Lately, I’ve seen a lot of debate on what is the more successful way to complete a novel: free form or planned structure. I have always been more on the free form side of things, just because I think it works and I’m horribly awful at sticking to plans. But with my latest novel, it is very planned and structured with an outline that I wrote in less than 24 hours and so far so good! Seeing both sides of this debate and trying them both, I would say that the way that is best for you to write depends very much on your writing habits.
For the writer who has trouble finishing a story:
When I say “trouble finishing a story,” I mean, you either get sick of it, realize there is something wrong with it, or just aren’t sure how you want it to end - whatever the reason, your story just never gets finished and you move onto the next one, which also never gets finished. You’re most likely a freeform writer. You write in spurts of passion and the passion dies at a certain point and you can’t get it back. You need to write a structured story. Write a chapter by chapter outline, all the way through to the end. Make it action-packed. You are moving from one shocking scene to the next. This way, if one scene isn’t perfect, you still are looking forward to the drama of the next one all the way too the end. When creating this outline, consider taking into account my tips on the 3 Act Structure, as a basis before moving into individual chapter outlines.
For the writer who keeps revising her outline and seems to do more planning than writing:
Typically, this problem follows aspiring sci-fi and fantasy writers like a shadow. It’s the world building problem! Your worlds are so elaborate and complicated that you lose track of everything else that already makes it tough to write a novel. My suggestion is probably something that all of you will hate, but it honestly helps - skip the world building. Base it on a real place, maybe some place in history like Ancient Rome, the legendary Troy, or Pompeii. Use features from these places or just play around with a map of a town near you. Make it crazy and fantastical as you go so it can be the world you wanted it to be, but focus on the story. If you’re less worried about believable geography, you’re more likely to actually sit down and start writing. Fix it to be the world you want once the first draft is complete.
If you’re not a sci-fi or fantasy writer and you’re having this issue, I think you could use some practice in free form. Pick your beginning, middle, and end and just write it. If it’s not perfect, don’t worry. Just keep going. Write and write and write. That’s the only way to get out of this problem. Just keep in mind that you’re writing one of many drafts. This is not what the publishers will see, this is for you. It might look like crap, but you’ll fix it later.
For the writer who has written 20 k words and realizes he’s missing a plot:
Aristotle did say, “Plot is character revealed by action,” and he’s right. You need a plot. It doesn’t have to be all action, action, action, but there needs to be something that the characters want, there must be some type of conflict to keep the reader going. Actions are so telling of who a person really is, despite what they have to say. For you, I would suggest, taking a look at outlining, or at the very least, check out my page on The 3 Act Structure. Decide what yourThink about Antigone by Sophocles. While there are very few actions in this play (Antigone bury’s her rebel brother against the wishes of her uncle, Creon, the king, he gets angry, has her buried alive, and in a domino effect, his entire family commits suicide.) Despite what either character has said, the viewer is left wondering in the end who was right - Antigone who disobeyed the king or Creon who only asked one rule be enforced.
Those are the main problems I see in first drafts… If there’s any bad writing habits I missed, let me know and I’ll add it to the list!
BUT NO in all seriousness, thank you! You’re a sweetheart! ;O; Proportions are pretty awful to get down when you’re just starting out, and while there are a bunch of ways you can start practicing with it, it’ll be difficult to be absolutely precise. I still struggle with proportions occasionally. Fun fact: I don’t post all of my work. I only post the work that turned out okay aHA. So basically don’t be frustrated when every single piece doesn’t turn out. Here are a few tips.
Let’s use this picture of Laurence and Hugh because why not.
They’ve both got eyes, a nose, and a mouth, so why do they look different?
These lines are the generic way of mapping out where to put things together. I used this when I was starting out and it’s a helpful way of getting your hand and wrist to work together. At this point they both nearly look the same. I say this a lot, but I think it’s important: shape is what puts a drawing together.
Compare features of the face to help you figure out placement.
The bottom of his ear lines up right to the middle of his nostril. His tear ducts line up right at the corners of his mouth. Then you can get super technical and say, oh, the outer corner of his eye lines up with that fold in his collar and then from there you can see other things like the approximate distance from the edge of his mouth to that connecting line from the eye to the collar. They don’t meet so his mouth is smaller than the width of his eyes, etc, etc. Whatever works, man.
This is a favorite technique of mine so lemme use another example:
Eventually you get to the point where most of your proportional accuracy will come from just looking. You will eventually adjust your eye to see what makes a person who they are by the shape of their features.
Laurence has narrow, oval shaped eyes, while Hugh has more of a diamond shape. Not everyone has perfect almond shaped eyes. You can capture an entire character personality through their eyes alone, so shaping them out is extremely important.
The way you draw your lines is also important. Sharp and smooth lines will give your drawing personality. Reveals the character, in a sense.
Other things to consider: the shape of the nose.
Mads’ is flat and goes down in a steady slope, while Hugh’s juts out in a smooth, almost concave curve.
SHAPES SHAPES SHAPES. Use shapes and structure to find proportion.
I did a lot more than I anticipated omg. Oh gosh and I have a feeling I kinda just rambled and didn’T MAKE ANY SENSE AH. Let me know if you need more help or if I was speaking gibberish I am so bad at putting my thoughts into words aHHHH. But gosh I hope this was at least vaguely helpful. You’re a darling and thank you for your kind words!
Good luck on your artistic endeavors! /hugs
"i’m sad and idk how to feel better"
"i don’t know what to draw"
"i always mess up"
"BUT I SUCK"
funny story. for actual years while i was doing digital painting just as a wee bab makin my way through deviantart i never paid attention to canvas size. i thought 1000x1000pi at 72 resolution was perfectly fine and up until about two years ago i still used those dimensions. i was at the top of the world with my tiny borderline pixel art. i got relatively popular. people really liked my stuff. i made some fantastic lookin shit!
but my god let me tell you there are fewer things harder than breaking out of that habit. going from tiny little canvases to suddenly having all this room for painting? DONT DO THIS TO YOURSELF. dont learn how to deal with tiny canvases. just don’t do it!!! even if you DONT plan on selling your work as a basic print (8x11 inches with a 300 res at a minimum) just get into the habit of this!! dont do it to yourself. i promise, your future artist self will thank you if you deal with the grueling transition now.
give your art some room to breathe! dont make the same mistake i did. your computer is capable of making really detailed works, dont cut yourself short by starting on a tiny canvas. make the switch NOW before its too late, otherwise you’ll easily spend half a year backtracking.
here’s a tip: if you’re working on small works like stickers or keychains, bump up that res! only 3x4 inch? go 400, 500, even 600 resolution! you can always resize smaller later. make your canvas as big as your heart, as big as your dreams!!
(of course i’m not sure if any of this matters if you’re making actual pixel art. if you are, continue on your pixel heart ways. i wont tell you what to do.)
Well! It depends really. It’s very much a personal decision!
In this ‘age of information’ as they like to call it, you don’t really need to go into higher education to learn a lot of stuff. It is entirely possible to teach yourself!
However, there are some disciplines that are difficult to learn on your own without any guidance, like for example I am just starting animation at Falmouth Uni! (if anyone is in my class, hi!)
Graphic design is another kind of discipline that would benefit from a course. The kind of stuff that has like a lot of its own unique disciplines, you know?
And in particular the stuff with their own unique industries, as the universities will prepare you for working in a studio or working towards briefs etc.
Illustration and fine art are the things you can self teach fairly well online - but the question here is whether or not you will learn better if there is someone there to guide you. In which case, you would probably benefit from going!
It is important to remember that, particularly in america, going into higher education will leave you in huuge debt. The art industry is not very well paid, so it’s very important to consider whether or not the debt will be a problem!
Here in england you only have to pay it off if you earn above a certain threshold, and if after 30 years you haven’t finished paying it back it is written off. I believe people who were born in Scotland have no fees if they go to a Scottish uni!
So! Depending on where you live, how much of a problem the debt could potentially be varies a lot. Make sure to read up on your country’s student financing, and figure out whether or not being in a social environment is what will benefit you.
I would definitely go and talk to your current teachers and ask them for guidance, as they will know you fairly well and can advise you!
I couldn’t even include all of the reference boards this blog contains on this photoset. That’s right! There’s EVEN MORE! There are pages and pages of them! It is an inspiration treasure trove!
Bookmark this link!
Fill your life with inspiration!
Emofuri Video tutorial -with subtitles, no sound.
This video will show you how I import, check the pieces and edit the movement of different pieces. There is a lot that repeats so you’ll get a good look at the whole process of fitting the psd in the program. The video is 34 minutes long, I’m sorry for that. My video editing software let me down. -sigh-
But I show you how to make most of the half body characters and their 12 mouths and other extra layers the default doesn’t offer.
I adore the program and am glad I didn’t give up the first time it frustrated me. You can do it everyone!