Thinking about Visual Thinking

…and character development. By sketching, doodling, drawing every day (thanks to SkADaMo challenges with Linda Silvestri and Alison Kipnis Hertz’s Doodle Day fb group) I have become aware that a lot of my creative process does not take place in my head, but though visual communication with my hand. Sound crazy to anyone? The shape of one curve often interests me enough to change the way I’m drawing a character from the visual I had in my head. Often ‘accidents’ happen that are more appealing than what I was attempting. I thought I’d share an example – how I came upon an alpaca while trying to draw a dog!

PQradade Dog_03(2)-1So here was one attempt at a dog, utilizing black so that I could concentrate more on the shape and how it was working for me. It wasn’t. Do I want this dog to have more anthropomorphic qualities? Should he be able to stand on two legs? Hold on to it, but create a new file.

PQradade Dog_04-1Fun lines, but this did NOT look like a dog to me! Nope! Next…

PQradade Dog_05-1Now I have really taken a departure form the canine world! but now I see something quite different, a different species altogether…’follow your nose, Julie’…another file!

PQradade Dog_06-1Now I see, it’s an alpaca! But so stiff! I’ll play, and add color too…

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No dog created, but I found this delightful creature! So I allow myself to write a crappy story draft, and draw crappy sketches – a workable piece could be in the next file!

Not-So-Accidental-Blog-Tourist-Hop

FrogSleepwalkingWelcome to this wandering tour of blogs by artists – writers, musicians, painters, photographers, and more. Catherine Johnson invited me to hop-along.

CatherineJohnson

Catherine is a female Dickon (Secret Garden clue for kid-lit lovers), currently swinging a maple stick in a hockey tree –  with a worrisome weakness for fried Kiwi and chips, or was it fishlips? In any case she writes and paints funny stuff – check out her blog and books at catherinemjohnson.wordpress.com

Now to blog-hop questions, and the stuff I am currently working on: portfolio pieces in preparation for the regional SCBWI conference in September; a fish-out-of-water picture book dummy; a ms based on a folk song; a rhyming board book (yeah, me – a rhymer – go figure!), and a slew of others in need of further polish. Also excited about 3 board books I illustrated for Bailiwick Press, due out in October.

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How my work differs from others of its genre: With illustration, I try to harness the energy of an initial sketch; I scrap what isn’t working and start fresh numerous times. Maybe that is why my work is simpler, less detailed, but that doesn’t mean the process is any less complicated (that’s what I tell myself!). I spend a lot of time on the emotional connection in the face or posture of my characters. Humor and imagination are what I hope to convey and promote in both my illustrations and writing.

JJJSchmidt

Why do I write/create what I do? I am a picture book junkie. The way the words and pictures meld together with the imagination of the readers elevates my spirit. The desire to make them has not always been there, but I have always found creative outlets, and still cannot understand how anyone gets bored.

How does your writing/creating process work? A snippet of a word, a scent in the air, a memory released by the shape of a cloud  – anything, essentially, can spark the process of writing or illustrating. I trust my gut to take me on it’s own journey, then later apply skills to shape, restructure and refine. When I feel good about it I will send a manuscript draft to my AWESOME online and local critique partners (sometimes 27 times – sorry, pals). Doodling every day has improved my drawing skills tremendously – I am truly grateful for the Doodle Day facebook group for the support, encouragement and super silly fun.

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Passing the baton to fellow artist Dani Duck at Dani Duck: Artist ObscureMarried, toddlered and reluctant cat owner. Writes, Illustrates and Moms. Basically awesome. Seldom boring. Avid coffee drinker and chocolate fan …

photoCheck out Dani’s post on Monday, Aug.25th – HERE