Conquering The Fear of the Blank Canvas.
Facing a blank page? There’s nothing to fear!
If you’ve spent time in Pigment’s Gallery, you’ve undoubtably encountered images whose artists describe them as “freehand” drawings or paintings. That is, simply put, colorings created using the blank canvas feature available in the iOS version of the Pigment app. You can find this feature by looking for the dog-eared page icon from your “My Work” section of the app, located in the top right corner.
The beautiful thing about freehand work is that it is the ultimate in imagination. You can create anything your mind can conjure, using any tools in any way you like—you are the master of this artistic domain and the world, at least in Pigment, is yours to command! Which all sounds pretty awesome, of course, but can also feel a bit intimidating at the same time.
“What should I draw?”, “How can I bring what I imagine in my head to life on this virtual canvas?”, and perhaps the scariest, “What if no one likes it or what if it’s not as good as so-and-so’s?”
These sorts of anxieties needn’t trouble you. Pigment is, and always has been, a place for exploration, learning, creativity, self-expression, relaxation, enjoyment, and camaraderie amongst artists from all walks of life and at all levels of expertise. There’s no judgement here. Only art.
Furthermore, the blank canvas feature is a great resource beyond just creating a picture or painting: It can be used to work on blending colors, practicing with more complex tools like pastels and oil brush, and experimenting with creating gradients or special effects. In essence, the blank canvas can be as much the place where you begin a work of art as it can be the “scratch paper” you brainstorm with. You can treat it like a literal artist’s palette, swirling colors together at will to create new and interesting tones that you can then save into your own custom palettes for use at any time in the future. You can test out new techniques you’ve been wanting to try (such as creating hand-mixed gradient effects with, perhaps, the airbrush tool) and grow more confident with those techniques, eventually carrying them over into your actual coloring pages. In short, the blank canvas is a multifunctional tool that can be used however you—the artist—desires. So the first step is choosing how you want to use it at any given time.
As someone new to using the blank canvas to create actual colorings, sketches, designs, or paintings, the first things you may want to consider are tutorials and reference photos. If you’ve ever watched one of Britton’s tutorials, you’ve probably heard her mention more than once the value of using reference photos in all types of coloring. Reference photos are just images you can find anywhere—even a Google search—that depict the types of things you’re trying to recreate on your own. For example, if you’d like to create a turquoise amulet, you might want to search for images of turquoise stones to help guide your color choices, tool choices, and the general “look and feel” of that item. This is something that all artists, especially professionals, do. It’s arguably the single best way to learn and you’ll see it everywhere from how-to videos to university art courses. There’s a reason we have the saying, “art imitates life”! The next time you’re working with the blank canvas to produce a drawing or painting, go ahead and explore the internet’s vast library of images of things you’d like to create. This is not the same as copying something. Copying means to reproduce something identically, whereas referencing, alone, just means using something of the same type as what you aim to create as a guide for how to create it. It’s easy, it’s smart, and it’s a brilliant way to learn.
Whatever you do, don’t let the opportunities that the blank canvas presents pass you by. Pigment is your place to unwind, tap into your creativity, and embrace the joy of coloring. And there’s nothing but encouragement and help wherever you turn, should you need it. Go forth and create and we’ll see you in Pigment!
This post features images from the Pigment Gallery by “LESA_DeF”, “E.RITZ60”, “Loubo”, “Garyo” and “Suprmom103”