My son has just started an art project at school, where he has to focus on a particular artist.
He's a pretty good artist himself - he prefers to draw very detailed miniatures in black and white - hence his choice of artist: the wonderfully talented Chris Riddell, who illustrated the amazing Edge Chronicles, Coraline, the Grayeyard Book, Platypus and loads of other titles of his own and others authorship. (And his blog is amazing - lots and lots of sketchbook pics!)
T was really excited, thought it would be a great project. Based on what his sister had had to do two years ago, we knew you had to reproduce pieces of the artist's work, which, given that Mr Riddell works mainly in black-and-white, T thought it would be right up his street.
Until this week.
For homework, T had to use coloured pencils on his chosen image. Not a problem, we thought - all Chris's book covers are in colour.
There's just one teeny-weensy problem.
T hates adding colour to his drawings. (Unless it's great big, bold blocks of it on robots and fantastic creatures.) He feels that it ruins all the hard work and detail he's put into the basic pencil drawing, and he is never, ever satisfied with the end result - because he hasn't chosen to use colour often enough on detailed pictures to get good at it.
So then we start to slide down a vicious spiral...
'My colouring in is rubbish, so I won't do it...which means I'm not getting better at it...which means my pictures look rubbish...so I'm not going to colour anything and why does the teacher want colour anyway? I don't like colour - I like pencil! Why can't I just do it in pencil?'
I like drawing and colouring - heck, I even had some designs made into rubber stamps a few years back - and I'm trying to help and encourage as much as I can. Ultimately though, it's up to T, and whether he can accept that school art is there to broaden his experience, allowing him to use different artistic media.
But it did set me wondering. Do I do the same in my writing sometimes? Stick to what I'm comfortable with, refusing to push the boundaries of my creativity and refusing to persist with something 'cos it seems too hard?
Well, blog reader, you'll have to be the judge of that. Every even-numbered day through October, I'm posting 'a little piece of flash', here on Squidge's Scribbles. I consider them my 'practise pieces' when I'm trying something different - you'll have to let me know whether my 'colouring in' is OK?
Or do I have to practise a bit more?
Note - added later by viewer request...one of T's pencil drawings and THE coloured-in one that sparked this post...