I’ve been thinking a lot about art and illustration, specifically my utter lack of drawing skills. Normally, this is not a problem. I accepted a long time ago that I wasn’t destined to be the next Picasso or Dali, but lately, as I work on the world of The Mark of the Dragonfly, I wish that I had enough skill to do some basic sketches of some of the locations in my head.
I did manage to draw a very bad map of the world that came in handy while writing MotD. At the time I drew the very bad map, I only showed it to my writing group, swore them to secrecy about the extent of its awfulness, and rested peacefully in the knowledge that no one else would ever look upon it and mock.
Until one day my editor asked, innocently enough, did I happen to have a map of my world for reference?
So yeah, only my writing group, my editor at Random House, and possibly everyone else in the office have seen the evidence of my shame.
So, as I continue to develop the MotD world, I’m realizing I’m going to have to make some more bad maps. I can’t say what they’ll be maps of–and let’s be honest, even if you saw them, you probably still wouldn’t have a clue–but the locations look very cool inside my head, trust me.
But there are other reasons I wish I could draw, and that I had a better sense of color and depth. I think it would help me to better visualize certain locations and describe scenes if I could draw them. I know there are other authors out there who are very talented artists. James P. Davis is one, and Erin Morgenstern is another. It makes me want to take an Art 101 class, start from the beginning and maybe pick up just a bit of skill. I never really considered before how learning to draw might improve my writing, but it’s something I’ve been thinking about more and more.