How drawing has taught me much about writing.

I’ve always drawn. By no means would I consider my art of professional quality, but I am what I consider a talented amateur. Most of my life drawing was how I expressed myself. It was my escape. Now I find myself exploring writing for the same reasons. Having done it for a while now, I find that many of the lessons I learned teaching myself how to draw apply to my writing as well. A good picture requires a good basic layout as a story requires a good, basic plot. Once that is decided, you concentrate on detailing the picture to project the elements that will make it recognizable. Same with a story. It has to be fleshed out to make sense. Then you apply the fine details that will define the picture, making it uniquely yours. Writing is the same. However, just as with artwork, you can overwork something to the point of destroying it. That’s not good. A couple of months ago, I sat down to draw a portrait of Dawn Wells, Mary Ann from Gilligan’s Island. It started out quite well, but I just could not get the image I saw in my head down on paper. I kept working it and changing it, and working it again until it became one of the worst portraits I had ever done. Instead of looking like Mary Ann, it looked like a bad drawing of a bad porcelain doll that kind of looked like Mary Ann. I hated it. I knew I was capable of better, but had just not performed to my expectations. My drawing has taught me that while detail is important, you use what you need. No more. No less. That’s when it works. 

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