Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Sketching & Writing

If any of you follow me on Facebook or Twitter, you may have noticed some sketches I've been posting. So far they are all ballerinas and they are all pencil sketches, very simple things. I chose ballerinas as my subject because they are something I feel passionate about. I don't feel the same way about cars or flowers.

Let's get one thing clear: I am not a visual artist. Oh, I've done my share of abstract paintings but I've never been able to draw something that looks like something else. That to me is a real artist.

Let's get another thing clear: I have no intention of pursuing visual arts. This is strictly a hobby for me, something I want to enjoy and not take too seriously.

So why bother at all?

First, I wanted to learn something new and I wanted to do something that I could see marked improvement (or not) over time. I thought it would be cool to draw reference images for my characters, particularly in my zombie novel, Sweet Sorrow, and my steampunk novel, Mystic Chords of Memory.

Second, there is a direct correlation that I see between learning to sketch and my writing:

I don't expect perfection the first time. I draw, revise, draw again. I use my eraser a lot. I move things around, like an arm or a leg. I sketch a simple head as a placeholder until I can learn to draw a more complicated one. I know that it can't possibly come out of my head and into my hand in the exact right way - and that's okay.

I don't mind criticism from others. I post the sketches each day and welcome criticism, likes or dislikes, advice and suggestions. I appreciate the encouragement from friends but I don't think it means anything more than they like that I'm trying something new. It's very easy to distance myself from the sketches because they don't feel personal to me. As much as I love them, they are simply my creation.

I aim for improvement in a specific area with each new sketch. I don't think I can become an expert at heads overnight - certainly not heads and hands and clothing texture. I look for one thing to work on whenever I pick up my pencil.

I don't wait for the muse to move me. Every night at 11PM, after I am finished work for the day, I decide which image I will attempt to sketch and then I do it. I don't agonize over it. I pick one and start. And the next night I do the same thing. It's only been a couple of weeks but it's already become a habit.

And now, for the first 10 sketches...
Day 1

Day 2
Day 3
Day 4
Day 5

Day 6

Day 7

Day 8

Day 9

Day 10

Thursday, July 24, 2014

This weather is murder - free short story

Hi everyone! It's been about a million years since I posted here but I have been wicked busy doing the writing thing. But it's a hundred degrees out, which makes me aggravated and anxious and on edge, like many people so I thought I'd post a short story I wrote a few summers ago, called "Murder Weather."

A quick read. If I were a boastful person, I might call it a cross between Shirley Jackson and Stephen King. But since I'm not, well, it's a quick read and it's free.

Click on the title link below the image to download/read.

Enjoy and stay cool.