[RANTS] “Why Didn’t You Finish It?”

“Why didn’t you finish it?” is a question that makes me think twice about posting an image. Rather than making me re-think not colouring the image or colouring it in a different way, it makes me think do I really want to post up the image, show people it, and have them ask “why didn’t you finish it” when I consider the image to be complete? It’s something that even the THOUGHT of gets my blood boil.

There are many times I draw something and my intention is not to colour it. Sometimes, my intention is to simply splash colour over it, often to give an idea of what the colours will/should be (usually seen in my sketches showing off a character design before I draw a legitimate image of it). These images are generally drawn in what I call “sketch doodles”, which are sketches that are more like doodles that pay less attention to proportions and are drawn much looser than my usual sketches. I do not colour these images because they are meant to be concepts, not solid works. Occasionally I’ll redraw the image as a proper sketch, but that’s only if I like it enough.


An example of a doodle sketch with colour splashed over it. This was meant to show of Kelly’s Kalos region clothing and colours for quick reference.

Generally when people are asking me “why didn’t you finish it” and “you should colour it” and numerous other variations on the two (“you should finish it!” “that looks so great, I can’t wait until it’s finished!” – oh geez, I want to start crying with thinking about all of these and not in a good way), they are referring to the whole shebang of sketching-inking-colouring. In their eyes, they see an unfinished image, just waiting to be inked and coloured. I see a completed image, left in what appears to be a raw state, just as intended.

I have different states of drawing where I know if I want to colour them or not.

State 1: The Doodle Sketch – these are NOT meant to be coloured and if they have ANY colour on them, they are splashed on top of it to simply give an idea of the colours. They are meant for concept doodles or simply just to entertain me.


State 2: The Shaded Sketch – sometimes doodle sketches, other times finished sketches with more solid lines, these shaded sketches are complete to me and intend to have no colour other than the shading I had done in pencil. They are done in black & white and contain no inking other than solid pencil lines. They give the sketches a more finished look without placing colour over it.

A GREAT example of a shaded sketch. I coloured in the drawings with pencil to help give them a more solid feel. (The blue colour was added on post-drawing)

A GREAT example of a shaded sketch. I coloured in the drawings with pencil to help give them a more solid feel. (The blue colour was added on post-drawing)

State 3: The Solid Sketch – these are sketches where I take my time to figure out the proportions, look up pose references (if applicable), use multi-coloured pencils to draw the lines, and line them with a pencil to be scanned and adjusted on Photoshop in preparation for inking and colouring. THESE are the ones I intend to fully colour with the whole shebang these people are talking about.

Screen shot 2013-06-18 at 04.58.15 AM

Solid sketch prior to Photoshop adjustments

Screen shot 2013-06-18 at 04.58.47 AM

Solid sketch after Photoshop adjustments.

I’m sure anybody reading this doesn’t understand why I’m so hard on the division of these states. I’m sure some people would say I’m being black and white. Do you know what? I suppose I am. Sometimes being black & white is a good thing.

I don’t like colour. I don’t like colouring. It’s time consuming. The results are often less than desired. The many different colours overstimulate me, just like a room with too many people, causing me great unease. Sometimes my hands start hurting from holding onto the pen for too long or my carpal tunnel begins to flare up.

Sometimes too, I just want to get something up quick. Something that I think looks great JUST the way it is, something I feel is completely ready to be posted, something that is as finished as I am willing to let it be, something that isn’t tainted by the curse of colour or the curse of wasting time over something not satisfying.

Other times, do you know what? I just want to do a drawing in black and white. I just want to do a drawing that I splash colour over and be done with it. It’s fast, generally satisfying (especially the black and white), and often gives a great final polish to the image, despite not having the entire sketch-ink-colour process done to it.

It just angers me so much when people ask me why it’s not finished or why won’t I finish it or if I’m just going to keep it that way, with an implication that I should colour it. It’d be one thing if I said “oh, I like this sketch, but I don’t know if I want to colour it or not…” and then they said “you should colour it”. But nope. It’s “I drew a new picture!” “It looks great! Are you going to colour it?”


I’m afraid to post up my Wind Waker playthrough comic because of the potential flood of “why didn’t you colour this” comments. The comic is intended to be entertaining to read, quick for me to draw and to post. It’s meant to be something that would take me no more than an hour and a half to do, if that. I almost don’t even want to post it because of those potential comments and that I find it hard to explain that I just didn’t want to ink and colour it because I wanted the comic to be fun to read, quick to draw, fast to post, and best of all, not time consuming and stressful for me. I do want to start crying because it’s a concept I don’t think people will understand, even if they themselves draw and colour.


Chapter 1, Page 4 of the WindWaker playthrough comic.

Sometimes, colour is just not worth doing.

Have I ever changed my mind and coloured an image? Yes, on two occasions. I had done a bunch of sofilpaketch images and I decided to colour two of them because of their popularity and of the haunting “why didn’t you finish it” question going around in my head. One of them was a picture of Kelly and her Pikachu, Sparkle. The other one was of Faye up in the sky. While I am kind of glad I fully coloured the Faye image, the Kelly & Sparkle one…not so much. The coloured version lacks the cuteness of of the original sketch and I feel like the lightness of the sofilpaketch works much better for the image than the “polished” version.

I miss the days when I was drawing and didn’t show the pictures to the world. Then, whether or not I coloured them didn’t matter. Rarely anybody complimented me or complained. It was nice.

Scanned Image 131300001

Perhaps it’s something I should get back to.