism. | MarkerPainting.com | #copicmarker #coloredpencil #coloring #howtocolor #realisticcoloring

Ink & Hydrangea is a challenge level for intermediates and advanced students.

The best thing about Marker Painting Workshops?

Workshops are NON-SEQUENTIAL!

Learn to incorporate real artistry into your coloring projects, one concept at a time. Every Workshop details a new method for enhancing realism, depth, and dimension.

Each class stands on its own as independent learning. You don't have to take six of my other classes to understand this lesson.

All of my Workshop classes are FOREVER ACCESS. Work at your own pace and repeat the project as many times as you'd like.

Come color with me. It's a ton of fun!

 
 

Happy coloring!

 VanillaArts.com
 

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