5 Ways In Which Sketching Inspires Writing

5 Ways In Which Sketching Inspires Writing

For a very long time I believed that drawing was an inherent ability, and only recently I’ve learned that it is actually a skill. I became interested in sketching recently, after working part time in an art department. I started taking classes through SVS Learn, and have been astounded not only at the progress I’ve made, but at just how much there is still to learn. Sketching has proved to be very enjoyable and relaxing for me, and while I’ve been sketching, and daydreaming, I’ve noticed several ways in which sketching can inspire my writing:

#1. Idea generation:
It can be just as daunting to stare at a blank sketchbook, as it can to stare at a blank screen, or notebook when you sit down to write. For a while, I felt like I had no idea about what I should draw. But as in writing, I have found that if you turn to the world around you, inspiration is everywhere. The best writers are great observers, and by watching the world go by, watching people interact, and then using my imagination, I am able to come up with great ideas for both sketching, and writing! And good ideas beget good ideas – the more time I spend observing, and brainstorming, the more ideas I get!

June 13

#2. Preparation:
The amount of preparation that I put into a drawing has amazed me. I’ve seen so many artists who look as though they can just put pencil to paper, and a brilliant sketch just seeps out of their pencil. Perhaps they can. But I like to plan out what I’m going to draw; where it’s going to sit on the page, what direction it will face etc… I find the same with writing. I need to plan out my story, map my characters, but at some point, I actually have to sit down and just write. Preparation is an important tool in both my writing and sketching.

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#3. Eraser Use:
I have yet to get a sketch to come out perfectly the first time I draw it. I make very liberal use of the eraser, and sometimes it feels frustrating to continually be correcting my work. Ultimately though, this is what makes my work look the best it can, and the same is true for writing. It feels really wonderful to finish a first draft of a novel, but it is so important to remember that that’s just the first step. What makes writing wonderful, is the editing, and fine honing of our work.

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#4. Colour choice:
I really enjoy using colour in my drawings. Colour makes me happy, and I feel like it adds character to my drawings. I’ve taken a colour theory class, and there are certain guidelines to follow in terms of colour choice. The same is true for writing – while there is a lot of room for creativity, there are still guidelines to follow to make your writing believable and convincing to your readers. Using ‘colour’, whatever that may be in your writing, enhances that realism, pulling your readers deeper into the world, and the characters you’ve created.

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#5. Details: 
What really makes one of my sketches come to life is the fine details – shading, blending, following the line of the sketch. These are all easily over looked elements, but are essential to the sketch looking polished, and finished. It is still amazing to me how different my finished drawing looks from my initial rough draft, and the same is true in my writing. The more details I add, in both my writing and my drawing, the more my work looks, and feels real. This is especially important, because my novels are in the fantasy genre. Making readers accept that magic is real, and commonplace in the world that I’ve written, requires intense attention to detail.

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Do you sketch? Do you find that it inspires your writing? Tell me in the comments below!

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7 thoughts on “5 Ways In Which Sketching Inspires Writing

  1. Hi Rachel, what a great post. I’ve always wished I could draw but I’d never realised how close it was in theory to writing. I love the octopus picture!

    • Hi Lynne! Thanks so much for your comment! I too was surprised at how similar writing and drawing are! There are a lot of great online courses, and YouTube tutorials out there, if you’re interested in learning to draw!
      Thank-you very much for the compliment! Reginald the octopus is one of my favourites too;)

  2. Hi Rachel, really enjoying the site. I had a chat with a friend yesterday who is 12 years old and he loves drawing. He showed me his sketch book and his passion for the art made me get fired up about my writing. We chatted about comic books, his drawings, movies and when I left I felt like someone just recharged my batteries.

    I now realize–for me–the visual component is many times more important for me than to read tons of books looking for inspiration.

    • Hi Jim! Thanks for the lovely comment!

      I too am finding more and more that visual cues are so important to storytelling! I love the many tools we have at our disposal to relate our stories to one another! Thanks for stopping by!

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