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Sometimes Leftover Paint Colors Give You Zombies

October 28, 2022

New readers to the blog might not realize at first that a lot of what I post is a sort of cautionary tale.

I’m trying to get across that sketching and painting needs to be fun, if you’re going to continue.

And by showing you some of the missteps I make I hope to help you avoid them.

You’ll also know that I use a lot of leftover paint. Paint left on the palette from a previous sketch, maybe from yesterday’s session, or sometimes a palette I’ve been working with for weeks.

I love using leftover paint. Some of my color pairings and choices have already been worked out for me and I can jump right in.

But sometimes I don’t start with a clear plan and pick up some leftover paint, and maybe the brush, and even the brush water, aren’t as clean as they need to be…

Or maybe I was using a little bit of white gouache in a previous mix and I didn’t clean up around that mix on my palette! 

Bingo bango. I end up with something bordering on zombie skintone.

Sure there are some good skintones in there and if I played around with this sketch for a few minutes, thoughtfully(!) then I could “revive” it and unify it with some opaque passages.

But I didn’t. I can tell from the time stamp on it that it was around bedtime. I elected not to stay up.

Still there are several things in this sketch, on the other hand, that I like. The Smirk, the Hair, the Beard. 

So another thing I like to get across to readers is that on a given session those things, few though they may be, that do go well, can be more than enough to allow you to finish on a happy note. IF you allow yourself to recognize that they have value.

That’s where you might have to deal with your internal critic if you have problems with a voice that tells you something sucks.

Stop this chatter by asking yourself what SPECIFICS are off. Those are then specific things you can fix and that knowledge will propel you into the next sketch.

And take time to acknowledge the positives. You’ve learned something, you’ll be alert to things you need to watch out for next time. 

Then you’ll feel eager to jump into that next sketch!

Next time a sketch doesn’t quite go the way you anticipated or planned, or if you didn’t get as far as planning, as you hoped, enjoy the bits that worked out and start planning the next one to work on the bits that didn’t come together.

But if you keep ending up with Zombies, it’s really, really time to clean the palette off and let the left0ver paint go for now.

Have some fun painting.

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