That’s right, YOU.
I’m talking to you, buddy. By drawing my characters from my novels, I find that I can describe them better and get under their skin in my books. I’ve been drawing Anastasia Knight, the protagonist in The Reformation Trilogy, since last summer. As you can tell from the pictures above, her anatomy and overall impression have transformed immensely. I had been drawing since I was a very young, but I really started to draw people when I started writing books. Something about putting them down on paper brings them to live. By coloring them, it helps me to see what shade of hair they have and what is their body type. You may be saying to yourself, “I can’t draw!” or “It’s too late, I’m forty and I have never even taken a drawing class.”
Guess what? You can draw.
Besides some art classes I took when I was REALLY young, I’ve never really been to a DRAWING class. On the contrary, I’ve taught myself, watched videos, looked at pictures, taken advice from others, and have improved. One day, I hope to illustrate my books. Of course, my anatomy is far from perfect. However, drawing is just like writing in this regard: Both writing and drawing take hours of practice. I have no clue how long I’ve spent on drawing and writing… Do I even want to know how many hours? I’ve invested hours and hours into these characters. I’ve drawn Anastasia Knight probably over a dozen times, and she keeps getting better. Soon, I’ll have to start over with another character. Some character I have a knack for drawing; others, not so much. That’s OK. Here’s five reasons that you should learn how to draw (or keep drawing!):
- It brings your characters to life. There’s nothing like looking into your character’s eyes on a piece of paper and thinking, “He/She looks real.” Your character no longer seems just a figment of your imagination. Now, that character is staring you in the face and saying, “WRITE ABOUT ME!”
- It helps you to describe your characters. By sketching out your characters, you can see where that funny mole is on your character’s face or the way that your character smiles. It helps you to see how your male protagonist hunches or poses in a picture.
- It saves you the worry of hiring an illustrator. One day, maybe you’ll design your own cover! Maybe you will illustrate your books. You won’t have to rely on another illustrator to bring your characters to life. It’s like handing off your movie rights to a book and saying, “Here you go!” They mess it up. No matter how hard they try, they won’t be able to capture the magic that you can by drawing your own characters and scenes. I have a friend (who runs this blog) who is doing a graphic novel. How cool is that?
- It helps you to see if you idea is as good on paper as it is in your head. Say you envision something that seemed really awesome in your head. Then, you draw it on paper and oops… your super-high-tech-neon-green gun doesn’t seem so cool anymore. By drawing, you can actually see if you idea makes any sense.
- Finally, it gives your mind a break from actually writing. Please don’t call me crazy yet. Let me explain. You see, by drawing, you’re writing yet you’re not writing. You’re living through your story without actually typing words on a Microsoft document. It gets your inspiration going. It helps you to become a better author. It allows your mind a rest without actually doing nothing. On the contrary, you’re still putting your skills into something that’s fun and relaxing.
Convinced yet? Please, invest in some supplies. Oh wait, you don’t know what supplies to buy? Got that covered. Here’s your essential list of supplies to kick start your drawing:
- Smooth Bristol paper is what I would recommend for drawing because it’s thick, smooth, and great for markers.
- An HB pencil. Now, I’ve been drawing with a regular number 2 pencil for a while now. Either works fine, but an HB pencil is your common choice for drawing.
- Inking pen(s). I have three micron black pens. One is .1 size, another is .3 size, and the last one is .5 size. After you sketch your drawing, trace over it with these pens. Let the ink dry, and erase with…
- A block size eraser. And BAM! You’ve inked a drawing (I’ll cover inking and coloring another time)
- An organized space for your equipment. I have an art box with several compartments to store my markers, pencils, etc. I definitely recommend that you buy something to keep your stuff organized and that can be taken on-the-go.
- Finally, invest in some Prismacolor or Copic markers. Search for either of these markers on Google, and you might see the price first. $7 a marker may seem outrageous at first, but hang with me. Many art supply stores offer great coupons, such as Michael’s and Hobby Lobby. I usually print off or use my phone for their 40% entire purchase coupon that they offer regularly. I’ve gotten some great deals on markers. I’m not going to get into the Prismacolors Vs. Copics debate. I’ll let you decide that for yourself. Both offer a vivid array of colors. Now, regular markers and pencils pale greatly in comparison to the colors that these markers offer. Invest in a set (don’t forget your coupon!) and enjoy. Go a few times a month and buy a new marker or replace one that’s out of ink, and you’ll find yourself with a collection of markers before long.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this post. Maybe, by drawing out your characters, the key of publishment will be uncovered. Happy drawing!
Until next time,