Visual art and creative writing work together.
Many authors routinely drew pictures to explore their worlds and imaginations, and many fine artists routinely write poems, stories, and even technical writing (grants, artist’s statements, blog articles). Like handwriting, the amazing art of drawing often relies on pen or pencil. To that I like to add marker, for fast shading. I like to say that the written word is tiny graphics, just like a little drawing.
For writing, some types of drawing are better than others
Some types of drawing don’t work well for the generative phases of creative writing. The fine art ‘presentation’ drawing, which is meant to be a standalone, finished, highly polished artwork is more like a short story, edited and fully refined. It’s awesome, but takes far too much time. The tonal study, such as a still life in charcoal, requires a lot of observation and time too, and materials that dirty up any nearby computers. Nor is the in-depth etude, or nature study, all that useful. For me the best attitude for writing purposes is the Fast Sketch, the Ideas Sketch, the Perspective Study, and/or Compositional Study. These are quick, inventive, scribbly-loose studies whose main purpose is to help sift and sort the possible rough visuals for an image. They can be incomplete, elegant, sparse, and speedy.
These examples all come from my sketchbook for my science fiction mystery novel, Infinite Things, which is set in a future New York City where a new economy equalizes resources, emphasizing eco-sustainable inventions, utilities, and lifestyles. The two main characters, both police detectives, must navigate these environments in order to solve the murder of a critically important diplomat. To brainstorm about setting, character and ecology (a.k.a. ‘worldbuilding’) I find it’s easier to draw pictures than write with words.
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