Sparking My Creativity by Sketching (Melissa Robbins)

Before I dive into my topic, meet U.S. Army Air Corps First Lieutenant Jackson “Jack” Spencer. This is my favorite Jack sketch. Feel free to play with his blond locks. He won't mind at all. Even better, focus on his lovely blue eyes and not the disaster of the plane behind him. Bad angle on my part. Connor's plane turned out so much better. The nose art is Bacon, Jack's beagle, by the way.

Anyway, this is what I do to spark my creativity. Some of you have photographs of people resembling your characters. I have those too, (boy do I love looking at old photographs of RAF pilots, such camaraderie), but I also sketch my characters or buildings as you guys saw last month. However, truth be told, I didn't draw this Jack for creativity reasons. When I received my first rejection letter, I was pretty bummed, so I sketched Jack. Seeing his crooked grin made me feel loads better. I could just hear him say, “Cheer up, Mel. Don't let one letter stop you from doing what you love.” Jack would never let his friends give up, no matter the odds and he would support them in any endeavor.

I usually draw my characters from one of my favorite scenes, a scene I'm working and/or struggling on, or just by themselves. That reminds me. I need to sketch Jack showing off his tattoo. Hmm...where was I? Oh, right. I'm particularly fond of sketching couples. It helps with the romance aspect. Nothing racy mind you. Sweet interactions. If I can draw what's in my head, it makes describing it on paper easier.

Doesn't Wren look glamorous? I like this sketch, but she will kill me for posting it. Wren grew up with three brothers in the Depression. Wren is more comfortable in her uniform or men's clothes and not the fancy dresses Vivian puts her in. Having sketches, like this one, in front of me when I write, remind me how my characters feel at that point in time and I can convey those feelings on paper. Poor thing spent several chapters in this dress and you can't see the shoes, but they caused her such misery.

If I'm completely stumped on what to write, I'll sketch fanart for my writing friends. For her birthday, Fran received fanart of her Regency couple from me. I had great fun drawing her duke, too, but man oh man, those Regency boys' clothes are hard to create. Not versed in Regency male attire, I made a few a mistakes. I think I'll stick to my boys in uniform.

Speaking of boys in uniform, for those of you who met Wren's brother Connor last month, here is the cheeky guy and his pilot mates. Hmm, I think Connor is slouching. He's taller than he appears. Sometimes our characters go off and do their own things in our stories. That rule applies to sketches too. Sorry ladies, Mac isn't wearing his kilt in the picture. That's another sketch I should put on my list. I love drawing the Irvins. (those bomber jackets) Don't you just want to cuddle up with one? I was talking about the jackets, not the pilots, but that would work too. Finley will let you borrow his Irvin. You'll have to wrestle Fran for Connor's, though.

Any other artists out there who sketch their characters? Do photographs of your characters help with creativitiy?


Anonymous said...

Photographs definitely help me get a feel for my characters and make them come to life for me. In fact, I just finished a poster I made for the story I'm working on now - but I couldn't draw as well as you do for the life of me. Great pictures!

Melissa Robbins said...

Thanks Tammy. A poster? Like a movie poster or a book cover? That's something I haven't done, but would be a lot of fun to do.

Frances Fowlkes said...

As usual, your sketches are amazing, Mel! I love Connor's jacket...okay, I love Connor too. ;) Keep up the wonderful drawings!

Melissa Robbins said...

Thanks Fran. Who doesn't love Connor and his jacket?

Penny Rader said...

Very cool, Melissa. My drawing skills are pretty sorry. A former member, Fay, does great drawings of her characters, too. Okay, they're downright embarrassing. :D So I use lots of pictures of people, houses, rooms, places, etc to help me visualize my stories.