Flowers Don’t Compete – Beauty #1

I recently did an ‘Absorbent Idea’ periscope on Beauty and Makeup. It was based on a series I did back in 2013. The conversation was so interesting I thought I would do a new series on Beauty. Let me know what you think!




So, one of the big things about outer beauty is the curse of comparison.  How do you know who is and who is not beautiful if you aren’t comparing them, right? But comparing is wrong, isn’t it? Doesn’t that lead to feeling bad about yourself or judging others?  

I actually say no, it doesn’t IF rightly understood.  The word compare is neutral. It doesn’t have to assume judgment and condemnation, it can simply assume evaluation.  ‘Her eyebrows arch high’. ‘Her highbrows don’t arch’.  That is comparing and contrasting, not judging.

But you might say that is all fine and dandy but we know that judgment will naturally follow with a statement like, ‘I like arched eyebrows and I don’t like straight eyebrows.’ Isn’t that right?  No, it isn’t right.  There is no intrinsic reason you have to state a judgment or a preference after noticing a difference between two things. You can just notice and absorb while exploring and admiring both.


When the trouble starts is when the thought of competition comes in. That there is going to be a loser and a winner in beauty.  That the purpose behind comparing is to compete. That there has to be a judgment that that ‘beauty’ is more beautiful than me.  But think about a flower. Does a flower say it needs to look like a different type of flower to be beautiful? No, it doesn’t. It might compete for nutrients in the ground with another flower, but that is not about beauty, that is about survival. It isn’t trying to be judgmental or critical of the other flower. It is not saying that flower isn’t beautiful. It is simply doing what it needs to do to survive and thrive. It does it’s best to get everything it needs to be it’s best.

Your Beauty

If you do the same then you will always have your beauty. Your beauty will be genuinely yours. Not someone else’s, yours. Your style, your shine, your colors. And you won’t have to compete with anyone else for it.

Drawing and commentary © 2015 Marty Coleman |

Quote by Cornelius Lindsey, 1986 – not dead yet, American Preacher



Money Problems #4


Your Mind Torn

When you are ‘torn up’ about something in life, what is it that really is torn? It’s your mind. For example, I have a friend who has fallen in love with a married man. Her mind and heart are torn.  She thinks everything of this man and so she is willing to do everything for him, including risking destroying herself.

Your Focus is your Reality

What you focus on in life is what is real, even when it’s not.  Spending your life focused on the existence of Bigfoot doesn’t make Bigfoot real.  It makes your pursuit of him real.

Believing Untruth

Believing money will do everything for you in life doesn’t mean it’s true (it’s not).  It means you will do everything (and anything) for money without regard for your own (and others) health, safety and well-being.

The questions you have to ask are:

  • Why do I think it’s true even though it’s proven to be false?
  • What do I gain from believing it?

Answer those and you are on your way to a more balanced way of thinking about money (or anything else for that matter).

Drawing and commentary © 2015 Marty Coleman |

Quote by Voltaire, 1694-1778, French writer, historian and philosopher




The Stranger at Starbucks – Anatomy of Success

Three times in the last week I have gone to a coffee shop and drawn.  The first and second time led to pretty good drawings I thought.  But the third time I struggled to get a good drawing.  

I thought I would show you the drawings and explain some of the reasons why it went the way it did.  Of course, there isn’t a reason for everything in art and creativity so I am not trying to explain it as if it’s a science experiment (where there is a reason for everything).  But I think it can be helpful to show failures as well as successes.


The Stranger at Starbucks

I had to take my car in to have something looked at so took some of the waiting time and went to get coffee and breakfast.  I was hoping to find someone interesting to draw and Periscope live as I did so.  I went to Starbucks and as I walked in I noticed a woman sitting in the corner with her back to the window. She was at a small 2 person table and was talking to someone facing her.  She had a nice brochure in front of her and seemed to be explaining something about a company or a sales opportunity. 

First Attempt


The woman had a beautiful long face, eyes that were slightly turned up and a wide, expressive mouth. But in trying to capture those elements I exaggerated them.  I then reduced her neck and shoulders in size as I tried to complete the drawing. The result was  more of a caricature than a portrait. It’s not terrible, but it wasn’t what I wanted. I wanted to capture what I saw as a beautiful set of expressive lines and I don’t think I did that.


Second Attempt


This time I thought I would do the drawing in my sketchbook.  I started the same way I started the first drawing, with a simple line.  I was focused first on seeing and drawing the line that went from her forehead all the way down to her chin.  Getting that to flow right was key to the rest of her face. I then went back up to her eye and worked on it’s shape and the line of her nose.  By that time I already knew my initial line was off.  My solution was to force myself out of that obsession with accuracy by changing my technique to a more gestural one. In other words I decided to draw fast and furious, going over a line multiple times as I went.  It allowed me to correct the lines I didn’t like and move more spontaneously in the rest of the drawing. 

However, even with a gesture drawing, if you start out with a fundamentally flawed construction, it can be hard to bring it back. And that is what I had done. By the time my initial work on her face was done I knew I had her eyes too high on her face and that their shape made them look vacant and amateurish.  But I continued on thinking perhaps working with shading would fix the problem. It didn’t.  I was able to do pretty well with her body this time around but it wasn’t going to matter if how I drew her face made her look like an alien, which it did.  I worked it a bit longer before I decided there was only one more thing to try, and that was to lower and reshape the eyes. Unfortunately, I had already so overworked her eyes trying to save them that lowering them made them look even worse.  I gave up at that point.


Third Attempt


I decided to try one more time on a napkin. I was determined to be spare and simple with my line and learn from what I just done. This time I started with her forehead line, then her eye, wanting to redeem myself after having drawn them so bad the first two times. I felt good about the first one, the one farthest from me and continued with her nose and jawline. At that point I felt I had a better start than the first two. 

While her mouth is proportionally larger than average, in the first drawing I had made it too big. This time I waited until I saw her talk enough times to see how her lips looked and drew the four lines as fast as I could.  Then I focused on getting the other eye right. After that I felt I had the bones of the drawing right and could move on to her body and hair with a loose and simple confidence.

This one is the best of the three, I have no doubt. The academic issues of proportion and shape are dealt with effectively and the expression allows for interpretation and imagination.


Success From Failure

So, I think I finished with a success. A minor success so far, but a success nonetheless.  But I wouldn’t have achieved that success without the ability to walk away from a failure. Stopping something and saying it’s a failure is not failing in the ultimate sense. It’s simply admitting something is beyond repair, learning from it, and moving on to better things.

Drawing © 2015 Marty Coleman |



Brooklynne Studying

I had a Dr. appointment yesterday to look at my Achilles Tendon (it’s sore and I have a marathon coming up). After the appointment I went to Starbucks to hangout and draw.  I saw this woman’s blonde hair shimmering in the sunlight as I walked in and found a table close enough so I could draw her as she studied.


(The drawing is available for purchase, original or print. If you are interested email me at to inquire. )

I brought my sketchbook but decided to draw on a Starbucks napkin instead.  If you look at the line drawing only version below you can see how brown the paper is. I usually shy away from coloring these napkins because of that but this time I thought using shades of gray to create a monotone image would be cool. But as I colored I started using colors that were bright.  Next thing I know the drawing is colorful!


After I finished the line drawing I showed it to the woman. She seemed to be happy about it. I told her why I started drawing her (her hair) and she said she has only cut it once in her life, way back when she was in middle school.  Even then it was still mid-chest so not really short.  Her name is Brooklynne and it turns out she has won a few beauty pageants.  I expect she will win a few more, as well as some academic scholarships. She was studying hard!

She wanted a picture of herself with the drawing and so I took one on her phone and another on mine.  



You can see the live Periscope video of me doing the drawing here.

Drawing © 2015 Marty Coleman |


Money Problems #3


This drawing is available, original or print.  Email me at to inquire.

Money or Sex

Is this about money or is it about sex?  When I was drawing it live on Periscope the #napkinkin talked a lot more about what it says about sex than what it says about money. Maybe they just aren’t that different?


Drawing © 2015 Marty Coleman |

Quote by James Baldwin, 1924-1987, American author


You can watch the creation of the drawing and the guessing of the quote on the Periscope replay.

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