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This post is part of my 2022 Word Project. You can read what that’s about here.

Wednesday, August 2, 2023

After our little chat yesterday about creating something, I didn’t want to disappoint you, so I managed to actually watch some colored pencil videos tonight.

Go me.

But first I got my empty candle jar full of colored pencils, got my pencil sharpener, got my sketchbook, which was conveniently located in the bottom box in a stack of six in the far corner of the closet behind the fan and the heater and the luggage.

I sat down and fudged around with my headphones to get them connected to my laptop. Found the video and… yippee!

Actually had time left to watch some.

It went a little something like this:

Watch first video about paper. Decide I need to buy paper.

Pause video. Go to Amazon. Find paper.

My sketchbook is very cool but it is not great paper for colored pencils. It’s a little too smooth so you don’t get the nice shading like you’d want, and it is not acid-free which means if I draw anything I actually like, it will eventually fade and lose its luster.

Watch second video about pencils. Decide I need to buy pencils.

Pause video. Go to Amazon. Find pencils.

Who knew there was so much to know about pencils! Colored pencils are unlike graphite pencils, in that they are not graphite. They are pigment combined with either water or oil and compressed into a cedar mold.

My colored pencils are Crayola. They’re fine for doodling but not very good if you want to practice shading and blending.

Watch third video about other things. Decide I need to buy All The Things.

Pause video. Go to Amazon. Find All The Things.

Sharpeners and erasers and brushes for brushing away the eraser. Things called colorless blending pencils and solvent pens for doing whatever solvent pens do. Pencil extenders so when you sharpen your pencil down to a few inches you can insert it into an extender and keep using it. If you’ve seen the price of colored pencils, you’d know why you don’t just throw them away.

With $93 worth of colored pencil stuff in my cart, I decided to try a few actual coloring exercises to see how things worked out before committing. I did light-to-dark and dark-to-light. I did shading and overlapping. I did lines and squiggles.

A few coloring exercises on my too-smooth, not-acid-free paper.

Do I need to spend $93 when I don’t know what I’m doing? Couldn’t I just survive with Crayolas? Is this a creative pursuit I will even like? How will I know if I like it if I can’t follow along with the exercises because I don’t have the right tools?

So here is how my coloring project really went:

Step 1: debate spending $93 on all the coloring things.

Step 2: mop the floor.

But it’s a start, and I did something about it instead of just thinking about doing something about it. Then I considered writing about it. Then I went online and looked up what today’s probably obscure National Day is just so I don’t inadvertently miss National Sit On The Couch And Blog Day.

Ok, wait for it. Do you know what today is?

It’s National Coloring Book Day.

I could not make this up.

Why is this a thing? I do not know. Nor do I care. It’s just too perfect. There I was doing the coloring thing, and thinking about writing about how I started the coloring thing, and now this.

Welp. There goes the rabbit into the hole. Bye, bye bunny. And the next hour of my life.

I will not bore you with coloring book trivia, except to say that I found and downloaded the very first ever coloring book. It’s called The “Little Folks” Painting Book and was published in 1879 as “a book of pictures, to be coloured by young people.”

The first drawing was done for you to show how it was done. Subsequent drawings came accompanied by stories and rhymes. The illustrator was Kate Greenaway, who I guarantee you know from some iconic nursery rhyme illustrations.

I’m absolutely positive I had nursery rhyme books with this exact illustration.

Total time spent watching videos and doing coloring exercises: 20 minutes.

Total time spent looking for supplies: 30 minutes.

Total time spent mopping and vacuuming while I considered buying said supplies: 60 minutes.

Total time spent going down the coloring book rabbit hole: 90 minutes.

Next time I need to work on my ratios.

But I love coloring books. I love pencils. And it seems like the universe is trying to tell me something, maybe that $93 is a mere pittance if there are colored pencils involved. Perhaps I won’t buy the extender just yet, and I could probably just blow the eraser bits off the page instead of spending money on a brush. This is all sounding very exciting, and shockingly, it doesn’t involve food. That alone should be motivation to check out at Amazon right…. now.

Photo: ready for action!