Don't give up, ever!

Hello everyone,

Getting Past the Ugly Stage

It is inevitable. You start a new coloured pencil piece and the reference photo is so strong! But you get a few hours (or a few days) into it and the entire thing starts to look “muddy.” You begin to hate it. You want to give up. You start to entertain thoughts of never drawing again-- ever!

Why does this happen?

The “muddy” period is where the colours are not easily identifiable and are not looking like the desired hue. They instead become this not-so-lovely brownish or greenish colour. This often happens when you are blending two complementary colours together. It can happen with any medium you may work in, but in coloured pencil you may linger in this zone for longer than you would in, say, an oil painting. The reason is because coloured pencils just takes a lot longer to complete, so the in-between phases are longer, too.

The Solution

The solution is simple- take your time. The good news is this problem will be resolved if you keep working, and it will be a distant memory when you are done with your drawing. If you lose heart, the tendency is to rush through this stage to quickly get to the other side. Rushing it will spell out death to your piece and you may not be able to recover from the damage.

Just remember to believe in what you are doing and in the vision you have. Having this faith in your work will carry you through to the end.


So remember these 3 tips for getting past the “ugly stage”:


You Are Doing It Right! This happens to every artist. If it isn’t happening then I would be worried you're doing something wrong.

It Is Temporary! It will pass. It will not last forever, so keep going.

Go Slow! Remember your vision for the outcome and stick to it.

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