I used to get paralyzed whenever I’d get to a blank canvas.
It was so intimidating – I didn’t know what to paint or how to even begin to cover up the white space.
That’s why now I start every painting with a playful background. This gives me a place to begin where there’s no right or wrong.
Most importantly, it also gets me to have fun.
Once I’ve filled in the white space, I pencil in my character’s shape and features.
I use simple shapes – a circle for the head, a rectangle for the body. These shapes change and evolve as I add more layers, but I always need some place to begin.
From there, I sketch in the eyes. Again, I begin with simple shapes – a wide oval with a circle inside. This is always the hardest part of any painting because the eyes take so many layers before they even begin to look like anything other than cartoon eyes. Most often, it takes covering up the eyes or the entire face, again and again, then adding more layers until the eyes resonate deeply with whatever I feel in my own heart.
I generally can’t move forward with the rest of the painting until I fall in love with the eyes.
It’s all about feeling that connection and then taking a step back to let go and see where the painting takes me, knowing it doesn’t happen right away and it might take a lot of layers before it even begins to come together in that painting (or in the next).
But I know if I continue to create, the magic will happen. And that leads to seeing more magic in my everyday too.
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