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I have drawn all my life and in college considered becoming an art minor. Life drawing was one of my favorite classes because I loved drawing people, not fruit in a bowl. I got stumped writing a while ago and tried to talk myself through it. I started remembering drawing class and found some cross overs that helped me in writing.

Here are some:

Drawing–Map out quickly and move on. We would put pinpoints on our 18 by 24 pieces of paper to ma out where the figure would be. We could rearrange, but after a couple of minutes our instructor would prod us to move on. We had 9 hours to complete the picture. If you wasted too much time declaring what you were going to do, you wouldn’t have time to finish the picture.

Writing–Declare and go. Do what you need to do to get organized. Outline, write out your general idea and where you want the story to go, then go. If you spend too much time fine tuning your outline or pounding out what should happen next, you may never get there. You need to start the project. You’ll figure out what happens because you’re a writer.

Drawing–Creation is a messy process. Charcoal got everywhere. You’d forget it was on your fingers and wipe the hair out of your face. It’d get under your nails. It would smear on the page. If you accepted the fact as much charcoal might end up on you as the page, enjoyed yourself, you would get great results.

Writing–Creation is messy. It’s not always pretty. It will get everywhere. It will follow you through the day. There will be rough spots. If you admit this will happen up front and keep on working, you’ll go a lot farther.

Drawing–Step back to see the full picture. We spent a lot of time almost pressed up against the boards, obsessing over small details. We needed to step back every now and then to make sure we were paying attention to the full picture. If you didn’t, you would have a hand that the viewer could shake, but the rest of your human looked tortured, submersed under water.

Writing–Don’t agonize over the minute details like wordsmithing. It will make rewriting that much more challenging. Get the whole thing written out, your full picture, then go back and start adding and subtracting to make it perfect.

Drawing–When you’re transferring what you see to the page, it can sometimes get lost in confusion. It can be frustrating; you know what you want to draw and it is not happening instantaneously. That is why you layered charcoal, smudged, shaded, and developed that area.

Writing–The scene, the description, the dialogue is always perfect and brilliant in our head. Sometimes things get lost in translation from our minds to the page. I find it’s best to not erase (because then you’re editing) and write down word for word what was in your head. Over describe, put the adverbs in. You can change it later.

Drawing–You have to practice daily. If you practice daily, it becomes comfortable and you can improve. We had sketch books that were checked a couple of times a semester. We had to sketch at least one 15 minute sketch a day. If you kept up, it was no problem and it showed in class.

Writing–Working on your larger project every day keeps you in that train of thought. The story comes easier if you pick up where you left off the day before than two weeks ago. You can become more inspired and even take more risks.

Drawing–Large works take time. We weren’t expected to do an 18 by 24 drawing in an hour. We were given 9, 3 class periods. We needed to budget our time.
After those 9 hours (actually, 8 hours 45 minutes because we always critiqued the last day) you needed to declare the drawing done.

This is where writing branches off. You need to budget your time, practice daily, declare and move. But after 9 hours of effort on your large project, you don’t have to declare yourself done. You get to keep going.

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