Color the Emotion

Pick a few colors and create without stiffness.

Coloring Without Limits

This week, I want to talk about colored pencils and coloring without limits. You can color without a preconceived idea, without outlines, and without sketching.

Colored pencil art by Paivi Eerola, Finland. Coloring without limits, no outlines or sketching.

You only need to feel drawn to one color first. Recently, purple-blue has called me.

What to Draw?

Have you ever been thinking about what to draw when everything in the world seems to be drawn already? Maybe you too have wondered whether you draw a face, a bird, or a flower, and if so why. But there is always a secret path in art – the possibility to deviate from the traditional path at the very beginning and see what appears on paper freely.

Abstract art with colored pencils. Coloring in an art journal.

I have a small colored pencil journal where it’s easy to make a spread now and then.

Art journal page with colored pencils.

This was a quick and fun little project.

Choosing Paper with Colors

The smoothness of the paper affects the coloring experience. Single strokes are better visible on smooth paper.

Art journal page with abstract coloring. Coloring without limits.

My colored pencil journal has very smooth paper, and I find it less effortless to color than a rougher one.

Coloring on a smooth paper. Colored pencil art. Free coloring on blank paper.

But when I want the colors to shine more and achieve a little blurrier and thus a softer result, the paper is better when it has some tooth.

Coloring on Fabriano Accademia drawing paper. Coloring freely on a blank paper without limits.

I currently have a pad of Fabriano Accademia drawing paper and it’s very nice with colored pencils.

Coloring supplies. Colored pencils organized in boxes by color and paper for creating colored pencil art. Fabriano Accademia drawing paper.

I keep my pencils organized by color. All brands are mixed in one box. Some are watercolor pencils, some are regular, and all of them are in the same mix.

Just Start! – Two Tips

Bring the pencils to a place where you can see them often. And then …”Just start!”

Sometimes it’s easier said than done. When getting started feels like a chore, I have two tips for you.

First, let the color do the talking. Pick a pencil and examine it’s tone. Color lightly first, and then bring in more layers. Every color has a spirit. Connect with it like it’s your pet or an angel. You don’t need to rationalize why you feel drawn to this or that color. Find the pencil that resonates the best with your current self.

Coloring without limits - a start.

Second, give the color at least two other colors as friends. Often one color is very little, but when it’s side by side with two other colors, art will appear. A shape that has only one color is flat but with two other colors, it becomes much more lively.

Colored Pencils Say This All The Time

I know many colored pencils complain that they always have to create something figurative and realistic. They envy paints who can roam freely on paper and how people only smile at their tricks. Colored pencils are too often squeezed tightly and pressed hard against paper at the very beginning. They have to follow strict discipline and are under pressure to produce something that looks real. And when they try to do exactly as they are told, the result is stiff. “Nothing like what can be achieved with paints,” their owners say which makes the pencils sad. If they could choose they would be coloring without limits.

I believe in free education when it comes to colored pencils: “Make what you want and enjoy!” I often say to them. “Imagine that you are something more than just pencils!”

Colored pencil art in progress. No sketching, just coloring without limits.

My pencils jump out of their boxes and do all kinds of silly marks. They are like paints.

Without Limits – Imagine You Are More!

In art, it is terribly important that we imagine to be more than what we are. Be more skillful, more innovative, more unique, and more important. Then, at that very moment, the pencils, life, and fantasy cannot be separated. The colors speak inside us and the art steps in.

Colored pencil artist's work table - pencils organized by color, a smooth surface on the table top. Colored pencil art by Päivi Eerola.

Love of Coloring Without Limits

When I was a child, colored pencils often kept me company. They still bring me joy and I want to keep staying their advocate.

A journal spread and a small drawing, both colored intuitively and freely, without limits. Colored pencil art can be more abstract than you think.

Get 20 % OFF from the classes Intuitive Coloring and Fun Botanicum!
The sale ends on Sunday, May 5, 2024, at midnight PDT.

Colored Pencil Doodling

This week, we are doodling wildly with colored pencils.

Intuitive art with colored pencils. By Päivi Eerola.

Free doodling is the most natural way for me to create. I can just start. No browsing the internet for ideas, no trying to think what to express. It only requires trust that something will appear – that a problem I wasn’t aware of gets solved, a key to a door that I didn’t notice is found, and a place that didn’t exist is born for everyone to explore.

Mindless Doodling

When doodling with colored pencils, I like to pick a pencil and start coloring mindlessly.

Starting an intuitive art journal page.

I often pick a neutral color and use a light touch so that I can later add layers on the top.

Closeup for coloring curves.

The mindless curves can go on top of each other, already creating a new layer.

When I get bored, I pick another color and do the same.

Simple coloring and layering.

I try not to worry about how it looks because it’s just a warmup.

Enjoying Colors

When my thoughts begin to flow effortlessly, I add more colors. Now I color areas or spots over the doodles.

Coloring arcs and curves is fun.

I also highlight some parts of the doodles with color.

I cover most of the blank areas so that the image becomes less busy.

Coloring freely with colored pencils.

Drawing Something Intentional

If I get stuck and feel discouraged, I draw something to cheer me up.

Drawing a heart in the middle of doodling.

A heart is a message for myself: “Keep going; everything will be ok.”

Discovering by Shadowing

“What should I draw?” we often ask ourselves. I often push through by picking a fairly dark tone and shadowing around a random area.

Colored pencil art journaling in progress.

I also like to color stripes, so I color and shadow them. It usually doesn’t take long when I feel the sense of new, exciting scenery.

Doodling All The Crazy Stuff

Recently, I have become more open to allowing all the things that don’t seem to make sense. I also have got more courage to put expression over prettiness.

Doodling with colored pencils.

The success of this kind of wild doodling is connected with the more traditional art skills. I have noticed that after doing the projects for the class Doll World, I have been able to include human shapes and characters more effortlessly for drawings and paintings.

Colored Pencil Doodling – The Result

I think that the finished work expresses that I am at a crossroads. I have a new exciting project on the horizon that you will find out more about soon. I am considering what old things to continue and what to abandon.

Colored pencil doodling on a journal page. Intuitive use of colored pencils by the artist Paivi Eerola, Finland.

But I think that everything will be ok anyway because when I turn the spread upside down, the world still looks exciting and inviting.

A colored pencil journal page upside down. Intuitive art often makes sense when turned around too.

More Intuitive Art Projects

My classes – Inspirational Drawing and Intuitive Coloring, go into this kind of free-flowing process in more detail. If you prefer watercolors to doodles, check Magical Forest for a similarly intuitive approach.

Browsing a colored pencil journal

This small colored pencil journal is currently my favorite art journal. Check the class Fun Botanicum for a jump start for beginning colored pencil journal pages!

Create a Chapter Cover for the New Year!

This week, we are creating a chapter cover for our art journals that marks the new year.

New chapter cover for the new year. From the colored pencil journal of the artist Päivi Eerola, Finland.

When I think about the new year, there are lots of uncertainties that first come to my mind. What will happen in the world, what will happen in my life, and what will happen in my art? I can only present educated guesses about the threats and possibilities. This kind of wondering makes me feel passive, and it’s not very uplifting, so I rather pick up my pencils and start drawing.

Draw a Chapter Cover for a Journal!

As I told you in the recent video blog post, I got the idea of making a chapter cover in the colored pencil journal, marking where the new year begins. So all I had to do was to add the numbers on the next spread and then color a bit on them and around them. This project was a lot of fun, and I highly recommend it!

Play with Numbers!

Just as the world is not only based on facts, the numbers are not just numbers either. Their shapes don’t entirely define them. The number “2” can be a kneeling woman with stockings and a skirt, or a flower that bends down – or both! The number “0” can be a mirror that not only reflects the surroundings but open ups a new scenery. Isn’t that what we want to see in the new year – not only experience the chronologically bypassing days but also make them take our minds to a new place? Stairs that are ahead can lead to nowhere or everywhere, and the fingers that hold a treasure can, at the same time, be the leaves of a plant.

Decorating numbers with colored pencils. Creating a spread for an art journal.

The way we can combine everyday life and fantasy creates joy and hope, and uncertainties feel not only exciting but necessary.

Numbers as Fashion Models

Every time I build a course, I learn something new myself too. But this time, with Doll World, I feel that there’s a lot that comes in the shape of a person.

Coloring a chapter cover for an art journal

When I am more familiar with drawing human figures, I seem to be better able to see those everywhere, for example, in numbers too. And it often seems to come to my mind that I can dress up a shape and, that way, make it more imaginative and fun.

Year of Art

The year 2022 has been a year of art for me. I acknowledge that eight recent years have been like that in one way or another when I have been a full-time artist. But this year, it felt like Art came out of the cellar and opened her heart. And when asking what to do next, she usually said: “Leave me alone,” but this year, the answer was softer, sending a question back to me: “Tell me what you want to see!” Art, who was an animal that used to escape and hide, became a pet, even a caressing spirit. She wanted to stick around and show how something little can grow to become enough – how I can be enough.

Art vs. Artist - Päivi Eerola, Finland

It all felt like a gift even if I had suffered for years by trying to tame Art’s spirit, trying to understand her, trying to stick around even if she would only live in a dark cellar. And now, when I play with the pencils, it doesn’t feel like I do that without her, but with her,
even if I am not painting.

Art journal love: creating a new chapter cover between pages.

When we spend time together with Art and together as artists too, every year is different. We don’t stay the same, but our foundation becomes more similar. And the older we get, the more we inspire each other, and our art is like a group of fairies that gently fly around us. At least, that’s what I hope for the upcoming year.

A chapter cover for the new year. This divides the pages in the art journal.

Time will tell how this journal continues!

Doll World – Join Us!

Come to draw adorable dolls and their dresses with me!

Doll World - an online art class  for drawing and coloring dressed-up human figures.

Doll World begins on Jan 1st. >> Sign up Now!

Dolls and Angels – Video Blog Post

This week, I have a video blog post for you! I talk about dolls and angels – winter, the new class Doll World and Christmas memories, among other things!

Paivi Eerola and her paper dolls.

You will also see my table at the recent sales event. I hope you enjoy the video!

Dolls and Angels – Watch the Video!

Links to Related Blog Posts

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