Friday, January 6, 2012

Drawing Inspiration

Jemi Fraser wrote a terrific post >>here<< at  From the Write Angle about getting to know your characters. One of her suggestions was attempting to draw them.

For some reason that sounded fun to me. I was struggling with my WiP and feeling desperate for inspiration.

I pulled out one of my kids' sketch books, broke out a pencil that I think survived my days in art class in British school in Hong Kong (don't ask me why I still have such a thing lying around when I haven't used it in 15 years) ... and attempted a character portrait.

Disclaimer: I am not an artist. My purpose here is to encourage us all to put ourselves out and try new things, even if we're not very good at them!!

Here are the first attempts:
Which were not right. At all. None of these girls looked like my protagonist. A couple were close, but ... nah.

I almost gave up.

But then decided to try one last time:
And there she is! I know she's not perfect. Still, I felt like I was looking at her.

It gave me a rush to put a face with the name. Her name is Kara, by the way.

And, you know what? The week I drew these pictures, I pushed through and finished the second draft of this particular WiP. My little drawing break did the trick!

Have you ever tried drawing one of your characters? What other creative approaches do you use when you're getting to know them?

21 comments:

  1. Two things:

    1. Ironically one of my MC's names is Kara too! (Actually her name is Akara, but the other MC calls her Kara.)

    2. Your drawings are quite good! Mine would look like five lines with a circle for a head :) However, one of my CPs emailed me a picture of what she thought Rydan (my other MC) looked like and I was like 'whoa! That's him!' Turns out my MC sorta looks like the dude in the animated movie Tangled, even though I had never seen it before then. Haha

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  2. Man, I wish I could draw. Maybe I could draw my MC as a stick figure, cause that's about as good as I can get! LOL :) Great idea though!

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  3. That's awesome! Well done. I might have to try that. I've had such a day of distractions. Maybe I should take a break and draw. I'm in desperate need of inspiration.

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  4. Lovely. :) I've done this from time to time, never very successfully, but my husband (who really can draw) got the idea for his current mc from a sketch he did. I think it's time I gave this another try...or maybe convince Mark to draw her for me. ;)

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  5. I'm so excited right now! I love Kara (great drawings!)- and I'm thrilled you were able to break through with your story! Awesome :)

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  6. How fun!! She looks fantastic!! Makes me itch to try but wow stick figures are my thing. LOL. I might though....

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  7. Thanks for the idea. I think I am going to take my protagonist swimming.

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  8. I'm not an artist either, but I tried this recently and loved it! Plus, my kids thought it was fun that I was drawing with them.

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  9. I doodle characters, but I'm not much of an artist. I love your last pic.

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  10. I have never tried that. How fun!

    And just so you know, at your request I'm refraining from asking the question. ;)

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  11. I can only draw stick figures. O<-<
    Sincerely,
    Straight Line

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  12. Hi Amy, you are absolutely right to draw in order to picture your characters. That's what I did and thanks for sharing your thought. I feel that you're going to be the next Pearl Buck. Now I'm going to send my Über Agent my drawing.

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  13. You're pretty good, Amy. I have to sketch all sorts of things -- rooms, maps, houses, plants, food and people -- and I find all these things ground me in the story better. I've never used it consciously as a trick to keep writing, so I hope I will remember it next time I have trouble.

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  14. That's a great idea to visualize the MC in your book via drawing. For those of us who can't draw, we can google for pictures on the internet until we find the one that fit the MC in the book. Wishing you, Amy, that one day your book will be made into a movie, so that you can see Kara on the big sceen.

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  15. That's a great idea to visualize the MC in your book via drawing. For those of us who can't draw, we can google for pictures on the internet until we find the one that fit the MC in the book. Wishing you, Amy, that one day your book will be made into a movie, so that you can see Kara on the big sceen.

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  16. Your drawings are lovely and so much better than I could ever come up with! When I started my WiP, I thought I was going to title it after a name in Hong Kong, so I commissioned a photographer to snap a photo of that street sign. I've since changed the title, but the photo has always inspired me and kept me going.

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  17. Wow, I'm seriously impressed. Unless my characters are stick people, no, I've never drawn them. But I think this sounds like fun and I might just give it a try today! Thanks Amy AND Jemi :D

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  18. Oh dear, I am a disaster at drawing. I've pulled pictures though. And made playlists. And also, I've written chapters about them in other people's perspectives so there's that.

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  19. Hello!
    I attempted to draw my characters last year... and my attempt was dismal! You've done so well.

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  20. She looks strong with a tender heart. I think your art skills are good! I've never drawn a character but I have cut them out of magazines and pasted them into a journal.
    Catherine Denton

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