Tag: writing advice

Transforming Art into Words

Elijah Cole by Luis Paredes. Pen, ink, and pencil drawing on paper.

Sometimes words just aren’t enough. When I’ve hit a wall and can’t find a way to describe a character, I break out my art supplies. After a few minutes, the face that’s been hiding within my mind’s eye reveals itself on a sheet of bristol board or watercolor paper.

It’s exhilarating! Suddenly, the hero (or villain) of my story is staring right back at me. I’m always surprised by the details my subconscious adds to a drawing: scars, unique jewelry, missing extremities, or funny headwear.

These items or physical characteristics usually make it into my story and sometimes they don’t. Either way, I appreciate their appearance because they always help me find the words I needed.

“Luther” Illustration by Luis Paredes.

Storyboard Tip

This magic isn’t limited to characters. I often fall back to illustration when a particular scene doesn’t fall into place. When this happens, I’ll print out a few storyboard panels and sketch out the action. I’ve found that this technique helps me find my way out the jumbled mess I’ve written.

“Egon and Peyton” Illustration by Luis Paredes.

Free Storyboard Download

You can find plenty of storyboard templates and apps (paid and free) online or you can download the free storyboard template I created HERE.

The next time you find yourself hit with some writer’s block, reach for a fresh sheet of paper and a pencil. A quick sketch can breath new life into a flat character or a storyboard can help map out how your heroes make it out of a treacherous trap. Best of all, an entirely new story could bloom from a few smudges of charcoal or ink!

I’ve always found that art helps me find my writer’s voice again and I hope that it works for you too! Give it a go, post your artwork on Instagram and tag me, please!