What to draw...? | Teen Ink

What to draw...?

October 22, 2016
By Snowdrop02 BRONZE, Foxborough, Massachusetts
Snowdrop02 BRONZE, Foxborough, Massachusetts
1 article 0 photos 0 comments

The weather report tells me that it's stormy out, but I don't need a meteorologist to tell me that. Anyone can see that there's a huge storm. I can hear the rain drumming on the roof, and the world outside my window is dreary, and gray. Inside, however, it's a completely different story. My house is warm and cozy, and I'm sipping hot cocoa at my desk while trying to think of what should happen next in my webcomic. I should update it soon, but I can't figure out how to next progress the storyline.  Things have been heating up for a while now, and with tensions rising, something major's bound to happen. The problem is, I've run out of ideas, and my readers are expecting a reveal, soon. The plot is moving way too fast for me to insert a filler chapter, which would have given me more time to think. I stare at the laptop in front of me, hoping that somehow, I'll draw inspiration from the plain white pixels waiting for me to fill them with something more interesting.
Outside, the wind is making my shutters rattle, as though they're trying to break free from their wooden prisons. I instinctively pull my blanket tighter around my shoulders, and try to concentrate on what's happing in front of me, instead of what's outside. Normally, my head's a whirling mess of thoughts and ideas when I draw. This time, though, things are different. My mind is as blank as the screen in front of me, and I can't seem to fill either of them, no matter how hard I try. Stretching, I decide to take a break and, bringing my blanket with me, walk to the kitchen. Maybe I'll have better luck on a full stomach.
After a bit of debate, I decide to make chicken  noodle soup. Pulling a can of Campbell's out of the pantry, I pour it into a pot. While waiting for the soup to boil, I try to think. What should happen next? My main characters have gone through so much already, it's hard to think of anything that can compete. However, there's got to be something that hasn't been done yet.
I'm jolted out of my thoughts by a loud hissing behind me. With a start, I turn and see that while I was distracted, my soup has started to boil over. I quickly turn the stove of, and move the pot to a cooler part of the stove. Then, filling a bowl with soup, I take it back to my desk. I can clean up the mess later, once my stove cools down a bit. Right now, I need to focus on my webcomic. I go to take a sip of broth, but realize I forgot to get a spoon. Cursing under my breath, I go get one, and carefully eat my soup while trying to think.
Nothing comes to me. Every time I get close to an idea, the storm picks up, and I lose my concentration. I try blocking the wind and rain out, but nothing works. The only way to really shut the storm out is by playing music through my ear buds, which is even worse for my concentration. I scowl into my soup bowl, like it's the reason I can't think of anything. Sighing in frustration, I turn away from my laptop.
After putting my soup bowl in the sink, I get out some paper and decide to just draw for a bit, to relax. Maybe something will come to me as I'm drawing. I stare at the blank page for a few minutes, then just start making lines, not knowing what I'll end up with. It's soothing, drawing without any real purpose. I don't have to worry about getting something just right, or trying to make someone be exactly the right size. I let my hands move on their own, freeing my mind to think. I decide not to worry about my comic, and instead let my mind wander.
I think back to when I was a kid, first starting to learn the basics of drawing. I was always happiest when I had a pencil in my hand. Art was my escape from reality, and a way to express myself, communicating my thoughts and ideas in a way that words never could. Whether I was happy, sad, or somewhere in between, my first instinct was always to reach for my sketchbook when I needed to explain something, or calm down. I told my first boyfriend about my feelings for him with a picture, and filled a whole sketchbook when my grandma died. I lived the expression "a picture is worth a thousand words".
Pulling myself back into reality, I'm surprised to see that I've drawn a self portrait, of sorts. It's me when I was in grade school, talking happily with my best friend. I'm holding the very first sketchbook I ever owned, and she has one of her chapter books clutched in her hands. I smile nostalgically. The picture isn't based on a specific event, but it could have been the two of us at any given moment. I can't remember a time when she didn't have a book with her, and I took my sketchbook with me everywhere I went. Of course, that was a long time ago. Nowadays, I spend most of my time indoors, working on my comic and various other drawings, while my friend travels around the country. She published a book and achieved her dream of becoming a famous author. Now, she's usually on a book tour, or working on the next book in her series. Sometimes both. I don't hold it against her, of course, but sometimes I miss the days it was just the two of us, talking about our dreams, and sharing our creations.
Shaking my head slightly, I put the drawing aside, and pull another piece of paper towards me.
This time, I know exactly what I want to draw, and don't waste any time as I sketch an outline. The hours fly by as I use first pencil, then colored pens to fill the page. Thinking about my childhood gave me an idea for a side drawing, if not for my webcomic's next update. Slowly, the scene takes shape before me. Outside, the rain is falling even harder, but I pay it no mind. I'm too focused on the picture taking forming beneath my fingertips.
Eventually, it's done. In front of me sit two people, meeting for the very first time. Two characters that would soon become fast friends. By the time the events of my webcomic come to pass, the two will be inseparable. It's a bit strange, seeing characters I'm so used to drawing as best friends as complete strangers to each other. With luck, my readers will feel the same way. Of course, they won't feel anything unless they see it, so I quickly scan the drawing into my laptop, and upload it. Then, I sit back and wait to see what kind of response I get.
The results are instantaneous. My notification box begins overflowing with people liking and commenting on my most recent picture. Almost everything they say is positive. I get the usual comments on my drawing style, and artistic ability, though I still don't see how my drawings are anything special. I also get lots of people saying I should expand the picture into a full comic, because it's a really cool idea. I make a poll asking if I should make a full comic about the two characters' first meeting, and log out. Then, I decide that I've had enough free time, and get back to work on my comic.
Almost immediately, my mind goes completely blank, and I become increasingly aware of the storm outside. The wind's taken to screeching past my windows, blowing the rain into one side of my house. Idly, I wonder if there's anyone crazy enough to be caught outside in this. Probably not, as any person with even the slightest bit of sense would have taken shelter hours ago. I force myself to focus on my comic, but still can't think of anything. I start clinking my spoon against the sides of my (now empty) hot cocoa mug. I'd make the main characters deal with some kind of violent storm, but they're underground at the moment, so it wouldn't really make sense. They were in an earthquake about twenty updates ago, so that's out too. I start tapping the spoon against my lips, trying to think.
Once again, I'm jolted out of my thoughts, though it isn't soup that distracts me this time. Instead, it's a huge flash of light that comes through my window. Less than a second later, it's followed by a booming roll of thunder. I jump, then suddenly get an idea. Lightning... My characters might be underground, but there's nothing stopping someone from generating electricity. And most of them have some form of metal on them, making an electrical attack the perfect way to put them at a complete disadvantage...
Grinning, I pull my laptop closer and get to work.


The author's comments:

I wrote this based on my own struggles coming up with ideas. It shows that even when you seem to have hit a dead end, inspiration can be found almost anywhere, if you bother to look.


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This article has 1 comment.


Sparaxis GOLD said...
on Oct. 26 2016 at 8:14 am
Sparaxis GOLD, Saint Marys, Georgia
13 articles 17 photos 318 comments

Favorite Quote:
"If you keep on picking on me, I'll mess up again. This time, on PURPOSE."

That's the same problem I'm having! Except that I'm trying to come up with something to submit to a contest.


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