I like to color every day. Not only does it let me explore my artistry on good days and bad – it gives me a chance to see how well my patterns handle energetic days, lazy days, focused days, preoccupied days, matching color days and random color days. I want my patterns to have enough internal structural support so that no matter what your day may be like – your coloring time is going to be relaxing and rewarding.

I couldn’t be confident in that if I didn’t color a lot. Of course, it helps that I really do love to color and that I’m coloring the kind of lines and shapes that make me feel good. The true test, though, is the days where I’m tired or stressed or overly busy.

Or the days where I am determined to keep grabbing colors that I’d never even think of combining on my more sensible days. OK pattern – you’re doing great so far. Are you ready?

Now try this!

There we go. This is a really jumpy collection of colors and the black areas have a nice “messed this up” feeling to them. Let’s see if the pattern is still strong enough that it can pull this jumble together. There aren’t many spaces left.

But look at that! A little more magenta and all of a sudden pieces are starting to hold together.

And these last few colors were added without any deep thought or planning – but once everything is filled in, somehow it all actually does work itself out. Now I see walrus tusks and lobster claws and waves and nautical decorations. You’ll notice that my patterns are never filled with uncolorable decorative dots or ornaments or hatching lines or itty bitty spirals to nowhere. A strong pattern doesn’t need that stuff and doesn’t want it. A strong pattern wants to fulfill it’s role as a canvas to your creativity – and this one has reassured me that it can handle any way that you may decide to color it. I may color for fun, but at the same time I really like giving my drawings a workout to see if they are capable of looking beautiful no matter how off the wall my color choices may be.

(This tough and happy drawing is from Balance For Crayons And Wide Tipped Markers, and I’m really proud of how it handled my coloring test. 🙂 )

(Colored with Koh-I-Noor woodless colored pencils.)