16 August 2014

How to overcome the fear of the 'blank white page' in 3 easy steps



We have all experienced the paralyzing fear of the blank page. Its white vastness staring up at us, challenging us to make a move. But we can’t, because we have this preconceived idea that the marks we put down on this paper have to be perfect, they have to be beautiful, they have to be worth sacrificing this untouched blank white page.


All of which is not true.

I am often asked about creating backgrounds and building up layers “whats the secret?”

Well, its no big secret really. For me its just about letting go of the need to control the outcome, jumping right in and wiping out that intimidating white expanse.

The process is quick and intuitive, I don’t think about it too much. I know I will be working back into this layer later on, it helps me to not become precious about it. It frees me up to experiment and go with the flow.

I also use unconventional ways of applying colour to the page, again to take away from the fear of ‘painting perfect’ that often comes with a brush in hand.

These three simple steps are the typical of the way I begin any artwork.

Step 1: Add some texture with paint. Use some card to scrape it over the surface of the paper.

Step 2: Use a teabag dipped in warm water to squeeze over the surface, rub it in, hold the paper up and let it run. Experiment.

3: Introduce inks or washes of water colour. Add some pools of water to your page and then drop a splash of ink into the centre of the pool…watch as it bleeds out.


And there you have it – a new and exciting background to start working into and the fear removed!  Maybe this will inspire your drawing/painting/collage to take a new direction too.

Top tip: create several backgrounds at the same time…have a few pages lined up and ready to splash paint on.


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