The other day someone asked me if I ever leave a little white space in my colorings.

It’s actually quite rare that I do. I love seeing how other people use white space to make their pictures all light and airy – but for some reason I just never seem to be able to do it.

Maybe it’s because when I draw the pictures, they are completely full of white space. White space means “it’s time to color” and perhaps I just take that message way too seriously.

Or maybe it’s because part of me is always thinking about getting my money’s worth out of every page. If I only color 95% of the shapes I start to feel like I haven’t used up all of the available coloring a picture may hold.

But white space in a coloring sure is pretty, isn’t it? I’ve used a super dark shade of purplish blue in this picture, and my lighter shades are mighty dark and intense too. The white paper makes a lovely accent and adds such “pop” to the coloring.

Now I’m seriously thinking about leaving white space. I wonder if I’ll be able to resist the urge to color in all of the spaces. How weird is it that even if I own every one of my books, I still feel driven to let no tiny coloring space go to waste? Even as an adult colorist who can buy another copy of a book if I want to, these little coloring spaces seem so precious that the idea of leaving a spot uncolored seems like a really big deal.

I’m actually dealing with all of these conflicting feelings by reminding myself how pretty white space looks in other people’s colorings. And then comes one final challenge. See the very middle of this coloring? Do I leave any of that white? Suddenly I notice that I am really uncomfortable with the idea of leaving white in a way that might allow a colored spot float freely, unconnected to any other colored spots.

I have to admit that it was very hard to stop here with this much white space remaining. It does help that the white space makes the picture look just gorgeous – but it takes a lot of self control to keep from grabbing one more marker. And of course I had the thought that my book isn’t going to last quite as long if I start leaving pretty white spaces here and there. Overall, though, I think it was a good choice and well worth the passing feeling of being a bit out of my comfort zone. I could imaging myself quite enjoying leaving some white space in future colorings.

(Today’s coloring is from Balance For Crayons And Wide Tipped Markers.)

(Colored with these Copic Markers and with white space! 🙂 🙂 🙂 )