How Can Reading Novels Influence Your Art?
Recently I have had the privilege of being invited to proof read and edit the first draft of a series of imaginative short stories. It has been harder to do than you might think but incredibly rewarding and humbling. They have been written by a talented but unpublished writer, who specializes in telling fantasy stories.
It has been a great privilege that has had one significant downside in that it has taken up around 3 months of evenings and weekends of my spare time. The consequence is that it has meant spending less time on my art interests than I would like. But, in a way, that is another story.
It has been a fascinating exercise that has been quite an education in that it has shown the different ways the author and I work. The great thing about it is that although our writing subjects and methods are different the end results can be equally satisfying.
Although the art mediums are very different they do have a common factor. Even as a beginner you have and need to use your imagination…
- With writing you translate thoughts and ideas into words.
- As a painter you may want to try to express yourself by creating images in pictures.
In many ways, as an artist, you have greater opportunities than a writer. For instance, as a sculptor you have the opportunity to construct 3-dimensional representations of people, objects and abstract designs – something you cannot do with words alone.
This might seem to be sufficient advantage for the artist to take the edge in artistic expression. If you are happy enough with this thought then you will find the world around you provides you with plenty of great ideas. If you include the animal and seasonal plant life also on offer then you have unlimited inspirational resources close to hand.
Yet, at some point in time, you will suffer the equivalent of ‘writers block’. Whether you are a painter, or writer, your ideas dry up and those you do have seem no better than rubbish.
When this happens you will feel as if there is no way forward. Worse than that…
You may reach the stage when you just give up altogether.
This would be incredibly sad but if you ever reach this point it doesn’t mean that it is all over. However, it could be that you need a rest from what you have been doing. Here are 5 things you could do…
- Go and take a walk
- Go to a concert
- Go to see a play at the theater
- Go to the cinema
- Take a vacation to see another part of your country
- Book a cruise and visit other parts of the world
It could be that all you need to refresh your creative juices is to take some time out and relax.
Yet, there is another option that takes very little effort to do…
Pick up a book and read a novel. If your artistic thinking is stuck in the mire, why not let someone else’s imagination relax you and, if you are lucky they could trigger unexpected inspiration and motivation.
Imagine the thrill when you have access to a storyline that takes you far from you day-to-day life…
- A murder mystery – you could find yourself in the shoes of Miss Marple, involved in solving intricate puzzles of how and why a crime was committed.
- Science fiction world – A Star Trek vision of the universe stretching out far beyond the imaginings of mankind?
- Equally, you could relax with autobiographical stories that help you understand more about favorite personalities.
Personally, after spending hours working and reading technical information that helps me understand and do jobs that earn a daily crust, something more akin to JRR Tolkein’s Lord Of The Rings serves best to take my mind off things. This kind of writing takes me into other realms that resemble the world we might have once lived in but include fantastical creatures such as dragons, elves and dwarves.
An author’s description can be enough to challenge an artist to try to create their own impressions of the characters in paints.