I think most coloured pencil artists (not all) have a stage in their artwork that is called "the ugly stage" by a lot of them. Its the steps were colour has just been laid down, where the blending effect hasn't happened, where a piece lacks any kind of tonal value, looks really flat. In short it looks like crap :p
I find this is usually the stage where newcomers to CP get really discouraged. Most people that have never used CPs don't realize how long it can sometimes take to get the same effect that can take minutes when using paint. Its hard when you look at such a piece to keep going; more so when people tell you just "keep at it", Rome wasn't built in a day yada yada. I never wanted to build Rome, just wanted to be able to make Lassie look more like a dog than a rat with dreadlocks :p (and that still happens)
When people ask me for advice on using CPs, I ask them if they have a lot of patience? Do they mind making lots of mistakes until they find out the best way for them to use coloured pencils? Do you like having pretty much nothing to clean up? (big selling point for me and really who loves cleaning? ;) I am sure leaving oil paints and turpentine in my bedroom closet did wonders for my head :p though that might explain a few things lol).
Honestly I wish I had a magic wand to help newcomers to CP to not get discouraged (and to wish for Gerard Butler). I can suggest so many things to help a person, but that person has to want to take the time to learn. Don't think your first piece will be a masterpiece and all past CP work worldwide will cower in comparison. Some people are naturally good at CPs (hmm wheres my wand when I need it? ;) My first CP piece will never be seen. Possibly tossed out, or burned :p ). For others it takes time.
Posting art when it is at this stage can be hard sometimes. Sometimes reading what others think can be a little hard to deal with; or you mess up the piece and never finish and don't want people to see the failure. Posting art though can be so helpful in so many ways. Always good to get another set of eyes to see the piece (and family doesn't count ;) ) Colours can be suggested and different supports can be talked about (paper, board, canvas to name a few).
I guess is what this post is trying to say is that to get past the crap stage takes time and effort and sometimes outside help. Ask a lot of questions as there are a lot of people that are more than willing to help. Actually try to listen to the answers you get, instead of asking again until you get the answer you want. (hmm this sounds like the end of an after school special)
So my questions for readers are:
1) Best advice you have ever been given about CPs (or your favorite medium)
2) Any advice you can giver other CP artists? (not just in getting past the crap stage)