While doodling with the kids this past week I focused on character creation. So often (for me anyway) a character emerges as a sketch before I know what her story is. Usually as I am sketching away, spending time with the character, the story begins to reveal itself to me – some of it anyway. That has not been the case with the most recent story I’ve been working on. I conceptualized the story. I figured out my structure. I even wrote my first draft, but I still hadn’t met my main character face to face (visually at least). Now most writers wouldn’t think twice about this I suppose, but as a storyteller who approaches the craft from the visual perspective, well, that just has not been my modus operandi. It left me feeling uncomfortable.
So what better way to work out this problem than surrounded by 8 elementary students. I let the kids know what I was up to. I previewed the story for them. I started to dig in. I received on the fly feedback throughout the week. It was invaluable.
I brought these sketches to my adult crit group yesterday. This final sketch is the kid, but there will be some costuming tweaks. Thanks New England Crit Group With No Name.
I’ve recently started an unofficial art club with some kiddos during recess. We’ve had about 20 minutes to sit and draw whatever comes to mind. Admittedly, I’ve been noodling a little after school, still itching to draw. The content is random – whatever is falling off the pencil. Though the ninja turtle came by request, and who could deny a little Michelangelo?
I’ve relished the opportunity to sketch freely. Recently, I’ve been clickity-clacking on my keyboard more than drawing, and the kids provide an ideal cohort/crit group for some care-free paper scratching.
Here are my sketches from the first week of the group.
Sometimes when I have a story idea, I just need to start drawing to get a sense of the world in which the story lives. This is one of those drawings. I feel that the focus necessary to engage in a drawing like this helps me to start to live within the story before I ever put pen to paper. I’m excited about this one.