Monday, April 12, 2010


I've started doing this thing. Actually, I always did it, I just didn't think of it that way. 

Artists/illustrators don't start with a whole painting/illustration. They start with sketches. I think one of the things that freaks me out when I try to write is that I want to be writing the Novel (capital N) right from that first moment of inspiration. But I suspect it doesn't work that way, not at first. A bit too much pressure, perhaps?

So I've started to think of what I do at this stage as sketching, but with words. Just rough outlines, something I can return to later and add detail, shading. Just a place-marker for a story.

For example. I have this image in mind of an elevator operator. I don't know where she works, exactly, except that the elevator itself is a kind of Victorian relic (brass buttons and those great folding doors). I don't know much, yet, but I have a few sketches. This is one of them:

I am an elevator operator. It may not seem like much of a job, but the view is terrific. I work in one of the old Garland apartment buildings. The elevators, there are nine of them in total, are all glass, and facing out. So, all night, up and down, I see the city. It is a good job for a day dreamer. Or, a night dreamer. I work the late shift.

The apartments are expensive so most of the people coming and going are rich. That doesn’t automatically make them jerks, but they often are. I’ve never seen so many small dogs and large jewels in all my life.

The night shift is not as quiet as you might think.

There are no stairs in the Garlands. Well, there are, but only for emergencies, so to get anywhere the residents and their guests must make use of the elevators.

I sit on a stool next to the control panel and say one thing only: “What floor please?”

Some of the people are chatty, some quiet. Some friendly, some cold. To most, I am invisible.

I like the ones who stand and look out at the view. It is breath-taking. Even for me, even after seeing it about a zillion times. 
 This unrelated, but very pretty picture was made by Matte Stephens, whose work, blog and 
etsy shop are found here. I love how often his illustrations have umbrellas in them. Not this one, but a lot.


  1. I really like this sketch. I definitely sketch little pieces for my own writing and then work out how to connect them together.
    You should share this piece on the course website - it's really good.


  2. Hi Amy, and thanks! I will post it on the course site... still getting used to the idea of sharing my writing (not that a blog doesn't do that, but you know, the "real" writing!)

  3. Thanks for posting it on the course. I was very impressed that you did.

    p.s I really like Matte Stephen's work too. I have a print of his on my wall.