Thursday, April 28, 2011

Second Helping of Scribblins

More scribblins? Yes please!

Maybe it's obvious, since I'm an illustrator and all- but I am a very visual learner. What this means when I'm developing a story is that I often don't understand something until I draw it. For example, I didn't really know what my character's apartment building was like, until I drew it.

The very act of drawing opens up her world to me. My mind wanders as I'm doodling- who are her upstairs neighbors? Who lives next door? Where is the laundry room? Will the neighbors mind if she roller skates in the house? Maybe writers do this sort of exercise in a "writey" sort of way. Me, I can look at this doodle & remember the feelings I was having and the world I'm trying to create.

Similarly, drawing her (ex) best friend helped illuminate her character to me. I knew she was very pretty, a little bit plump and a lot bit vulnerable... but drawing her makes me feel her character more than writing those things.
(click for a larger view)

In my picture book classes at Pacific Northwest College of Art, we often talk about what comes first, the pictures or the words. From interviews I've heard, Maurice Sendak wrote his text before illustrating anything. I tend to come at it the opposite way- I think in pictures first, and add the text to support what I've drawn. Maybe it's unwise to go against the ways of The Great One, but I think every author and illustrator needs to find the system that works for them.

3 comments:

Elizabeth Rose Stanton said...

Our Pratt class was talking about this very thing the other day. I agree with you about the process...I tend to come at it the same way--drawing first...then the inkling of a story comes. Thanks for sharing a bit of your process. You sure seem to get a great result (in spite of doing it "the other way" ;)).

Nina Crittenden said...

Love the Scribblins! Vicki- you are so sweet to show us how you work. We love it! :)

nothingoverlooked said...

Thanks for your insights into your process. It's really helpful and I'm grateful. you have a great sense of humor too.