Coloring with the Spirit

Coloring, coloring, and more coloring. Is it possible to do too much coloring? Oh probably. This is my post about how I color with God in the Spirit [of things]. If you have some kind of computer program that allows for drawing and importing or opening photos you may be able to create your own coloring page. The beauty of Photoshop is I can do that and create a basic, but simple template of what I am wanting to learn and work on. Well, what the Lord is focused on is probably more accurate. Below is the beginning of my coloring education and process.

It is pretty basic. My biggest challenge when I draw on my own is positioning so I’m working on building faith so I can just eyeball stuff or just paint from a vision [a pretend gorilla as seen in my memory bank]. I have to tell you though, before I started this I never really knew how blind I was. Like anyone who has been to a zoo, watched National Geographic, or has a T.V. or internet connection, I have access to what animals look like. I took what they looked like for granted. It’s one thing to point and exclaim, “A Gorilla!” It’s an entirely different process to try and draw one accurately. I mean, I can’t say I paid that much attention to a Gorilla’s nose or ear shape for that matter. It’s hard to draw something with missing file information due to lack of careful observation. What you will notice is all these strange lines on the face like this juvenile is going in for some plastic surgery. They are actually observations about which direction texture or skin or fur is flowing. I make notes of wrinkles, crinkles and good ole bags under the eyes. While I do not necessarily keep it, I do put it in so I know it is there and generally where. Some of this is actually fading away as far as coloring is going - slowly but surely.

The next steps are really prayer and faith based. I start. I slowly work through parts of the face. Now, I paint by smudge. What that means is Photoshop has a smudge tool that allows you to smudge things around. It is really close to finger-painting. The program actually now possess a finger-painting tool connected to the smudge tool. Here is what it looks like in a few more steps.

In order to paint by smudge, I put a bunch of colors into the drawing and smudge them around. Because the smudge tool has a pressure calibration, I can control how much smudge and umph there is in pushing and mixing color. What I don’t do is paint in each stroke like someone would on a canvas. I’m literally smearing the color around. As you can see, I am eyeballing the original photo I traced [to the left in my screenshots]. I do this to retain some of the original image’s uniqueness but honestly, that can often depend on what I end up using the end result for as far as symbol use and kingdom teaching. This is the second gorilla I have done. Below is the first young gorilla face I attempted.

Facing Compassion

Below are the original photos I used from Unsplash as points of inspiration and for the trace foundation so a shout out to these fellow creatives. You can click on the photos and you will end up on their Unsplash pages. As you can see above, the trace foundation is still present as I have only completed the face. Examine the hand. I trace in the border line between hair and the pads of the gorilla’s hands so I know where to smoosh in fur. It forces me to examine the animal much more closely instead of taking so much for granted in my formerly too busy lifestyle. At this point, the Holy Spirit plays a trace it “game” with me. If I don’t get it traced, too bad. We get to eyeball what is missing from the photo so it forces me to have some faith. Believe me, I biff the tracing too.

After some hours of work, sometimes across days, I will end up with a completed picture. Sometimes I leave things to sort of rest if you will. Revelation comes in chunks, breadcrumbs even, so it isn’t unusual for a coloring to remain partly uncolored until I figure out how it will be used.

In the case of my original gorilla featured above, I managed to work through his head and his shoulders in a shorter period of time - a new first for me - than in the past. I think that is another thing I have learned. Art, like any other job, takes time. If you look closely, you can see the digital paint colored in ready to be mixed and smudged around. As I said, I do change things so I don’t usually stay completely true to the original photograph. I will often change expression, coloring, and surroundings to suit my own purpose. Like I said, the trace is only a guide and does not confine interpretation of whatever the subject is under study.

I hope this was inspiring. You too can color! Creativity is part of all of our lives whether it is children’s art, doodles during meetings, or stick figures! I’m learning that art needs some redefining in my own landscape.

If you would like to see the entire process and the ending, check out the coloring gallery.

Now, get coloring!


Creative Shout Out: Blog Header Photo by J. Kelly Brito on Unsplash