Like most of us, I have professional goals for 2022: write x words, submit x stories, and so on. I also have set the unmeasurable goal for this year of finding joy in the writing itself, rather than basing all my motivations on the possibility of sales or acceptance letters.
To that end, I’ve found myself branching out from the stories and novels I’ve been working on to discover other ways to have fun with these worlds. I’ll share some in the coming weeks – there’s one I’m SUPER excited about, but it’s not ready – and today I want to share some visual art I’ve created.
This watercolor is inspired by my short story “The Bloom,” which is still making the submission rounds. It might never sell. That’s okay. I still enjoy a little snicker when I think of the central premise, which is that fairies of the Tinkerbell variety might honestly be kinda gross if you saw one in real life.
Now, there are visual artists working in SF/F who have trained and honed their craft for years. Full respect for formal training and the time it takes to develop one’s craft. I do NOT in any way suggest that I’m their equal, and that’s okay.
I paint for fun. With paintings like these, it’s a way to enhance the simple joy of writing a story in the first place. I’ve sworn to myself that I will not try and sell my paintings, because I don’t want to try and monetize yet another creative pastime, and incur the stress and pressure and networking requirements involved. Also, check it out: if you’re not submitting your work anywhere, there is literally no rejection!
Exploring my writing projects and having fun with them in this other medium is relaxing and self-reinforcing. It was fun to write the story, even if that process came with all the self-imposed pressure of trying to make something good enough to sell. Making something else inspired by the story adds to the value of the original creative experience, with extremely little overhead in terms of stress, risk, and disappointment.
What ways have you found to expand your experience of your primary creative medium? What other ways are possible? Could you compose a song? Plan out a game? Write a letter to yourself from a favorite character and mail it? Share in the comments!
Materials: Untrained heathen than I am, I use paints from different kits liberally. I guess that’s okay right? For this, I used Turner Artists’ Water Colour 18-color starter kit; Art Philosophy pan colors number 05, 06, 49, 98; Faber Castell PITT artist black India ink pen; Pigma Micron 005 ink pen in black; Canson 120 lb watercolor paper.