Writing vs. Drawing

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Obscura
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Writing vs. Drawing

#1 Post by Obscura » Fri Mar 29, 2013 12:20 pm

I find this an interesting issue, one that I keep revisiting, because of being tasked to do both things for my VN.

For anybody wearing both the writer and artist hat, do you find that one is significantly more difficult? I've asked the question before but it wasn't directed specifically towards those creators who choose to do both things for their games. I'm hoping to hear from those people now. :-)

Psychologically speaking, I find writing makes me feel lonely and antsy whereas I could spend the entire day in a windowless room drawing and not feel the need to get up once.

I would like to hear from others about their experiences. I'm curious if I'm just an anomaly or if this generally true for other people.
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Re: Writing vs. Drawing

#2 Post by nyaatrap » Fri Mar 29, 2013 12:26 pm

I'm doing programming, drawing, and writing all, and I found it's mainly condition issue. Sometimes drawing is hard, sometimes writing is tough, sometimes programing is tiresome. I don't know when, but I know there is a time one is bad and one is good. There must be some logic behind, but I don't know yet, so it looks like those are random waves.

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Re: Writing vs. Drawing

#3 Post by LateWhiteRabbit » Fri Mar 29, 2013 12:37 pm

I find drawing is usually the easiest of the two, if for no other reason than because after a certain point in the sketching, you can kind of go on autopilot. With writing, you generally have to stay completely engaged and thinking critically the entire time. Of course, either one depends on if I have a clear idea of where I'm going. If I do, both go smoothly. If I'm still unclear on my final destination, both can be tricky.

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Re: Writing vs. Drawing

#4 Post by Solunar » Fri Mar 29, 2013 1:02 pm

Writing is easier for me, but that's because I've been writing since I was very young. I remember reading about how to be really good at something, a person has to put in at least 10,000 hours of practice, which is about when they hit 20 years of age. It's quite true for me, because I only recently got accepted by a publisher for one of my stories. I submitted once when I was less than ten to some international competition for kids and I didn't win anything. :( So, I chalk it up to practice.

Drawing is tough as dried-out jerky for me. I'm still at the phase where I'm studying correct anatomy and techniques of drawing. I would equate it to the word-building phase in writing, where I'm still learning what each word means. I haven't even learnt colour theory yet, which is a phrase I keep seeing tossed around the forums here. So, I don't think creating something visually will ever be as easy as writing for me, purely because I have a headstart of 15 years of practice for writing.

That said, drawing is important. I took it up, even before hearing about VNs, because it helped me to visualise characters better and to remember how they look like when I describe them. Like a character might have fuller lips, a sparkle in their eyes, and a taller frame than their friend, but it might or might not ever come up in the story. But still, it's important as a writer to know these details. Drawing helps me to think about how they would pose, what their body language would be like, do they have scars, do they keep in shape, etc. It's a condensed information sheet that I can see at a glance. Drawing helps to give more life to the characters on a page for me.

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Re: Writing vs. Drawing

#5 Post by Obscura » Fri Mar 29, 2013 4:54 pm

Thanks for your responses, guys.
LateWhiteRabbit wrote: With writing, you generally have to stay completely engaged and thinking critically the entire time.
This is definitely the case for me, I believe. And a reflection of how my brain works. I can't even have any music on when I write.
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Re: Writing vs. Drawing

#6 Post by DaFool » Fri Mar 29, 2013 5:04 pm

Writing is usually last for me, although I'm not really a writer. I like to program the outline with placeholders such as "scene goes here blah blah blah" and if the overall flow is fine, then I start to fill in the gaps with dialogue, directly programming it in.

Every time I tried to "do some real writing" and start with a blank page in Microsoft Word, I always end up with writers block and giving up and never finishing. That's why I find that having other assets such as completed sprites or music or BG help set the stage and if they're good enough they essentially prod the story for you by the vibe that they give.

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Re: Writing vs. Drawing

#7 Post by arachni42 » Fri Mar 29, 2013 10:17 pm

nyaatrap wrote:I'm doing programming, drawing, and writing all, and I found it's mainly condition issue. Sometimes drawing is hard, sometimes writing is tough, sometimes programing is tiresome. I don't know when, but I know there is a time one is bad and one is good. There must be some logic behind, but I don't know yet, so it looks like those are random waves.
Yeah, I'm wearing all of those hats too (and if there were time, I'd be doing music, too, but I can say that would be significantly harder for me than the other three; I don't have much practice at composing).

There are times for all of them when it's easy and times when it's hard. It feels easiest (for any of them) when I get going into a flow, and I can stay focused for a long time getting things done, drafting, tweaking, perfecting. I'd say that in a "flow" stage the programming is the easiest for me, probably because I do it professionally... however, it also tends to be the most frustrating when I hit a stumbling block, especially when I know something can be done but can't figure out the exact right syntax for it. ("OHHHHHH, it's style.window.left_padding, NOT style.window.padding_left!") It tends to have the hardest stumbling blocks.

Art takes me a long time. This is partly because I never practiced getting fast, and I don't practice that frequently. However, because I did a lot of drawing in the past, it doesn't take me that long to improve once I sit down with it. For NaNoRenO, I decided to try something new: vector graphics for my characters (after designing them on paper). I went with this because I have not done a lot of computer drawing in the past. It feels like its taken me less time to learn technique and more time fine-tuning what's there.

The nice thing about (creative) writing is that I can "work on it" anywhere -- in the car, in the shower, etc. If I'm stuck at a certain part, I can brainstorm at times like that. I'll skip around to the parts I feel inspired to write. Sometimes the hardest part is putting together the pieces.... and not every part is always interesting to write, either. I never really run out of ideas, but the necessary glue to hold the ideas together can be a stumbling block. That and taking a lot of time on the first draft trying to think of just the right way to word things. I should leave more of it to the revision, because it's going to get revised anyway, but, oh well.

On the bright side, if I'm sick/bored of working on one type of thing, I can always switch to another. ;)
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Re: Writing vs. Drawing

#8 Post by LVUER » Fri Mar 29, 2013 10:31 pm

IMO, it's which one you're not used to or less like that will tire you the most. I work alone so I do all the writing, coding, drawing, etc. Since I love drawing (I originally a manga artist) and a programmer, I find both drawing and coding to be fun and I can do both for tens of hours before any break... but it's impossible for writing. I stuck often when writing and have to take break every once a while. Though I have vivid image of the scene, it's just very hard to pour it into words, let alone writing it.
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Re: Writing vs. Drawing

#9 Post by Reikun » Fri Mar 29, 2013 11:06 pm

I agree with Nyaatrap. It seems to mostly depend on how I'm feeling at the time and how much time I've spent on a particular story. Sometimes the writing is seems easier because something in my brain just clicks and I know exactly what and how to write for a particular scene but other times I have to think for longer and dig deeper to get some writing out. Art is "easy" for me when I've been practicing a character design for a while and the character has a back story already. For new characters when I don't know much about them yet because they haven't been developed yet, it's harder because I don't "know" the character so I become unsure of how to best portray them.
Obscura wrote:Psychologically speaking, I find writing makes me feel lonely and antsy whereas I could spend the entire day in a windowless room drawing and not feel the need to get up once.

I would like to hear from others about their experiences. I'm curious if I'm just an anomaly or if this generally true for other people.
When I'm a roll with either writing or drawing I can block everything out for hours. I don't think either activity makes me feel a certain way, but I think I feel more proud of myself after doing some drawing because that's the thing I'm trying to improve on. I'm generally satisfied with my writing style and I know I can objectively edit my writing much easier than I can critique my own art. I guess writing makes me feel more at peace after getting some thoughts/ideas out of my head and drawing just makes me frustrated because I'm not up to snuff yet :lol:
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Re: Writing vs. Drawing

#10 Post by VenusEclipse » Fri Mar 29, 2013 11:14 pm

Writing is harder for me. I have to stay attentive and have no distractions. Writing for me is easy to do, but hard to do well. If I don't get a good night's sleep, this turns out bad.
With art, I can stream, chat and relax after the sketch phase. I can do art when I'm sleepy.

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Re: Writing vs. Drawing

#11 Post by OokamiKasumi » Fri Mar 29, 2013 11:36 pm

Obscura wrote:For anybody wearing both the writer and artist hat, do you find that one is significantly more difficult?
Yes.
-- I find Game Illustration far more frustrating than Game Writing, so I tend to look for short-cuts in illustration. In fact, finding free to use professional grade Music is far easier than finding quality images to use in a game.

One might assume that Writing is easier for me because I'm experienced in writing. Not True.

Writing a Story and writing a Game is a case of Apples and Oranges. They're two completely different things. To begin with, the story structure for a Branching plotline is entirely different from a Linear plotline. Also, what ends up in the text of a game is actually reliant on the images one uses -- or doesn't use-- because what the images can't describe; mainly because one simply does not have them, Words MUST.

It's a case of working around one's Limits.

I already know what my limits are in writing, so I know where I need to be 'creative' to get around them. That is the Only reason game writing is less frustrating for me than game illustration.

When it comes to Illustration, I only know my limits when I've hit the invisible brick wall head-first and come to a screeching (bleeding) halt with the sudden realization, "Oh, I can't do that."
  • I Can't use a tablet, I don't have the correct hand-eye coordination to use one. (Too used to drawing on paper.)
  • My pen doesn't do pressure sensitivity in Photoshop (and I still don't know why not #@!)
  • Scanning a drawing results in More work than simply drawing it straight into Photoshop because one has to redraw the ENTIRE IMAGE anyway with the pen tool.
There is no 'being creative' to get around these things because in most cases, I don't even know I need to get around something until I've smacked face-first into it. It's ALL trial and error. What makes this worse is that I can draw. I can paint too! But only a fraction of the skills that I spent half my life perfecting are useful when working on a computer.

THAT is what makes doing art so damned frustrating for me.
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Re: Writing vs. Drawing

#12 Post by LVUER » Sat Mar 30, 2013 3:14 am

OokamiKasumi wrote:
  • I Can't use a tablet, I don't have the correct hand-eye coordination to use one. (Too used to drawing on paper.)
  • My pen doesn't do pressure sensitivity in Photoshop (and I still don't know why not #@!)
  • Scanning a drawing results in More work than simply drawing it straight into Photoshop because one has to redraw the ENTIRE IMAGE anyway with the pen tool.
Buy a Cintiq. The latest Cintiq 13HD costs $1,000. Or a $600 Yiynova or other cheap brands. The new Microsoft Surface also serves a good alternative.

About why your pen doesn't do pressure sensitivity, I don't know unless I can see your PC myself. May be driver or photoshop setting? I also need to tweak some of the settings before my pen do any pressure sensitivity in Photoshop 6.
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Re: Writing vs. Drawing

#13 Post by OokamiKasumi » Sat Mar 30, 2013 10:57 pm

LVUER wrote:
OokamiKasumi wrote:
  • I Can't use a tablet, I don't have the correct hand-eye coordination to use one. (Too used to drawing on paper.)
  • My pen doesn't do pressure sensitivity in Photoshop (and I still don't know why not #@!)
  • Scanning a drawing results in More work than simply drawing it straight into Photoshop because one has to redraw the ENTIRE IMAGE anyway with the pen tool.
Buy a Cintiq. The latest Cintiq 13HD costs $1,000. Or a $600 Yiynova or other cheap brands. The new Microsoft Surface also serves a good alternative.
Spend $1000.00 on a tool I may never learn how to use properly, and only intend to use for Hobby art? Um... I think not.
LVUER wrote:About why your pen doesn't do pressure sensitivity, I don't know unless I can see your PC myself.
ROFLMAO! That's not gonna happen unless you're in NC, USA!
-- It's a Win 7, 64 bit and Photoshop CS5, 64 bit. The pen/tablet I was using is a Bamboo Fun.
LVUER wrote:May be driver or photoshop setting? I also need to tweak some of the settings before my pen do any pressure sensitivity in Photoshop 6.
I suspect it's the drivers (Bamboo Fun is old school,) and that I missed a setting or three somewhere in Photoshop.
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Re: Writing vs. Drawing

#14 Post by LVUER » Sat Mar 30, 2013 11:49 pm

OokamiKasumi wrote:
LVUER wrote:
OokamiKasumi wrote:
  • I Can't use a tablet, I don't have the correct hand-eye coordination to use one. (Too used to drawing on paper.)
  • My pen doesn't do pressure sensitivity in Photoshop (and I still don't know why not #@!)
  • Scanning a drawing results in More work than simply drawing it straight into Photoshop because one has to redraw the ENTIRE IMAGE anyway with the pen tool.
Buy a Cintiq. The latest Cintiq 13HD costs $1,000. Or a $600 Yiynova or other cheap brands. The new Microsoft Surface also serves a good alternative.
Spend $1000.00 on a tool I may never learn how to use properly, and only intend to use for Hobby art? Um... I think not.
LVUER wrote:About why your pen doesn't do pressure sensitivity, I don't know unless I can see your PC myself.
ROFLMAO! That's not gonna happen unless you're in NC, USA!
-- It's a Win 7, 64 bit and Photoshop CS5, 64 bit. The pen/tablet I was using is a Bamboo Fun.
LVUER wrote:May be driver or photoshop setting? I also need to tweak some of the settings before my pen do any pressure sensitivity in Photoshop 6.
I suspect it's the drivers (Bamboo Fun is old school,) and that I missed a setting or three somewhere in Photoshop.
Well, for those who don't have necessary hand-eye coordination to use digital drawing tablet, there is monitor/drawing tablet hybrid. The best in the market is Wacom Cintiq but they're freaking expensive ($2,000+). The latest Cintiq series (13HD) can be said the best yet the cheapest (only $1,000). I know it's not cheap, but still relatively much cheaper.
You can use it for sure, since it's like drawing on top of a monitor screen. Just like the traditional drawing on paper feeling... only better since there's that "undo" button. If $1,000 is still too expensive for you (and it's very expensive for me too, FYI), there are plenty of other alternatives around, you just need to search.
The cheapest, best alternative but definitely the hardest is to build your own Cintiq. Basically you strip a LCD monitor, slip an Intuos inside it, and re-assemble to monitor. Just google for "Build your own Cintiq".

I use Wacom Bamboo Fun (the 1st generation one, still without those fancy touch capability), Win7, Photoshop CS3, and the pressure sensitivity works just fine (I do need to tweak some of the settings). Try re-installing different driver or try other software to see if the pressure sensitivity works. Flash should automatically detect pressure sensitivity without the need of tweaking any setting (use brush tool, not pencil/pen tool).
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Re: Writing vs. Drawing

#15 Post by Obscura » Sat Mar 30, 2013 11:53 pm

Ookami--have you tried Sai? I've had a much better experience trying to do line art in Sai, though some would argue that it's not the Pro way to do line art.
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