So this week I’ve been continuing with my third book idea, but I decided to save the real big progress update till next week, when it’ll be exactly a year since I started writing. Instead, this time I did some fun side-quest stuff, and made some sketches and props for the book!
In the majority of my book ideas, I don’t put too much of an emphasis on what the characters look like, or specifically, what they wear. It’s just a detail that usually doesn’t feel necessary in the story. However, in this book, the clothing becomes something of a plot point, and I was getting to the bit in the chapter where I have to describe it, but the words just weren’t playing ball, it was too vague. So for once, I decided that I had to design an outfit. Or actually, 2!
I went on google and found a dress that looked roughly the right style, but there wasn’t one that was an exact match for what I was thinking of. So I started to plooter about on Gimp ( a free alternative to Photoshop), because even if I was as rich as Jeff Bezos himself, I still couldn’t justify paying Adobe’s prices. I’m below beginner level at picture editing, but I had a go anyway! I took off some of the sleeves, changed the colour a bit, and moved the neckline.
And this is what the edits looked like- it looks a bit wonky in the bits that I meddled with, but I guess these things are better from a distance, right?
Once I had done that, I drew it down on to paper. It would’ve saved some time if I had just done this in the first place, but I find drawing out of my head terrifying, so I needed a reference first!
With one finished, I felt much more comfortable to do the other one.
I am by no means an artist, so I always get a bit anxious about drawing, it feels like a constant pressure that you’re going to mess it up. With Microsoft word, you can just delete a word you don’t like or a spelling error, but there’s only so many times you can rub out a mistake on a drawing till you tear through the paper! I guess that’s one reason why I’m more comfortable with writing than with art!
Still though, despite the looming dread of ruining it, I thought it was more fun than I expected, and even though they were just small sketches, I felt really proud that I now has a little bit of ‘behind the scenes’ stuff to go along with the book idea. Plus, I was able to make the passage in the book a lot better with a bit of a reference picture.
So I kept writing, until I got to a point in the story where a character shows off some maps. Since I’d actually enjoyed doing the previous drawings, I thought it would be a bit of fun to make these maps for myself.
This time I had written the description in the book first, which meant my job of drawing it was a lot easier, since I knew what I had to do. The first map was of the main village setting, which is actually a real village (my hometown), so luckily I could find a layout easily enough on Google maps, which I modified a little bit to suit the story.
I actually spilled water on this one by accident after I drew it, so I’m really glad I got this picture first!
The second one was of a pub layout. There are real pubs in the village, but I’ve never been in them, so I just had to make it up as I went along.
The third and final one is of the school building, which I remembered the layout of easily enough, since it was where I actually went to school. Also in the story, the character had added pictures to the map, so I found myself on Gimp again, trying my best to edit some pictures I found (of a different school) to look like they might’ve been cut out of a recent newspaper, but I’m not sure how they turned out. After editing, I got the pictures printed off and sent to me, and stuck them on.
I was actually really happy with the maps in the end, and I found them a LOT more fun and easier to make than the clothes sketches.
So although this was a bit of an easy week in terms of progress, it was a lot of fun to try and make some stuff that is actually featured in the story, and I feel like I’ve got a cool keepsake now to always remind me of the idea!
Next week it’ll be a year exactly since I started writing anything, so I’ve currently stopped faffing and started a mad dash to see how much I can get done before then, so I can hopefully have a bit of a celebration of a full year of writing!
So last week while I was out doing some gardening- cat proofing the soil so they stop doing their business there- I found a little bee wandering around. He was a bit of a slow mover, and I wondered if he was OK. To my surprise, he climbed up on my finger unprompted, and sat there for a while for a rest. When he’d recharged his batteries, he got up and flew over to the lavender plants; thankfully I was able to get a picture. I’m very honoured to have been a bee’s resting spot, I wonder if he knew how much I love bees…
A picture handmade
Worth respect, any day.
If it doesn’t look perfect
No problem with that,
Give art a go.
Thank you very much for reading!