Colored pencil exclamation points ‼️

I’m excited to share my first completed work of 2023 — Exclamation 1.

Exclamation 1 is 22” x 30”, colored pencil on paper.

exclamation 1 colored pencil drawing -- yellow, lilac, brown, deep blue, neon pink, and process red colored pencil exclamation points drawn on white paper

The inspiration #

Exclamation 1 was inspired by excitement. Excitement for the new year. Excitement to be living in this big, wild city. Excitement for colored pencils and nimble drawing fingers. Excitement for what’s to come and excitement for what’s here right now.

I also just like exclamation points. I think they’re fun. They remind me of texting my friends “omg!!!!!” after they share exciting news.

The process #

exclamation 1 colored pencil drawing next to an exclamation hole punch and stencils on a light pink background

I started this piece in early January and finished on Sunday, February 5. My pace was slow and methodical. I showed up most days to draw for at least 50 minutes, or 2 pomodoro timers.

The colors I chose somewhat at random, although I’m not sure anything in art is ever really random. I started with neon pink, spanish orange, and cobalt blue (maybe my colored pencil rendition of CMYK?) before adding grass green, dahlia purple, process red, and lavender. Tuscan red I added to bring some balance and depth to the piece after realizing my current color scheme reminded me a little too much of Lisa Frank.

About halfway through I realized I was probably going to need more colored pencils in those specific colors, and was a little worried when I realized that lavender had been recently discontinued due to pigment availability (a thing I was not previously aware of but now causes me some concern). Thankfully, I had another lavender pencil in an older set of colored pencils because I yes am a hoarder of colored pencils.

six process pictures of the exclamation 1 drawing on a pink background

It was through making this piece that I realized sometimes the act of making art doesn’t always feel creative. Sometimes it felt like a moving meditation. Other times it just felt like work.

I often made progress on this piece in between work meetings. I kept all of my pencils out on the dining table and the paper stayed hanging on the wall so I could easily pick up where I’d left off. Keeping my materials readily accessible is such a simple and yet life-changing tip. Highly recommend!

The title Exclamation 1 might make you wonder about Exclamation 2, and 3, and so on. I too am wondering about that! I think I’d like to make more using different color schemes. But I also have a lot of other ideas bouncing around, and I’m not sure when I’ll get back to drawing exclamation points. Hopefully soon!

Process, inspiration & life update video #

I also published a video where I talk through the process, which includes updates on art classes I'm taking, things I've been feeling (loneliness, anyone?!), and how I'm tapping into the wisdom of my body.

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