Drawing Topics

Not long ago my buddy Kristen wanted to draw one of her characters but didn't know the situation so I threw out my favorite suggestion, ages, because it's a great way to explore what makes your character them but also it gives you, the creator the chance to add on to their personality and consider how they got to that point. Then I thought of a few other interesting ways to draw a character or even think about them. 

I guess these can also be used as writing prompts or character development writing prompts, whatever.

Ages: Draw them far younger than they are in the story, what did they look like? How did they act? Are they bright-eyed and bushy-tailed? Conversely, draw them older - whether they live to the end of the narrative or not, how were they affected by the events of the narrative? Who do they still hang around with? I think it's always fun to have the closet badass old character taking care of kids and teaching them weird, covert opts shit and their parents are like 'old, senile Mr Jenkins, he so cray'. If they die, pretend they lived, whatever. What type of crazy injuries do they have now? If your character is immortal speculate on the differences between them being newly immortalized versus they've been around for a few centuries, are they jaded? Are they bitter? Are they tired of seeing people they care about die? Do they only maintain relationships with other immortal individuals because of that? There are a lot of things you can learn about your characters when you play with ages.

Sickness: Draw a character sick. This would work well as a short comic or I guess microfiction. How sick are they? High fever? vomiting? Bone deep aches? Do they have anyone around to help them? I mean, I've been sick alone and man do I put off eating to sleep and wallow in pain and fever. What's this character like and the people around them? Even if they live alone, are they close enough to anyone around them, friends, neighbors whatever, to have this person stop by with some gatorade and cans of soup?

Injuries: Similar to being sick break a bone. How did they break that bone? How much did it impact their life? You don't even have to keep it canon, how would they react to having broken a bone? Or losing a limb. Are they an artist who has to learn to create with one hand or their non-dominant hand because it got mangled in a car accident? Would they, with their personality, overcome the injury and continue on? would they become bitter if they were a happy camper? Would they have a new-found sense of positivity because they're still alive? And like with being sick - who is there to help them? Do they have anyone or are they stuck using buses and taxis to get to the doctor? Are they hopped on on percocet taking the bus, and tripping balls into a weird adventure?

Flirting: spoken for or not, how would your character react to a stranger coming up to them and flirting? Are they open to flirt or go to bed with them? Is this stranger they type of person they find attractive? Where are they when it happens? a bar? A coffeeshop, the bookstore? How will the location affect how they respond? It doesn't have to be street harassment, it can just be someone being polite and saying they find your character attractive. Do this with their partner(s) around, how do they react. Or conversely, have your character see someone who gets them going and they go to flirt with them. How successful is your character? How badly do they lose?

Cooking: can your character cook? On what level from 'cereal combusts' to 'can cure global starvation' are they in the kitchen? Can they get better? Do they follow a cook book or wing it? How encouraging on their friends/partner? Do they have one thing they can make, but nothing else? Will they end up in the hospital from food poisoning or missing a finger before ten minutes have passed? - Your character has a goal 'cook the thing' and a ton of props at their disposal. Hell, give them a simple task: make whipped cream. Give 'em a whisk and a bowl of cream and do they succeed? I've whipped cream, shit's difficult if you're not used to using a whisk. If your character fails, how spectacularly do they fail?

Embarrassing/incriminating photo: this works well with ages, but is there a picture of an embarrassing moment from your character's life that they think no one should ever see? what is it? What happened? Who don't they want to see it? what happens if this person see it? It could be anything. Do their parents have a photo of them naked as a baby running around the house with poop on their butt, and they don't want their crush to see them? Is there an incriminating photo that they don't want the cops to see? Are they a big, tough badass who has  soft sport of kittens and they don't need the person their intimidating to know that they lose their shit over kitten sneezes? Are they a big tough badass but they had horrible glasses and braces as a kid and were bullied? Does this still bother them?


I dunno, these are a few drawing prompts I just came up with, but these give you more to work with than just 'gender bent' or costume based art topics. These can help you learn about your character, even if the information has no bearing on the narrative and it never comes up, it's good to know these things for yourself as a creator. It helps the character breathe. They can feel more real and human. 

If I think of any others maybe add them here, or make another post. 

Group Art Project Ideas

I'm sitting here thinking how much fun it would be to just mail some sketchbooks out to people for a few different art projects. Here are some I've just thought of, maybe I'll update this post in the future with new ideas, or I'll make another one and use "art projects" as the linking tag. We'll see.


One sketch book, Whoever starts it also does the last page. One person pencils something - a location, a figure, a monster, their cat - whatever. They send it on and the next person to receive the sketchbook inks the previous sketch and draws their own and the book gets mailed off. This would be people the opportunity to ink something they may never have attempted to draw, and it gives people the opportunity to ink someone else's work. Photos of inked work can be posted but the pencils ought to stay a mystery until they're inked. It would also be a fun challenge to see how well you conveyed the idea you wanted to share and now someone else interprets your pencils. It would also be a fun way for people to see and introduce themselves to an artist they haven't met as the book get passed around. I propose a time limit of 2 weeks of retaining the book, and this is documented online. 


Book 2

In the front cover are some themes or topics, as many as their are pages. As each person gets the book they cross of the topic they choose to draw or write their name next to it. They can finish their topic however they like, sketch, ink, colored pencil - whatever. Same deal, 2 weeks to hold onto the book and creator credits on the last page.

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Book 3

1 page sequential comic. Someone starts the sketchbook presensting a protagonist and an initial desire, conflict or action, whatever in one page. They send it off person two draws the next page of the story and mails it off. Person 3 and should only look at what person 2 did and respond and continue the story from that point. Person 4 continues from person 3 and so forth until the book is done as it gets mailed around. After the sketchbook is full (and the story possibly not) someone or a group of someones can write something to finish it or give the characters some sort of conclusion. Writer and artist credits like always


A regular sketch or doodle book. Like the theme one, but it gets passed along and everyone draws what they'd like on their respective page.  


One overarching theme for the book. Main theme "Roads" then every sketch is a response and creative interpretation of 'roads'. 


Whoever starts it writes a topic then mails it off, person 2 draws person 1's topic and writes a topic on the next page. Person 3 draws person 2's topic and so forth.  



Each book would stay with an artist for 7 or 14 days depending on which type of book it is. Like, I think the Ink Someone Else's Work ought to be 2 weeks, same with the Write the Next Page. But the Choose a Theme or more loosely related sketchbook should only be one week. I also like locations being written, whatever the artist is comfortable with. I'd ask for at least the state, or city and state. County and state is also fine, , I just think it would be fun to see how it travels. It can travel within a city if people know one another, but, i don't know, maybe 3 people before it gets mailed off. Stickers and decorating the covers is perfectly allowed.

On the inner first cover is an "If Lost Contact" and it features the address (or po box) for whoever starts it, and an email or website for the project.If they contact the site we can figure out who's closest and ask the book  be sent to them, or to the starter and they send it off to someone who hasn't drawn in that book yet. 

When the sketchbooks are done they get printed and sold at conventions. We kickstart the printing or whatever works. I don't know, I'm playing with this idea, because it would be fun. It'd be a whole mess of work, but imagine how fun it would be to see an international collab-sketchbook, or people on different creative and artistic popularity levels printed together in the same book like this? I feel this could just foster community and fun.