Monday, June 30, 2014

Live Vicariously Through Your Characters

I always wished I could draw. I mean I draw epic stick figures, but I've never been able to really produce any masterful work of art. I get these vivid images in my head that often play out like a movie, but I just can't draw it on paper how I see it in my head. In fact, my art never ends up anywhere close to what imagine. I try to draw some scenic view, and it ends up looking like road kill.

I think my artistic ineptitude is one reason I write. Because it allows me to paint that picture with words instead of lines on paper. To get it out of my head in a way that others can enjoy it. So that others can paint that picture for themselves. But what they see probably isn't exactly how I imagined it. And that's not always important, but it is a barrier that exists between the visual and the imaginative art forms. And I know deep down, that no matter how hard I practice, and how much I want it, I doubt I will ever be able to draw well. Okay, one day my road kill drawings might start looking like beef stew instead, but I doubt it will ever look like what I envision in my head.
Which brings me back around to my writing. I may never be an artist, but one of my main characters is. And it came about in large part because it's something I've always wanted, but never could obtain. So instead, I live vicariously through my main character's eyes. She paints, she draws with charcoal, she uses pastels, you name it. All things I wish I could do well. But in watching her explore her talents, I feel like her artistic ability has become a part of me, like her art is an extension of who I am.
It's really an odd feeling, almost hard to describe. But even though I couldn't draw to save my life, I get to experience as my main character does. I feel what she feels. I see what she sees. Every brush stroke, every line drawn, even if it's drawn inside my head and then described on the page with words, I am experiencing it. Which means that whenever I visit her world, I get to live life as an artist. It's something that will never happen in my real life, but it's a fun escape.
And as I slip into her world and pretend for a while that I'm an artist, I often wonder if other writers create characters that have traits or talents that they feel like they could never obtain, but always wished they could. Do you ever given a character a talent you wished you had, but knew you could never be good at? If so what was it? Describe your character.


Dani Duck said...

I often give my characters magical talents that I wish I had. Sometimes it's just running fast and sometimes it's more detailed (and wouldn't make sense without a paragraph or more of explanation). I like to write about an underdog. Someone who is riddled with imperfections, but is able to find their way through the most impossible tasks (even if it's not with magic).

I was just wondering if you've ever taken an art class. Art isn't just an inherent talent -- it can be learned. People who are passionate about art will become better artists than people born with talent. Take a class or two and see if you like it. If classes are too expensive try a book. If you really want to be a great artist I know you can get there if you try!

Jamie Krakover said...

yes magical powers is another good one. I also like superpowers.

A while back i went to an art camp.. i was abysmally awful. I dont think I will ever be an artist.

Mirka Breen said...

Almost all writers redeem their alter egos in some way, giving them courage, or fortitude they wish they'd shown themselves. So go ahead, draw majestically away through yours!
And, BTW, you draw well. After all, stick-figures are a powerful summary, saying a lot with less.

Jamie Krakover said...

haha thanks! stick figures are awesome!