I’m a member of Wordsmiths, and I’m also an illustrator. Here are some thoughts about self-editing from my perspective as a children’s book illustrator.
When I work on a drawing for an illustration, I’m constantly revising throughout the process. In order to do this I need to look at the drawing with fresh eyes. Here are four simple approaches that help me see things in a new way.
1. Look at the drawing in reverse. Some artists look at their drawings in the mirror. Since I use tracing paper to work out my drawing, I just flip it over. This is amazingly effective. I instantly see body parts that are out of whack. Maybe an eye is too high, or a hand is too big.
2. Take a picture. Sometimes I can’t figure out, in my mind’s eye, how a body or facial gesture works. So, I get out my digital camera and tripod, and snap a picture of myself in the pose I need. Here are a few goofy shots from my growing collection.
3. Take a break. After drawing for a while, I start to focus more and more on the details. Stepping away and clearing my mind from the details, even for just ten minutes, helps me to take notice of the entire picture once again. This is also an opportunity to throw some laundry in the washer.
4. Switch to another project. This is effectively the same tip as above, except all my laundry is done, and my house is so clean and organized that there aren’t any more chores to do! Really though, it’s helpful for me to schedule a good chunk of time away from a project, and one way to do that is by working on something completely different for a while. This is especially good to do if I’m going to look at several drawings and I want to analyze many details.
Contributed by Veronica Walsh, Illustrator