Tips for Writing and Illustrating

 

  • Read, read, and read some more. Sometimes read aloud so you can hear the words spoken.
  • Watch, listen, take notes, imagine.
  • Carry a notebook to jot down good ideas as they come to you.
  • Write, write, and write some more.
  • Enjoy what you’re writing about; make it fun by writing about things that are meaningful to you.
  • Rewrite. Experienced authors may rewrite 50 to 70 times!
  • Keep raising the bar. Once you think you’ve finished your story, let it sit, unread, until you can read it with fresh eyes and mind. (This can be a few days, weeks, or even months.) When you read it again, you will find things you want to correct. If you keep doing this until you find nothing you want to change about the way your story is written, then you know you’re done.
  • Ask a friend to read your story out loud. Do the words flow smoothly? Does your friend understand what you’re trying to say?
  • Many of these tips apply to artwork, too. Instead of working with words, you’re working with colors and design. Visit libraries and galleries to see many different artists’ styles. Notice what attracts you and inspires you the most.
  • Carry a small sketchpad when you visit a gallery and make sketches when you become inspired.
  • Practice, practice, and practice some more. Your ability to draw, design, work with colors and different media will improve with experience.
  • Enjoy what you’re doing; keep it fun and meaningful to you.
  • While a book author has only words to work with, artists have many media to choose from. I sometimes use four different media —pencil, acrylics, oils, and pastels — in one illustration. Only you can discover what works best for you, so jump in and experiment through hands-on exploration!
  • As you’re working on your piece of art, use a mirror to help you see it with fresh eyes. When you hold your artwork up to a mirror and look at its reflection, you’re seeing it backwards. It suddenly looks different, as if it’s someone else’s artwork. This can help you spot things that you want to correct, such as mismatched proportions in a figure drawing.