Tuesday 30 December 2014

The Value of Drawing Your Novel's Characters.

Due to my work's nightshifts there are days when trying to write prose is a game not worth the antelope.

But I like to keep things pumping so, if I'm cranking out a novel draft, one of the things I'll do on a write-off day is draw stuff from said draft. And my first point of entry will be character portraits.

I'd recommend it to any writer, no matter your artistic ability (as you can see mine's so-so at best). Firstly, it keeps your brain on the ball manuscript-wise. Secondly, the process of drawing your characters brings you closer to them. It's an oddly intimate process:  you may think you 'see' your characters, but what is the stance of their frame, the arch of their neck? How, indeed, do your characters pose for a portrait?

The character portraits I make never--at least not quite--resemble the face I had in my mind. But that's not the point. In fact that might even render the whole exercise pointless. 

No, the greatest benefit I get from drawing characters is the slow reveal of a face I never expected. New layers of my characters' personalities are excavated in the drawing process. That can only help the manuscript. At the very least it can't harm.

I'll most likely do update posts as I draw more. I may even invest in some pencil crayons. 

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