What To Do When You Don't Love Your Colouring

Friday, January 22, 2021


This is the most important post you will read all day! Please take 2 minutes to read + leave your thoughts in the comments below!

I'm sure we can all agree that we are our harshest critiques 😉 But what do we do when we put all of the pressure on ourselves and end up sucking out the joy from the learning process? Our words can directly influence whether we are motivated to keep learning or whether we give up because we think it's too hard and we aren't doing a good enough job. Keep in mind there's no benchmark when learning, no one standing over us telling us we must be perfect, no scorecard or timeline we have to learn everything by. All of that is coming from ourselves, inside. One of the most powerful things I heard about our inner speech that has stuck with me is when you find yourself saying it's too hard, or I can never do this, or it's not good enough is not to change the activity.. the activity is not the one at fault - our attitude is ❤ If you can learn to stop those thoughts and reframe them then you can take on anything you want to in life - changing your attitude changes your whole experience ❤

So let's have a chat about how to do that when we are feeling down about our work!

So let's talk about how we critique our work - this is when we do some colouring, then we step back and look at how well we think we are doing. Firstly, it's important not to judge a half finished technique - it's always going to look a little wrong or stand out to you until your entire piece is finished. Resist that urge to keep restarting - it's not doing you any favours in learning and progressing with your colouring. If you are really unsure though, don't forget our classes always come with free private, one on one tutoring, so pop a photo over and we can chat about the next steps to help you feel more confident. Remember self-learning is such a small part of really mastering techniques - getting advice, non-emotional feedback, and tips on how to grow from people who have done it before is just as powerful as actually learning the steps. Don't be afraid to use this help - it will get you there faster and smarter.
Secondly comes how we speak about our work. When you've finished your colouring, or viewing during the process, change your perspective so you aren't looking in that upclose mode we use for colouring, 20 cm from our work. This is not how art is meant to be viewed. Hold your colouring at arms length, prop against a wall and take an actual step back - try to view the whole picture rather than just looking upclose for mistakes and errors. Try to train your eye to see the whole project like as if you were viewing a friend's colouring - don't point out to yourself the areas you don't love just yet. Changing our perspective to appreciate our work as a whole allows you to have a greater understanding of how techniques come together to create a finished piece, and allows little mistakes that no one is looking at, fade into the background.
The wording we use when we first look at our work is very important. Firstly we need to take the time to point out what we've done *right* - it's a step that is missed so often but it is crucial in critique, confidence, and motivation. I guarantee on every single colouring there is a lot of good, and that you've learned some new skills or refined some you've already had. that deserves celebrating. Try pointing out two things you feel you've done well or improved upon from last time - it shows you that you are learning and achieving each time you colour. Consider actually writing it down or saying it aloud - this gives the words more weight (sounds silly but it really works - it's proven that we accept things more when it's concrete through being spoken or written). When you share your colouring online, consider sharing these two things instead of just saying it's not perfect or pointing our what you feel isn't right, and notice how people's opinion of your work changes - we celebrate your achievements with you, but we look for mistakes if you point them out 🙂 It's so much more empowering to acknowledge the growth you are having with every piece, and a piece doesn't need to be perfect for there to have been a good lesson involved.

You don't have to be inauthentically positive though - we learn from mistakes, but it's important that we aren't *negative* when looking at them. There's nothing *wrong* with a mistake - you haven't stuffed up, it's not "not perfect" - it's simply a learning opportunity. Take the emotion out of your critique and focus on what you could try differently, on the lesson, instead of the negative emotion behind it . eg. Instead of "I messed up the wings", "my fine lines are a mess", or "it's not perfect but...." try something like "next time I'm going to work on xxx to achieve xxx result". So this may read something like: I "next time I'm going to work on leaving more gaps between my strokes to emphasise texture". Notice that you've taken away that negative emotion so you haven't done anything "wrong"- but you are still learning on your colouring journey (as we all do).
A lot of people say they learn best from critique - but as you can see, there's a difference between saying something is not good enough and just reminding yourself that it's all a learning journey. There's no need with your Ego to interfere here - Ego is your expectation of yourself - and we need to train our ego to understand that it's unrealistic to expect to be perfect with our first efforts. The more we expect of ourselves, the more likely we are to have the true failure - giving up. The only time we fail is when we put something aside as you can't improve upon nothing - so work on taking away the pressure and emotion associated with creating and learning... it is just a fun activity with no pressure, no requirement to be perfect, and no expectation ❤ And remember, you aren't competing with the class sample or anyone else you may see sharing online. We all have different amounts of practice that you aren't seeing in the background - focus on your own growth, not that of others. Don't let that ego tell you you should be any further along than where you are right now - where you are is perfect.

If you struggle with perfectionism or low confidence, try using a journal to record these steps so you can make this a part of your learning process. It will also help you log your colouring progress, helping you to easily flick back and see over time how you have progressed. Anytime you feel frustration flare up, pull yourself back to these steps and take the emotion out of it. Take three deep breaths and ask yourself - what have I learned from the mistake? What have I done well? Will it look different at the end? How can I improve upon this for next time? The more you train your mind to run through these questions, the more it will become second nature and help you not only in your colouring but in every day life aswell ❤

I hope this may help some of you to assess the way you speak to yourself about your work. Don't let fear of mistakes or the pressures you place on yourself stand in your way of actually learning and enjoying your hobbies. You aren't in a competition with anyone, there's no need to rush to learn it all, and no need to give up on yourself if you dont'quite get there with today's practice. And always remember - you don't have to be great to start, but you do have to start to be great ❤ 

***Don't forget to come and join us over in the class rooms at www.kitandclowder.com - we run through art therapy tips like this in every lesson + free classes, like our brand new Deer Colouring Class, available for absolutely everyone on the homepage! :) 

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  1. ❤️. Beautiful. Thoughtful. Encouraging. Thank you.

  2. Really a great topic. I often do that with my colouring but I've learnt already to look at my work at arms length and feel really happy with it now.
    Thank you Alyce for your encouragement. X X


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