Category Archives: Confidence

Ever heard the expression ‘all the gear and no idea’? That was me………………

So now I had all the ‘stuff’ and I had done a few initial pencil sketches, I had coloured in lots of squares and read a few books.  Now what?  Well, dear reader, I copied a picture – shock, horror!  Actually, it is not so bad, lots of artists copy/copied other artists, it’s a great way to learn, at least you know what you are trying to make it look like, which is a help.  Back to my trusty ‘Colored Pencil Solution Book’ where I found helpful instructions on how to colour a day lily (Hemerocallis).

How to portray a Daylily Instruction Page

Instruction Page

In the back of the book there was a line drawing to photocopy and I then used tracing paper to transfer it to drawing paper.

Photocopied line drawing of daylily

Photocopied line drawing

Interestingly, the dark values are applied first which was a surprise to me, and then gradually lighter and lighter colours are applied, until a final going over with the palest colour (leaving the highlights uncoloured).

Finished Daylily

Finished Daylily

It was interesting to follow instructions, and I learned loads.  It is really important to look at the values and to establish the darks and lights against each other.

Fear of the wide open expanse of a sheet of A4 paper

So there I sat one year ago with a blank sheet of paper in front of me and a pencil in my hand, I had delayed this point as long as possible.  I had fiddled with the specimen; should it be nearer or further away, was this view better than that view?  I had adjusted the lighting; from the left side, from the right side, was top lit better or worse. But finally the moment arrived when there was nothing more that I could do so there I was, me and a blank sheet of A4 paper, on the face of it that does not sound too terrifying, but there is something so daunting about the pristine surface and the knowledge of the ugly mark about to be inflicted.

Why should that be?  It’s only a piece of disposable paper, the world is not going to end, nothing is going to change, it’s only making a mark on a piece of paper.  As I reflect on that angst it seems to be based in a fear of failure, of not creating the perfect image, of knowledge of what the image will look like before it is made and of not achieving – not achieving what exactly? Not achieving perfection, and why should perfection be achieved with the first drawing anyway?  It’s a ludicrous idea.  

My pencil touched the paper, and I was off………  The images were as I expected – inexpert and poor, but I was doing it, I was drawing, I was looking at a flower very very hard and trying to capture the essence of what that flower was and what that meant to me.

Over the next few weeks I continued to draw and gradually the fear diminished and to be honest it has never truly gone away, the first mark is the scariest.  My confidence started to grow and with confidence came motivation, a positive feedback loop!

I have added information about snowdrops, aconites and hellebores to my Plants page.