How to Cope with the Ugly Stages of a Drawing | Top Tips

Mar 18, 2022
How to Cope with the Ugly Stages of a Drawing - Bonny Snowdon Academy


When drawing in coloured pencil, there are many stages that your drawing will go through. There's the good, the bad and, definitely, the ugly! And sometimes, with coloured pencil being such a slow medium, it can feel like you're stuck in that ugly stage forever, and it can be tough staying positive when you're really not happy with what's looking up at you. 
It's unfortunate, but it happens. So, to try and help you before you lose hope altogether, I thought I'd share my thoughts and tips for getting through the ugly stages of a drawing. 


Remember That It's All Part of the Process

It's very easy to lose confidence and motivation when you come to these ugly stages of a drawing, so understanding that it's an expected part of the process will help. When you're drawing realism, it's important to remember that it's not a quick job. Your drawing isn't going to look realistic after one or two layers of pencil, it's going to look real after a few layers and quite a lot of work.

So, remind yourself of what stage you've reached in the process and be patient. If you know you've still got a way to go, don't get bogged down thinking that it looks terrible. Picture the stages you'll take to get to the end and imagine how amazing it's going to look once you've worked your way through them. 


Encourage Yourself!

When I first started drawing, I used to have little post-it notes on my drawing board, which would say things like: "Keep layering!", "Follow the process!", "Don't worry if it looks horrible!". I found them really helpful. And, it's having things like that, that will really help to cheer you on. 

If you believe in yourself and your ability and give yourself the encouragement you deserve, you'll make your life so much easier! 


Find What Works for You

I like to work in sections; it breaks the piece down into manageable chunks. I always start with the eyes, because I find it almost comforting to see the dog, cat, horse (whatever subject it might be), looking up at me as I draw. Plus, by breaking a drawing up into sections, you have a smaller amount of ugly to deal with when you hit that stage, and it helps me to stay focussed and determined, knowing I've only got a small portion to work through. 

Finding the method of drawing you like and find easy is the best thing you can do. Draw in a way that feels comfortable and the most enjoyable, and don't make things more difficult for yourself than you need to. 


The most important thing to remember is that you're not alone; every coloured pencil artist goes through an ugly stage when drawing. Keep your head up, try to stay motivated, and keep your mind on your end goal. 
Give the video at the top of this page a watch to get a more in-depth idea of how I cope with the ugly stages of my own drawings. 


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