Empty pages in an art journal can be scary!
It’s a common problem in art journaling. Blank white pages… so much potential but you’re afraid to start because you might mess up. Or perhaps you feel creatively stagnated and stuck, like all you are accomplishing is an artistic doggie-paddle.
Your artwork just seems to go in circles and never gets anywhere.
And that’s a problem because you started this art journaling stuff with the idea that it was going to be fun.
You can’t figure out what the problem is. After all, you took a month’s long online art course and have your supply list dutifully marked off:
X-Press It Blending Card…check!
Prismacolor pencils…and not just the little box. You bought the mega 150-colored pencil gold mine. (Or at least that’s what your husband said it cost.) Check!
A complete set of 358 Copic Sketch Markers. Che-?
Hmmm-m. Let me count…
You’re missing the eleven toner grays. You only have 347 Copics.
“Eureka!” You exclaim. “This is what’s holding me back from creating marker painting masterpieces fit for the Louvre!”
Okay, my friend, look me in the eye and tell the truth.
If you’re not growing as an artist, do you really think it’s because you’re lacking supplies?
Uh-oh! Keep looking at me…straight in the eye.
Is it possible, even probable, that the real problem is:
American self-help author, Napoleon Hill (no relation to Josephine), said:
“Procrastination is the bad habit of putting off until the day after tomorrow what should have been done the day before yesterday.”
By my calculations, we’re already five days behind. So let’s stop this shilly-shallying around, hemming and hawing, trying to dodge the issue.
It's time to climb into the ring and duke it out with the arch-enemy of art.
Lucky for you, we’ve got the top doodle-trainer in your corner. Pam Gaylord. She’s been there. She feels your pain and she's gonna show you how to win.
Sometimes all you need to succeed is to START!
And hey, once you've finished reading this great advice, why not take a peek at Pam’s first “Doodle of the Day”, available here with a click of the button:
Going the Distance
Winning Against Procrastination
By Pam Gaylord
It’ll be as easy as 1, 2…3?
“Color this image three times,” they said.
“It will be fun,” they said.
“Okay,” I said.
No rules were implied or given, just a deadline that seemed pretty far away at the time.
Being a student at Vanilla Arts Company has been absolutely wonderful, but suddenly I was invited to contribute to their blog. WOW! Eagerly I hurried to my art room, pulled out a canvas board, whipped out some acrylic paints, and then got started!
My first instinct was to have fun with an art journal project that had no rules.
So, I painted!
And I enjoyed it!
Round One was cranked out in a matter of only an hour. It was quick, spontaneous and carefree.
I was doing a little victory dance and my deadline was still weeks away!
A few days later, I was eager to crush Round Two, but first stepped back to evaluate my original creation from Round One.
I found myself pulling the image apart, overanalyzing what I had done correctly and what I had not.
That critical inner voice began whispering to me about the imperfections in my artwork.
Without warning, I felt the unwelcome presence of self-doubt.
Listening to the voice inside my head, I decided to travel the safe path of familiarity.
I reached for my sketchbook to create my own color map with Copics and colored pencils.
I was still having fun because I’ve colored before! After all, I have a wheelhouse full of knowledge on how this should be done.
Usually I prefer to sketch my own images. However, for this project, Amy had sent me a beautiful stamp from Stampendous called "Rose Friend" I reached for the Memento “London Fog” inkpad and delicately stamped the image on the page.
Round Two with my art journal…
I came out punching!
My artistic thought process was now geared toward color selection, application, layering, balancing, pushing, pulling, and I’m not going to lie…impending judgment. You gotta have thick skin to put your artwork out there for the whole world to see!
I began to color, but those dumb “no show” gray stamped lines began to show.
The chatter of self-doubt no longer whispered; it accusingly shouted, “Hand of Thor!”
I responded that it was not my fault…it was the STAMP! I was on the defensive because I KNEW those lines should not be so glaringly obvious.
“No show stamping?”
Talk to the ref!
Round Two was more challenging and ended after a couple of hours. It wasn’t perfect and came with some sweat and tears, but I knew the final decision had been in my favor.
Dear struggling colorer, remember that sports are different than art. With baseball, three strikes and you’re out. A knockout in boxing is all it takes to lose the title.
But with art, you are never defeated until you give up!
Round Three found me licking my wounds, sitting in the corner, trying to come up with an original idea.
I thought and I pondered.
I stamped, masked, and enlarged my image in different layouts.
And most of all, I procrastinated because I believed the lie that my artwork had to be perfect.
I delayed right up to the week of my looming deadline. In fact, I hesitated for so long that Amy Shulke’s magnificent class example of this very image was already posted on her Vanilla Arts Instagram.
Holy smokes, now the stakes were even higher!
I am not Amy, nor do I color like Amy.
She is an artist.
I am a doodler.
So, I dragged my feet some more.
I was kindly given an extension after I missed my deadline, because while I may procrastinate, I do not quit.
Throwing in the towel?
That’s not an option if you want to win!
I scrapped my final layout idea, deciding just to keep it simple and get it done. I enlarged the image and colored it to the best of my ability.
Wham-m! Round Three was DONE!
It may appear that every step was perfectly planned, but in reality:
I jabbed when I should have crossed,
I bobbed when I should have weaved,
I may have even pushed when I should have pulled,
I stalled and I started.
But in the end, I finished despite the voice in my head which tried to hold me back!
I love to create art, so ultimately still enjoyed the experience, but three rounds taught me that I am a “one and done” kind of girl.
And that I have some self-confidence issues which still need to be worked out!
But then again, don’t we all?
are you doodle-dawdling?
Here are 5 tips to knock-out procrastination:
1. Give it your best shot
Have fun doing what you love!
2. Don’t over-think
Be spontaneous! Perfection is boring, unattainable and highly overrated.
3. Ignore the negative self-talk in your head
You are your own worst critic.
4. Don’t quit!
Start over if you have to, but learn to push through the ugly phase that taunts us at the halfway point of every project.
5. There are no mistakes in art
If you like what you’ve created then you have succeeded!
We all have different voices. Speak up so yours can be heard!
Until next time, doodle-oo!
Pam Gaylord is a Vanilla Arts student who dabbles in every medium she can get her hands on. She’s known for her cool and relaxed disposition, even when someone else’s watercolor water is quickly seeping towards her project…
Pam coordinates S.O.A.R. Colored Pencil Workshops for Iowa. More info here.
Check out Amy Shulke's version of This stamp in her Blog article:
For this three-round doodle challenge, Pam used a clear, photopolymer stamp, called “Rose Friend.” It is part of a 6-piece set by Stampendous and can be found here: