Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Insecure Writer's Support Group Post- Writing and Illustration

Happy April everyone!  Sorry for my absence last month; I was having a lot of emotional issues and traumas so I decided to take a little break for a week or so- however, over the last week and a bit, I'm trying to get back in the swing of things, so here I am.

This month's IWSG topic is a little odd- not a strong insecurity on the surface of it, but a concern that I have, and I'm wondering what other writers might make of it.

You see, I am not just a writer- I am also an artist.  I don't put a lot of my artwork online for a couple of reasons; one out of fear of plagiarism or theft (one of the reasons why I don't put my writing up for everyone to see, even though I've had requests for it).  As I'm totally inept with technology, even putting a simple watermark would be beyond me.  Secondly; DA is a pain in the ass.  Some DeviantArt artists may gasp in shock at me for this, but the truth is, I do have a DA account.  I was freaking addicted to DA for ages, until my gallery got stuck with a malicious ad that in the space of two months attacked our computer twice.  DA's stance is that its basically not their problem.  Now,  I'm sure some of you are thinking I should just use this finagle or use this filangee to fix the issue, but as mentioned before, I am inept with technology.  I struggle to keep a blog and Twitter going!  That, and we have a PC so bad that I've taken to calling it a Box of Rocks just so it seems less crap.  The account is still there (Chibi-Black-Rabbit) but as this is technically not my computer (I live at home with my folks), and my Dad asked me not to use DA anymore, I'm kinda obligated to respect his wishes.

But I am an artist; I have provided artwork for local musicians, created tattoo designs, hell, even apprenticed briefly at a tattoo studio, and it was my portfolio that nabbed me that position (it was insurance, or lack thereof, that robbed me of it).  I'm not a very social artist, but DA was working to improve that.  Creatively, my art and my writing tends to go hand in hand.  For a lot of my stories, there are doodles, sketches and even fully-developed pieces to accompany it.  I imagine the vast majority of my novels, once completed, having my illustrations accompanying them.  I can't choose one expression over the other- while writing may seem to take precedence, art is just as important to me.

You see, I don't think illustrations are just for children, or just for graphic novels.  I think even adult novels can make room for the occasional, well-placed piece of artwork.  Heck, for Night Gods (the novel I am working on) I have even considered the possibility (if it is successful enough to warrant it) releasing a whole art book, a bestiary even, of artwork for all the strange creatures and characters that appear.  Now, I've read plenty of books without illustrations, and its not spoiled the reading for me, but I do love a "picture" book too.  As an artist.

But how often do you even come across books with the odd illustration here and there?  Not many, that's for sure.  I'm trying to tell myself that its quite likely publishers will probably talk me out of illustrations, at least at first (if perhaps I became successful, I can imagine later editions and companions with artwork).  But at least the cover work, that could be mine, right?

Right?  I have no idea.  I have not seen many books where it has said that the writer was also the artist responsible for the cover design.  This surprises me, as I'm sure there must be other writers out there, like me, who are also a dab hand with a pencil or a paintbrush.  Is it always down to an illustrator/designer to do this?  How much say does the writer get in that?

You see, I can't really imagine ANYONE else having artistic input in that area.  Oh wait.  I lie.

I can name ONE person.

You see, I do admire many other artists, from Salvador Dali to Brian Froud to Yoshitaka Amano, oh of course, you can't be an artist without having your influences.  But on a more personal level, I have always been...odd around other artists.  Its a bizarre personality trait that I can only put down to insecurity and jealousy, but I have never been particularly fond of other artists in the past, or if I have done, then I've been hugely jealous of their work, which has made me feel awkward.  Nowadays, however, I do have some artist friends who I don't feel this way around, and love their work.  And one such is a very good friend of mine.

As a fantastic animal portrait artist, she is also the first ever artist I have personally commissioned myself!  I have never asked anyone to do something for me before!  IF I had to concede the task to another artist, she's the only person I can imagine doing it.

I'm even open to collaboration- as I suck with technology, I wouldn't object to a photoshop artist perhaps cleaning up something I've produced, alter it slightly to make it more appropriate for a book cover.

But actually concede the work to someone else (apart from aforementioned talented friend)...unthinkable to me.

Is this a possibility?  Has anyone ever faced this issue?  Am I being overly concerned? (I'm certainly being premature, as I have even finished Night Gods yet :P) Like I said, at this point, not a major insecurity, but as for me, art is just as important as writing, it is something I don't want to just leave to someone else.  If writing a story is all part of the expression I'm sharing with the world, then so is that artwork.

Anyway, I shall leave it at that, as I am a very tired bunny.  My April blog post will be coming up soon, but this month will also be relatively quiet as I'm spending half of it in the US!  Just want to say thanks to everyone who left a kind message recently.

Take care for now x


  1. Hi, so nice to meet you and visit your blog. I'm helping Alex with hosting duties this month for IWSG. I am so impressed you have multiple ways to express your creativity-- how wonderful. By the way, there is a way to protect your blog from copy/paste thieves-- I googled and found a code to apply to my blogspot blog and it did the trick. I put some writing out there and photos too and don't want them lifted. I use it more for one blog ( than the other ( Best to you in all your artistic expression.

  2. Wow, I'd love to design my own book cover but I'm definitely a writer and not an artist. I love to dabble with sketching when words fail me but its really just a way of getting my creativity going. I also think that having sketches in your novel would be a nice idea, particularly a fantasy novel but I couldn't even guess what a publisher would make of it. It's great that you've thought about combining the two, and I hope you get the opportunity to do it.

  3. Look to Clive Barker; writer and artist. He does a lot of his own covers and his books have pictures through them (some editions at least).