Sketchbook #1

Starting today, I’ll be sharing updates and behind-the-scenes looks at the various creative projects I’m working on: writing, painting, photography, whatever works I happen to have in progress. It’s probably going to take a couple of tries before I figure out the format, but you can expect to see these Sketchbook posts on the last Monday of each month. Love it? Hate it? Have something else you’d like to see? Tell me what you think!

Untitled (Medium Test 1) |
An early, small-scale test. If it was 2’x3′ instead of 5″x7″, I’d be tempted to just leave it as-is.

I’ve had vague ideas for a painting for a while now—nothing complicated, just an abstract with some text, but I haven’t been entirely sure how I wanted to tackle it. But I’ve started some tests (mostly playing with different ways of applying the paint and what sort of texture I want to add), and I think I’ve got an idea of what I want the text to be, so I seem to finally be making progress. (Which is good, because I’m kind of getting sick of that one giant empty wall.)

That said, I need to top up some of my paint supplies; I’ve still got plenty of titanium white, but it’s starting to thicken up a bit, and I need to get some new black. Which means I’m going to obsess over whether mars black or ivory black is better for this particular piece, because I’m ridiculous like that. (The final project will involve a lot more black than the test piece above.)

Still: progress!

Somehow, I’m also making progress on the writing project I started a couple of weeks ago.

I’m still working without any sort of outline, though that’s probably going to change very soon. So far, I’ve just been writing individual scenes as they come to me, completely out of order and with only the hint of a plot connecting them. And, so far, that’s worked. It’s giving me a chance to get to know the characters and their world, and the freewriting aspect is showing me what I need to be thinking about when I get into the story itself.

But. I do need to find a coherent plot within these disconnected scenes, and I need an outline to do that, even if it’s only bare-bones. I’m going to start working on that next, I think. (It turns out that there’s an advantage to limiting myself to only about 500 words a day: I can fit that in alongside outlining, and painting, and photography, and everything else I want to do right now. It’s not an either/or situation.)

And I’m happy with what I’ve been writing, which feels like a small miracle. One scene in particular might be one of the best things I’ve ever written; even if I decide it doesn’t work in the overall story, or if I still change my mind about committing to the whole story, that one scene might have to become a standalone short.