My Personal Writing Hack: Drawing
Note: At first I held off on this post because I felt like this hack would pretty much just be helpful to those who can draw well or doodle, but as I went along drafting this post I realized this hack may encourage writers to look more into honing their art skills or at least consider it. So if you can’t draw well or haven’t considered using this hack before I’d still recommend you still read this.
So a personal writing hack of mine is to draw while I write or brainstorm for my stories, I draw characters, locations, buildings, items, scenes, etc.
The reason why it helps me stems from the fact my drawings give my eyes a sort of visual guide for my writing. I go more into this in the points listed below:
1.Clarity and Reference: Sometimes it’s hard for me to transfer what I’m imagining in my head into words or at least in a way that conveys what I’m thinking best. When that happens I usually whip out a pencil and sketch the scene or interaction taking place in my head. I do this for things such as fight scenes, when I have to describe an environment or room, how a character is dressed, etc.
This creates a reference for me and helps make things quicker to write about. In other words, it’s easier for me to write about something I can see directly in a physical sense.
For example, I’d have an easier time writing about what a llama looks like with a picture in front of me, than to go off of what’s in my mind or memories.
This has especially been useful because I tend to write a lot of fantasy and fiction with magical items and creatures you wouldn’t encounter in real life. I can’t just google what does a “drykolren” looks like because a drykolren only exists in the fictional story I created. (Or at least at the time I’m writing this, who knows, maybe someday a drykolren will appear and this example will make no sense, but I digress.)
Having a drawing reference also helps me stay consistent with the look of characters, creatures, and other elements so I don’t accidentally add or forget about certain details to said element’s look.
2.Time: There’s a saying that goes “a picture is worth a thousand words,” and this is literal when I work on my outlines. Sometimes my outlines for chapters or scenes are just that, a picture. I doodle a quick sketch that represents what happens in the scene and I use it for reference. Then, when it comes time for me to write my draft I just glance at the picture and I fully remember what to write about. Not only does that method work great, but it also saves time and words.
3.Engagement: Some days I just don’t want to write, plain and simple. Maybe it’s because I’m avoiding a draft I have to revise or I can’t figure out what to write next, or maybe I’m just not in the mood to sit in front of a screen and type for hours. This mindset descends upon a lot of people, not just writers, and it can be kinda frustrating when you still want to get things done.
So when this happens I sometimes turn to drawing instead of writing. Sometimes I’d draw scenes with certain characters while thinking about aspects them like personality traits, or maybe figure out certain looks for buildings or the environment. This helps because when I do get back to writing after this, I have a clearer idea of what to highlight and detail within my story.
I find when I do this it tends to help with world building, planning character development, or fleshing out ideas for lore. Although I may not be directly working on my draft, it helps me build upon my story in other ways.
So, if you want to try this hack where do you get started?
I’d start by loading up on pencils and finding something to draw on. I’d recommend getting a sketchbook for those who prefer to keep things organized. I’m basing this off the fact many of my artist friends do this and it keeps things neat and in one place.
I personally tend not to use the sketchbooks I buy that much, I prefer just drawing on blank sheets of paper or on sticky notes rather than in a neat book. (I believe this is more of a preference thing.)
If you’re rusty at drawing I’d recommend practicing every day because you will improve, abet slowly though. There are many free art tutorials online that start from the basics like shading and perspective, and if your willing to spend a bit you could sign up for an online art course or hire an instructor.
If your not too rusty or you just want to jump into using this hack, then by all means go ahead. Sketch whatever you want from your story, feel free to challenge yourself to create sprawling scenes or design characters, go wild.
What if you have no interest in learning to draw, but your still interested in seeing parts your story illustrated for reasons similar to what was listed above?
If you can’t draw or don’t plan on learning any time soon, but you would like to see elements of your story illustrated, maybe consider paying an artist for a commission or concept art. There are many types of artists and illustrators out there with different styles who specialize in different aspects of drawing and will draw personalized drawings for you, for a fee.
Some are really great with environments while others dabble with character design. Keep in mind though that if you want something more complex like a full-scale environment or detailed character in color, then expect the price to soar. I’d also recommend going in with a strong idea of what you’re looking for in said illustration.
Also please do keep in mind these artists are people who still have bills to pay and art takes time, so please be polite when commissioning an artist and respect their prices and rates.
To end I’d like to say I’m happy I finally got to spill about this hack, I really believe there’s something about seeing your story in a visual sense that’s just amazing and hope I’ve encouraged some writers to at least consider dabbling with drawing.
Well, that’s all I have to say about my drawing hack, I know there are many hacks out there to help with writing but I thought I’d share one of my favorites. Thanks for reading, and until next time! 🙂