I Draw Like I Write

I've been drawing again, and every time I do it, I realize more and more how much my drawing process is like my writing process.

I drew as a kid, but stopped when the things I drew didn't come out like they were in my head. I would doodle occasionally, but no more. So I guess that's the first similarity: I quit because I thought I wasn't any good.

Something inside me still wanted to do it, though, because I bought Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain a few years ago and worked through it. I think it was that book, more than anything, that taught me one of the most important lessons of my life: I learned I can be good at anything I want to be good at, if I'm willing to work hard.

Okay, so the first thing I do when I decide to draw is I don't. I write down "draw" on my todo list and put it off for a few days. Then when I'm done with that, I open my sketchbook and stare at a blank page for about 5-10 minutes. Why is this important? It's not. It's bad, actually. But I do it every time because: I'm afraid of drawing (or writing) something wrong.

When I finally get started, I plan. When you write, it's called outlining. When you draw, it's called blocking. Not everyone does it, but I do because I want to know that everything is in the right place before I start drawing "for real." So in both: I plan until I'm confident the end product has no major flaws.

Lastly, when I write, I'm constantly going back over each scene and chapter to clean it up. This is sometimes wasted effort when things get cut or rewritten, but I do it anyway. Apparently I do this when I draw too. I'll start with maybe the left eye, and I won't move on to another part until I've got all the detail - not perfect - but good. See: I want the part I'm working on to be "done" before I move on.

I guess I shouldn't be surprised that I treat both kinds of art the same way. It's me, you know? I am surprised at how much fear plays into both processes. I guess I need to work on that.


Hilabeans said...

"I'm afraid of drawing (or writing) something wrong."

Wow - I always think this before I begin. It's good to know I'm not alone in my hesitation. Thanks for posting!


Natalie Whipple said...

This totally cracks me up. As you can imagine, I draw like I write too. And it's a lot less planned. hehe.

SM Blooding said...

I...*long sigh* used to be that way.

And then I was so exhausted and I couldn't write and I could draw and I couldn't play (flute, oboe, bagpips, piano, guitar, etc. If it's an instrument, I play it.) and I couldn't do my arts and crafts. Nothing. Nada. Zip.

So then I got tired of putting up with the frelling really-not-nice-person that I'd become, so I said to heck with it! It's art! It'll come out the way it does and it'll be great to the person who looks at it and says that it's great.

And now? *helpless shrug* I can't stop writing, drawing, painting, playing, crocheting, knitting, sewing, etc.

Brooke C said...

Wow, I go through much the same process...good to know I'm not the only melancholy, procrastinating perfectionist plagued by fear of failure in the blogosphere.:)

Adam Heine said...

Brooke said: "good to know I'm not the only melancholy, procrastinating perfectionist plagued by fear of failure in the blogosphere."

I thought it was a requirement, actually :-)