Monday, April 16, 2018

Plotting Scenes In Living Lines


Hello, Readers! We're on Spring Break this week. Fairday's Riddles and Lizzy's Book Review will be back. Writing riddles and book reviews keeps our skills sharp, but so does using visualization to develop story ideas. Find out how our process works, and experience the magic of a pencil! ~ DMS 

Stories have the power to transport readers into another world, but books aren't written by magic. Lines crafted by hands, head, and heart are at the core of the spell. 

Neil Gaiman
A quote I like to share with students I talk to about the Fairday Morrow series is from one of my favorite authors, Neil GaimanHe says, "Whatever you do, make good art." 

This resonates with me, because as creators making art is our main business. Everything is art, and it's subjective, so all art is good. 

Enjoying the process of your work is the key to connecting with the world around you. 



The most important step in being creative is to square off a space in your life to do it. It sounds easy, but it's not. Every single thing will try to stop you. But, if you want to take your project seriously, you must toss aside external distractions and sink into your work.
Me drawing myself drawing myself on my deck at home.






























Brilliant Artists

If your goal is to be a professional illustrator, then it's important to follow the guidelines of industry leaders who have a solid understanding of the techniques and tools used to develop visual images. In this case, you'll need to listen and learn to pursue your passion and build a portfolio for your artwork.


Illustrators Who Inspire Me

Disrespectful Summons

Edward Gorey
Edward Gorey House



________________________________________


Illustration from STARDUST by Neil Gaiman

Charles Vess
Green Man Press



________________________________________
            
Unity


David SanAngelo
DavidSanAngelo.com




______________________________________________________

               
What Is Meditative Drawing?


I am not an illustrator by any means. I have no professional training and I don't know much about the ins and outs of the art business. Being on the other side as an author, I know it's a challenging career choice, and I'm inspired by illustrators with the tenacity to work in this field. I also feel they don't get enough credit for their contribution to story magic. It's tough to get lines perfect with words, but really tricky with pencils and paint brushes.

In meditative drawing there are no rules, and nothing you need to learn. It's about being you. I have my own weird rituals that go along with my practice, and if you plan to try this, you should make some up too. Once you're in your quiet spot, take a deep breath, let go, and tune into your internal vibes.


I enjoy lighting tea lights, setting up crystals, and smelling sage. These things play a part in my drawing sessions. I used to listen to music, but now it's mostly nature sounds. 

Here's a soundtrack I enjoy. 
lol, I am old timey. :)


Toolkit for Meditative Drawing
1. Fresh Ticonderoga #2 pencils
2. Drawing board & paper
3. Awesome pencil sharpener
4. Good vibes and headphones
5. Wild imagination

There are two types of drawing techniques I use. The first is what I call a disciplined drawing. This art is thought out and planned to visualize a scene in a story I'm writing. With this approach, I'm trying to make my lines neat and precise, without too much erasing. Though, as I develop my personal style, I have been incorporating more of the second technique I use, which involves the eraser on a higher level. I'll get into that mysterious part later.
The Morrow family moves into the Begonia House.
When Stephanie and I discuss a new chapter in the Fairday Morrow series, I'll take ideas from our conversation and patch them together to create a scene on paper. I'm only drawing for myself and Stephanie, so there's no pressure. Once you stop being concerned about whether or not someone likes your work, it only matters if you're satisfied with it, and that's why meditative drawing is freeing.


Ruby Begonia sees what the high-heeled sneakers can do.
Nooks and crannies of the story are revealed when I sketch out our ideas. The drawing may even change the structure of a chapter, depending on who or what pops into the picture.


Mysterious box of things in the secret third floor room.
We use talking about our ideas, and then looking at the drawings as a way to visualize stories we write together. I ended up illustrating every chapter in The Secret Files of Fairday Morrow and most for Fairday Morrow and the Talking Library


Lizzy arrives at the Begonia House in style.
The Fairday Morrow books have amazing professional illustrators, but my artwork was a unique part of our journey. I enjoy the process, and I'll continue to illustrate the next books in the series.

We made vanity copies of The Secret Files of Fairday Morrow with my drawings. It was fun, and it's cool to have one of these very limited editions, though I would NOT want anyone to read it now. Words wrangled in line by professional editors are an important element in casting story spells. 






Fairday Morrow Books
The Secret Files of Fairday Morrow illustrator, Roman Muradov
Fairday Morrow and the Talking Library illustrator, David SanAngelo

The second drawing technique I use is undisciplined and more about erasing. This style came about when I was in elementary school. The art teacher critiqued a drawing I was working on in class. 



He came up behind me, leaned over my artwork, and said, "A real artist never erases."

These words had a huge impact on me. What could that mean? Firstly, why would there be erasers on the end of pencils if you weren't supposed to use them. And, secondly, who was he to define a real artist?



I started using the eraser to reveal the picture. With this type of illustration, it's the opposite of thinking about scenes in a story and drawing them. Instead, the story develops through the space where I erase the lines. I never have a clue what will emerge on the paper, and sometimes a new idea is born. 


I have many stories that have evolved from this method; projects I pick away at. Here's a journey into a long time WIP. The characters and setting are complex and continue to expand. Different elements come about in every illustration. I do think the characters are excited to live through the blank pages. Time is of no essence in meditative drawing. It's true! You should try it. 😀
Night Garden
Cottage #5
Sisters Eye Spell 
Layers of Living Lines- See Shores of Seamessica
~ Go with the Flow ~
Stephanie and Jess teach a writing workshop on using visualization as a tool to inspire stories, as well as incorporate this aspect of their experience into a presentation about crafting a mystery. If you're interested in booking an event with the authors, visit: fairdaysfiles.com 
Stephanie Robinson & Jessica Haight 
Here's the Sketchy Scoop on Pencils

To view more of Jess's Illustrations, click here and scroll down past this video.

54 comments:

  1. It is fascinating to learn more about your creative process. And how I agree with you about the talented Neil Gaiman.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. EC- Glad you enjoyed learning more about my process. Love that you agree about Neil. :) ~Jess

      Delete
  2. Wonderful post with great illustrations. Enjoy your spring break. Hugs, Valerie

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Valerie- Thanks so much! Glad you liked the post and illustrations. Our break was much needed and we tried to enjoy it all. :) ~Stephanie and Jess

      Delete
  3. Enjoying the process sure is key, even when some of it is just for thee.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Cool you made a special book just for you with all of your sketches.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Loved hearing more about your creative process. And so true that you have to carve out the time for your work if you are passionate about it. Hope you have a great spring break!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Natalie. Time can be hard to carve out- but it is so important to follow our passions. Having a break was delightful. Finally some nice weather the past two days too. :) ~Jess

      Delete
  6. Hi Jess and Steph - wonderful to see your art work bring life to your pencil or type work! I must give it a try ... but I have zero artiness in me - yet of course I can see what happens - I'll give it a go later on. Fascinating post to read ... and I'm enjoying the waves! now to the pencil .. cheers Hilary

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hilary- I love that you are going to try the technique. I can't say enough about how much I love working with pencil and being able to erase. I think you will be surprised by what you have inside of you. The more you do it- the easier and better it gets. :) ~Jess

      Delete
  7. Oh my gosh this is awesome! You're so talented and it was so interesting reading about your process!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much for your kind words, Ashlea! :) ~Jess

      Delete
  8. I love seeing how you work creatively! It's so lovely and your drawings are magical. Also, I completely agree about carving out time to be creative--easier said than done, but so vital!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Meradeth- I am glad the post about my meditative drawing helped you see how I work creatively. I am so happy the drawings look magical to you. :) Carving out time is easier said than done- but the more you do it, the easier it gets. ~Jess

      Delete
  9. What a neat way to incorporate art in your writing process! I can see how it would be helpful to visualize a scene/characters.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Cherie- It helps me so much! I really get to know the characters and scenes. :) ~Jess

      Delete
  10. I loved reading this! Have an awesome spring break.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Patty! Break has been much more relaxing and definitely needed. :) ~Jess and Stephanie

      Delete
  11. You are such creative people, artist, writer, reader, reviewer, blogger. Each endeavor done so well. I know your workshops are totally engaging for those who attend.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lee- You are so sweet! Thanks for all your kind words. We hope our workshops are engaging for all who attend. :) ~Jess and Stephanie

      Delete
  12. Those are some fun drawings. I used to be able to draw but I haven't in years.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. L. Diane- I bet you still have it in you and you'll be surprise what come out when you pick up your supplies. :) ~Jess

      Delete
  13. I found this quite fascinating ... thank you.
    Enjoy your Spring Break.

    All the best Jan

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Glad you enjoyed the post, Jan. We had a lovely spring break. Nice o recharge a bit. :) ~Jess and Stephanie

      Delete
  14. I loved these! Especially Me drawing myself drawing myself. Lots of talent in these illustrations.
    Enjoy your break.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sandra! Aw! Thanks so much! I love that drawing too. :) Break has been wonderful so far. ~Stephanie and Jess

      Delete
  15. It is so important to have a space (physical and time-wise) to do a little creating :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anna- Without a doubt! :) ~Jess and Stephanie

      Delete
  16. People who can draw amaze me because I have no talent in that area. I wish I did.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Kelly- Thanks. :) Your writing speed always stuns and amazes me! ~Jess

      Delete
  17. Love the drawings. I can't even draw a straight line with a ruler, so I leave the drawing to other people to do.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Kate- Thanks for your kind words. I bet you are better at drawing than you think you are. I am not the best with rulers either. ;) ~Jess

      Delete
  18. I LOVE this post!!!! Jess, you are so talented! I love that you made a special book just for you, but maybe one day, you might share it??? Have a great Spring Break!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Magic Love Crow- I am so glad you loved the post. Thanks for your super sweet words. I love drawing and it gives me a lot of joy and relaxation. Who knows- one day I may share the special book I made. :) ~Jess

      Delete
  19. I love your drawings. Thank you for sharing the intimate view of your process.

    Enjoy the break! Mine is next week.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The Armchair Squid- Thanks so much. :)

      I hope you enjoy your break too! ~Jess

      Delete
  20. I love your drawings. I've always wished I could draw but I just am not talented in that way. My husband and daughter both are though, they love to draw.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Mary- I mostly draw for myself, but it gives me a lot of pleasure. I am sure you are better at drawing than you think you are. How great that your husband and daughter love to draw. :) ~Jess

      Delete
  21. I love the erasing technique. That is amazing!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Chrys- I couldn't draw without erasing. It makes all the difference! :) ~Jess

      Delete
  22. Enjoy your spring break, interesting post!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Christine. If only breaks were longer. :) ~Jess

      Delete
  23. Awesome. I like your drawings. Some fun ones here.

    ReplyDelete
  24. I like to think of erasing as "undrawing."

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That is awesome, Cathy! :) ~Jess

      Delete
  25. Enjoy your break. Yes, drawing and erasing!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Authors with Advice- Break was delightful. Today especially. :) ~Jess

      Delete
  26. Thank you for such an insightful post. I can't say I have ever given mediative drawingbut I'm with you all the way on the lighting of tea lights and the setting up of crystals.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Tracy- Lighting tea lights and putting out my crystals always makes me feel calmer. If you like doing that too then you may love meditative drawing. :) ~Jess

      Delete
  27. Fascinating. Now I want to draw. Thanks for the great post. Have a wonderful spring break.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Happy drawing, Beverly. I hope you had a chance to do some drawing since you commented. Break was lovely! :) ~Jess

      Delete

Thank you for stopping by and commenting. We love to hear your thoughts! Fairday's Blog is no longer accepting awards. We appreciate all the nominations that we have received and are honored to have been mentioned! Happy Reading!

Twitter Bird Gadget Twitter Bird Gadget