Once I wander outside of my coloring comfort zone a little bit, I often feel adventurous and continue trying new things until I eventually create a “not quite so pretty” coloring. My coloring journey tends to follow a twisty path as I bounce between comfort zone coloring and wild and free experimentation.

Of course, one person’s travels outside of the comfort zone is often someone else’s standard coloring technique. I have seen so many colorists use little white gel pen highlights so beautifully in their pictures – but I’ve only dabbled a little bit with the technique.

Smooth curved highlights on circular shapes are easy for me. Just one little swipe with the gel pen and look at how all of a sudden I have a string of pretty round beads.

This is going really well so far.

And now I’m not quite so sure about what I’m doing. Two things are going on. First, I’m not really sure where I want to put my white highlights on shapes like this. Of course there are rules of lighting that I could follow – but that’s not as fun as just diving in and seeing what happens. I have very mixed feelings about the way I’ve just highlighted these shapes. The other thing is that I don’t yet have a high level of coloring stamina when it comes to this technique – so it isn’t long before both my abilities and confidence waver a bit. Nothing unfamiliar about that, though. That’s a common theme whenever I explore a new and different way to color.

In this photo, you can see that I really don’t know what I’m doing. I’ve decided that I don’t like the first way I colored those big blue bead shapes, so now I’m fixing it all by adding more white gel pen. That couldn’t possibly go wrong, could it? Instead of getting too hung up on the appearance of my white highlights, I just started reminding myself that it could take a couple pictures before I really get a good feel for a new technique – and that’s OK. (See, I tell myself that as much as I tell you! 🙂 )

And now I’m just all over the place with the white gel pen – and I like it. I could find lots of reasons to pick at how I used the gel pen in some spots, but the overall look to this page is really kind of nice. And it’s extra nice in that it represents the way I tried things that worked beautifully, and some things that might not be so great. A deep thought strikes me. (This is a particularly good one.) You don’t have to like every single pen stroke to be proud of your coloring. How’s that for a beautiful and important idea? It’s worth putting on a post-it note and sticking it on my computer for a few days.

The words of my deep thought linger, and I look at my pretty picture with acceptance. And with a bit of forgiveness for those weird circle pointy things on the dark blue pokies. You know, I can always pretend that they have some kind of symbolic meaning. I know! Those are mini jellyfish! (Inspired by one of my Facebook group members who is legendary for her white gel pen accents and for coloring a jellyfish into one of her Angie designs.) Deep thought number two – you can explain anything that you might color into your pictures with a good story!

(Today’s coloring is from Balance For Crayons And Wide Tipped Markers – colored with Copic markers. Special guest star: the white gel pen!)