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Coloring Outside the Lines

“That's nice, but you colored outside of the lines right there.” I peer at the paper. Where? Oh that, up at the turtle's head. I was almost finished. I just got sloppy. “You should really try to stay in the lines.”

I like to color, and I'm good at it. I choose surprising colors and I mix them, make shading (even the background), and I don't leave any white. Sometimes I mess up - maybe the tip isn't sharp enough, and just the smallest smidge feathers outside the lines. Then I take my crayon and I outline it real heavily, to make it look like I did that on purpose.

Then I start outlining inside the lines. It looks better that way, and it all stays even.

Everybody likes it, and my friends all start outlining too. They think I'm clever.

Eventually I realize that colored pencils are much better, rarely sneaking over that printed black. The outlining phase has run its course. I just start lightly on this side of the line, until I make it to safe ground. I experiment with blending, but I always seem to leave smudgy fingerprints outside those stupid little lines.

Smudging runs its course. I put away the coloring books for a while.

I like hopscotch, but I hate those little cracks inside the blocks. I take extra special care making each block even, but then sometimes those little sidewalk cracks have to creep in and ruin the whole thing. I work with them, extending them, turning them into a part of this art. It has to look right. It has to look even. “Come on, can we just play?

“Just a couple more minutes. I'm almost done.” It's a little vine with flowers, curling around to flow into the zero on the ten. Just a few more...I can't mess the whole thing up now. I'm almost done.

I love art, and I can't understand it when my grades start to slip. “Amanda, you really need to finish your project.” I work on it longer than anyone!

I can't mess it up. I can't get sloppy. “That's just laziness, Mandy.”

It looks real good, doesn't it? Why did she give me a C? “I'm sorry, Amanda. I gave you extra time to complete it.”

I doodle on my homework. The doodles have to be even. If the pen leaves blots, I write the whole paper over. I copy worksheets onto notebook paper and tell the teachers it just got too cluttered as I was working out the problems. I swear off Bics and their stupid random blotting. I throw out a journal they ruined, too.

In college, I have an art teacher who hates realism. Say what? She gives me crap grades even though I'm doing a great job. She can't even draw anyway. She lectures me about not doing anything spontaneous. I turn in my journal that week with a collage of Dopey porn, pouring an arc of purple jizz across two pages onto Snow White's quivering breasts. I take a white-out wand and scribble all over it, making the biggest unholy mess of my life, drawing a gigantic middle finger and dotting it with sprinkles.

It was hard, letting go like that and doing artwork so freely. That bitch gave me a D.

I drop the class, buy a fifty-nine cent pack of colored pencils and a Noah's Ark coloring book, and spend a few therapeutic hours coloring oh-so-very-carefully.





This has been my Week 16 entry for therealljidol. If you enjoyed it, please consider voting for me if there's a poll this weekend.

Comments

( 63 comments — Leave a comment )
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aimingforpeace
Jan. 13th, 2009 04:37 pm (UTC)
WOW. That's really good.
ahavah
Jan. 13th, 2009 04:38 pm (UTC)
Thanks so much!
(no subject) - spydielives - Jan. 16th, 2009 04:53 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - ahavah - Jan. 16th, 2009 04:55 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - spydielives - Jan. 16th, 2009 05:02 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - ahavah - Jan. 16th, 2009 05:04 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - spydielives - Jan. 16th, 2009 02:12 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - aimingforpeace - Jan. 16th, 2009 02:18 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - aimingforpeace - Jan. 16th, 2009 02:16 pm (UTC) - Expand
shadowwolf13
Jan. 13th, 2009 04:43 pm (UTC)
Art is personal and will rarely be the same for any two people.

Wonderful entry.
ahavah
Jan. 13th, 2009 04:49 pm (UTC)
I agree. That's part of what really peeved me about that particular teacher.

Thank you!
ednoled
Jan. 13th, 2009 05:09 pm (UTC)
"...And in the end, Billy drew a picture of a perfect red flower, and handed it to his teacher. Billy's teacher, pleased to see such perfection, noticed a small signature at the bottom of the paper, Expecting to see a florid script of Billy's name, the teacher was aghast to see, scribbled in tiny pencil mark, the words, "Cram it."

Call me inspired. Great post.

Edited at 2009-01-13 05:10 pm (UTC)
ahavah
Jan. 13th, 2009 05:11 pm (UTC)
That's awesome! Thank you. :)
merenda
Jan. 13th, 2009 05:15 pm (UTC)
> with a collage of Dopey porn, pouring an arc of purple
> jizz across two pages onto Snow White's quivering breasts.

HOLY CRAP that is AWESOME!

My tattoo artist had a related experience. His teacher reprimanded him for not choosing *one* medium to work in. So the night before his final he broke into the art room, and made the entire room a *ahem* living work of modern art *ahem* (He totally trashed the place). That was his final college piece. He quit school immediately after (he was almost done, but just lost total respect for his main teacher).

Now he's a world-wide known artist. :)
ahavah
Jan. 13th, 2009 05:47 pm (UTC)
I'm glad you enjoyed! I thought it was A-work material.

I'm glad it worked out for your artist friend. Did he get busted for trashing it?
(no subject) - merenda - Jan. 13th, 2009 05:50 pm (UTC) - Expand
baxaphobia
Jan. 13th, 2009 05:44 pm (UTC)
Wonderful. For different reasons I can relate to the "D" and the "c" in art class. Smile.
ahavah
Jan. 13th, 2009 05:48 pm (UTC)
Well the truth of it was that I wasn't very good even with all the extra attention I gave it. *laugh*
plastrickland23
Jan. 13th, 2009 09:05 pm (UTC)
Grading can be so unfair...especially for artistic and non-concrete things. It's also hard on the student who does not get a clear understanding of what the teacher wants. There are a lot of teachers who are inept at thinking outside the lines...they are too bogged down or burned out to make the effort. Sad comment on our school systems, including in colleges.
P.
ahavah
Jan. 14th, 2009 02:57 am (UTC)
Yeah, that seems to be the case about many creative outlets. I hear they do the same thing to aspiring writers everywhere. :P
theafaye
Jan. 13th, 2009 10:33 pm (UTC)
Have you heard of the anti-colouring books? If not, you should check them out (they're available on Amazon) - I think it's the kind of thing you and your family would love.

You just outline (heh!) the problem with some school teachers - it's all about getting everyone to produce the same thing in the same way. Humans simply aren't wired like that.

I really enjoyed this entry :oD
ahavah
Jan. 14th, 2009 02:57 am (UTC)
I haven't heard of them, but I'll definitely go check them out. I'm glad you liked it!
boxsofrain
Jan. 14th, 2009 03:07 am (UTC)
I want to kick that bitches ass for trying to take away your creativity. Well done, and the hopscotch line and cracks in the ground brought back so many nice memories.
ahavah
Jan. 14th, 2009 03:17 am (UTC)
Why thank you! So did I. :) I'm glad you enjoyed it.
alycewilson
Jan. 14th, 2009 06:53 am (UTC)
I like this creative take on it. Especially your response to the art teacher!
ahavah
Jan. 14th, 2009 06:21 pm (UTC)
Thank you! I was quite proud of it, once I embraced the whole unleashing thing. ;) Actually, I think I still have that art journal somewhere.
deza
Jan. 14th, 2009 06:46 pm (UTC)
I had a similar run-in with a creative writing teacher who didn't like prose poetry.
ahavah
Jan. 14th, 2009 07:02 pm (UTC)
I hope you unleashed your creativity in a similar, very fulfilling way. ;)
(no subject) - deza - Jan. 14th, 2009 07:04 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - ahavah - Jan. 14th, 2009 07:10 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - deza - Jan. 14th, 2009 09:19 pm (UTC) - Expand
jenandbronze
Jan. 14th, 2009 10:06 pm (UTC)
This was excellent. It reminds of the drawing days of my childhood,... i don't do it any more, and miss it... I don't think i could pick up a pencil or pencil crayons as easily as I did as a child... *iz sad*

Great entry.
ahavah
Jan. 14th, 2009 10:08 pm (UTC)
I'm sorry to hear that you couldn't color anymore. I never had real skill, but it's something I've always enjoyed doing.

Thank you!
(no subject) - jenandbronze - Jan. 14th, 2009 10:12 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - ahavah - Jan. 14th, 2009 10:16 pm (UTC) - Expand
abbismom
Jan. 15th, 2009 05:13 am (UTC)
"Snow White's quivering breasts" OMG!!! LMAO!!! great entry, my friend!

*still chuckling*
ahavah
Jan. 15th, 2009 01:00 pm (UTC)
Thanks! I'm very glad you enjoyed it.
brightflashes
Jan. 15th, 2009 05:09 pm (UTC)
This is awesome! great entry! : D
ahavah
Jan. 15th, 2009 05:13 pm (UTC)
Thanks so much!
puppetmaker40
Jan. 16th, 2009 03:29 am (UTC)
Art is subjective. What one person sees as trash is another person's most treasured piece.

Well done.

I like what you wrote here. It is very raw.
ahavah
Jan. 16th, 2009 03:37 am (UTC)
Thank you so very much! I'm really glad you liked it.
bewize
Jan. 16th, 2009 05:55 pm (UTC)
This was very good. Sobering.
ahavah
Jan. 16th, 2009 09:44 pm (UTC)
Thank you!
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