Thursday, January 25, 2007

Sketching

Status: 14,ooo words.

I'm one lucky bastard. My 'day job' is as an artist. I draw comics, do caricatures, storyboard low-budget movies and do the odd tattoo. Variety pays the bills. There are no carpet-walled cubicles in my life, nor hot grills, cash registers, paper hats or deep fryers. (Actually, McDonalds wouldn't have me: too many tattoos. I'm desolate.) I'm not rich, but I don't know what I'd do differently if I was. It's a happy, happy feeling.

When I'm at 'work', I sketch. I'm a scribbly artist, laying down lots and lots of little looping strokes with my trusty blue pencil until the shape of the thing comes out. By then my hand has a feel for the line, so that when I switch over to the sharpened number two pencil that single best line flows right on out there.

And for comics or tattoos, the pencil line itself is just a stage. The 'real' line is ink: spare, bare and elegant.

I write the same way. This first draft is my blue pencil sketch. There are lots and lots of lines I won't use, and I keep going back to the early chapters as new aspects of the story reveal themselves. This used to be a pain in the ass, but then I found Rough Draft, a thing of beauty and grace.

3 comments:

Charles Gramlich said...

I've most often been a "polish as you go" sort of guy, which means that I do a lot of rewriting as I move along, especially at the beginning of the story. It certainly slows me down early but helps me with rewrites later.

H.E.Eigler said...

Hi - I surfed over from Razored Zen. Like Charles, I tend to edit as I go...It's kinda obsessive and I wish I could get over the habit. I'm envious that you can write first and prune later.

Best of luck to you!

Steve said...

Dean Koontz and Tomr Robbins are both polish-as-you-goers too. Usually somewhere deep in the middle of my second draft, I really, really wish I did that too.

But the fact is, I just can't. I've got a nasty little inner critic I keep in a rusted iron cage. If I let the little guy anywhere near a work in progress, he'll tear it apart before it gets a chance in life.

Later, I set the little bugger loose and let him rip. He's never totally happy, but when he subsudes down to grumbling, I know I'm close to my final polish...