1. Welcome to the Fantasy Writing Forums. Register Now to join us.

I Suck At Drawing And I'm About To Lose A Few Friends

Discussion in 'Chit Chat' started by DragonOfTheAerie, Dec 19, 2016.

  1. Devor

    Devor Fiery Keeper of the Hat Moderator

    Mental disorders come in types. Autism is a hardwiring of the brain. For whatever reason, homosexuality is (stereo)typically associated with personality disorders, such as histrionic personality disorder or borderline personality disorder. Those are disorders that often develop from personal and sociological experiences, such as being bullied as a child.

    There's no reason that an autistic gay character should be an issue - in fact, if anything, I would think it's frustrating to the autistic community to advocate that it is.

    Man being PC is complicated sometimes.
    Ireth likes this.
  2. I mean...I'm on the spectrum myself (Aspergers, which is now classified as part of the autism spectrum.) Many people don't see their autism spectrum disorder (including me) as a disorder, just a difference. I'm very nerdy and I like nerdy people. I also used to cut the seams out of my socks. Autism looks different in everyone, basically. This character's sensory difficulties are greater than my own, but sensory difficulties are part of it. So...yeah, I'm channeling myself a lot into this character. Now, I'm straight myself, and am much more a book nerd than a technology nerd. But...anyway.

    So I guess I don't see his autism as something that's "wrong" with him. I don't really see my own quirks in brain wiring as a bad thing. As for the nerdy, I needed him to be somewhat nerdy, because he invents things and that's his "superpowers." Like Batman, I guess.

    I'm well aware of the electroshock therapy and other inhumane methods used to "cure" homosexuality. Horrible. :(
    Ireth likes this.
  3. Nerdy is nothing to be ashamed of an neither is Aspergers. We're all a little nerdy for something, aren't we?

    Clothes are often very hard for people with ASD to tolerate, anything with uncomfortable textures or itchy tags, because sensory stimuli are often a lot "louder." I know I used to hate socks and lots of different articles of clothing; it was all so uncomfortable. Also, the food!! I'm so sensitive to textures.
    Ireth likes this.
  4. Miskatonic

    Miskatonic Auror

    I guess what you need to ask yourself is whether or not you have the time and motivation to learn to draw so that you can execute your ideas at the level of quality they require.

    I was in a similar predicament with my fantasy story. I originally wanted to have it be a graphic novel, but given I can't draw and don't have the funds to commission the work via a professional artist, I just decided to go with a standard novel format. If you can make money off your novels then you could start putting aside money to invest in a graphic novel or comic book version of the story you are brainstorming.
  5. I can't see this one working as a novel. It just wouldn't work.

    And, I don't know how long it will take for me to get "good enough," or even how to tell if I am "good enough."
  6. Nimue

    Nimue Auror

    Can I suggest something? Look at webcomics. I've seen webcomics that vary hugely in terms of art quality and style, but all tell good stories. In addition, the sheer progress in quality of some of the long-running series is a lesson in itself on not waiting until you're "good enough." You become good by practicing, and that practice can be starting to tell this story. A lot of webcomics artists will redraw their older work as they improve, so that's always an option.

    Honestly, I would suggest thinking about making this story a webcomic if it's one that you can't comfortably share with your friends. I mean, don't go in expecting a large readership, but some people will read it and give you feedback. That might ameliorate your desire to be read without having to risk friendships (I'm going to separate the issues at hand from your practical concerns right now. That's a personal decision and depends on the nature of these relationships.)

    There are a lot of webcomic forums and collectives where you could discuss writing and art for a comic or graphic novel--figure drawing, backgrounds, layouts, etc. You could get feedback on your art right now, and advice on how to improve it that'll be grounded in peer experience. Just a thought.
    valiant12 likes this.
  7. valiant12

    valiant12 Sage

    Webcomics are great for improving your drawing skills.
    However I won't be super optimistic about receiving a lot of feedback. My webcomic never received comments, about the quality of the art.
  8. Devouring Wolf

    Devouring Wolf Troubadour

    Well my advice would be to hold off writing this story until you've figured out how you feel about homosexuality. Its hard to create something and stand by it when your own feelings are confused. Because its your story and you created every part of it (perhaps not in a conscious effort but this character came from you imagination). People are going to assume you chose to make this character gay for a purpose, and that this reflects your worldview. Even the fact that you want this character to "just be" is in fact a stance. It implies you believe homosexuality is innate and not a conscious decision (I'm not saying that's what you believe just that to me and probably others its implied)

    My story includes many things people find objectionable. For example I portray a rapist as a sympathetic character. I know when/ if I ever let anyone read it, there are going to be people who will misunderstand the point I was trying to make and accuse me of "condoning rape". But this doesn't bother me because I know why I made that character a rapist and I know what my thoughts on rape are.

    As for jeopardizing your friendship. This is another reason why I think you should sort out your own beliefs because only then will you know if your stance about this issue is worth alienating friends.
    Heliotrope likes this.
  9. Tom

    Tom Istar

    Okay, first I'd like to get this out of the way. I am trans and bisexual. I also have ADHD and an as-yet undiagnosed mood disorder. I'm also pretty nerdy. I am a "real life" gay person and I don't object to mentally ill gay characters. The problem isn't having gay characters with mental disorders--in fact, I'd like to see more of it! Not all gay people are neurotypical. The problem IS the unfortunate tendency of writers to treat their LGBTQ and neurodivergent/mental ill characters like shit.

    Treat them like real people. That's literally the key to writing LGBTQ and mentally ill/neurodivergent characters. They're people, and they should have a real character arc and a personality with traits beyond being LGBTQ/mentally ill. If they don't, they're at best a flat character and at worst an offensive stereotype.

    Alright, now that we're past that.

    @Dragon, I understand where you're coming from all too well. I was raised in an extremely conservative Christian environment as well, surrounded by people, especially family and close friends, who viewed homosexuality as a sin. From a very early age I knew I was trans and bi, even if I didn't have the specific words to put to it, and a lot of my stories featured LGBTQ characters in prominent roles. I often didn't even realize I was writing them LGBTQ, even if it was pretty blatant. One of my earliest characters was a trans boy who defied his father and escaped his arranged marriage to seek adventure.

    I was in a very similar situation as you are now for a while in my mid-teens. I was just starting to realize my identity, and my writing reflected that. The main character of Southerner, which I've been writing for years, is gay, and one of the other protagonists is bisexual. I chose not to reveal the fact to my friends, and intentionally kept romance out of Southerner's plot to avoid the subject entirely. I wrote a lot of stories that were only for me at that time, and what I did show my friends and family was the "safe" stuff that didn't have overtly LGBTQ characters.

    The situation you're in is a sticky one, and I'd advise you to consider very carefully whether to show your friends this story. I know that that seems extreme, but it's best to be on the safe side. I never shared my LGBTQ characters with my friends, because I knew that they had been raised to believe as their parents did and that I would lose what few friendships in an environment where I was already alienated, being visibly gender non-conforming. If you feel you can share your story without losing friends, I encourage you to. Challenging negative perceptions of LGBTQ people is important. It's something I've tried to do with my conservative friends as I've become more confident in my identity.

    It sounds like this is a pretty overwhelming decision. If you want to talk about it, feel free to PM me.
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2016
  10. I'll tell you where I am: The fact that it isn't a conscious decision (or at least not usually) is apparent to me from the world around me and from the people I know or know of who are LGBT. (Friends of friends, friends of family, family of friends...no one close, but close enough to piece together bits of their stories.) So, yes, there is that. Is that a stance? To me it's a fact.

    Saying I "agree with homosexuality" is just kind of weird to me, since I'm not gay, and thus it really doesn't affect me personally. My reasoning for this character being gay was that he's human and that some humans are gay. But, yeah, I don't really know where I am, but I'm at the point where I think it's not my place to dictate how other people "should" behave and I should support and love people regardless. In my environment I hear a lot of talk about "standing against sin" or whatever but to me it feels like standing against PEOPLE. I've decided that I want to be a person all my friends know they are safe from condemnation and judgment with, no matter their sexuality, because in this environment condemnation and judgment come from everywhere. Talking about "issues" seems pretty ethereal when people are committing suicide, or otherwise existing in misery, because they feel like there is no one who they are safe with.

    Where I am right now, if my best friend walked up to me and said "I'm a lesbian," I couldn't look her in the eye and tell her, "That's wrong." Or however i am "supposed" to respond. She would be my friend, and the fact that she told me that means an enormous amount of trust is there. So I would tell her that I would support her no matter what, because...she's my friend. And I would want her to feel safe with me. Not threatened, not judged.

    I am a Christian and Christianity is about self-sacrificial love, empathy and compassion for all people, not a set of issues we have a pre-determined stance on.

    I have such an intense need for an honest handling of humanity. I wrote a paper on Christian literature not too long ago and was very critical of it because, from what I've read in the genre and heard about it, it tends to create an ideal reality that's more comfortable for Christians instead of actually addressing reality. Reality is COMPLICATED.

    I love this character. I want to write his story. I think this character does struggle with his sexuality. I may even write him as a Christian, I don't know. His friends all respond differently to his sexuality. I just want it to be authentic and real. Not some idealized reality where everything is easier to decide.

    Have I made a decision about what I "think" about the morality of what other people do? Not really. Do I know how I will behave in my life? More or less yes. That's what matters to me.
  11. First of all, thanks for putting your perspective and story into this discussion. It's very helpful. :)

    And...yeah. I've been in a horrible state of frustration over the awful way disabled and mentally ill or neurodiverse characters are written. As if their "different" trait defines them completely, and they aren't a person apart from it; their story will never be about anything else. And I guess the same holds true for gay characters! Unfortunately. :(

    You see, all the stories about Aspie characters seem to be about the fact that they have Aspergers. Where are the badass dragon riders who just-so-happen to have Aspergers? Nowhere, that's where. Because a book with an Aspie character is a book about Aspergers, not a book about dragon riding or wizardry or rescuing dogs from desperate situations or competing in chess tournament or trying to create a revolutionary new brand of taffy. The literary world still seems to tell people "you don't exist apart from your disability/mental illness/difference." :(

    So, yeah. I have a very intense need to NOT DO THAT.

    As for showing people...this sounds a little devious but I think not liking to share my artwork (I really don't like sharing) is a good enough excuse to not show people. I've discussed this with one of my less conservative friends and she sees it basically as an opportunity to initiate thoughts and discussion on sexuality, just by showing the humanity and struggles of a character who is gay. She thinks I could open up people's minds. and part of me wants to.

    I may not lose any friends in name, but I'm worried about what kind of rift I will drive. It's hard to anticipate what the consequences may be.
    Tom likes this.
  12. Meanwhile my drawing is still depressing me. I drew Kylo Ren. My brother's only comment was that "ugh he looks girly." Thanks brother.

    I must spend an hour or three daily on drawing and I'm getting better but I still don't know if I'll ever be "good enough." Only my pure stubbornness is keeping me committed to this. :/
  13. Tom

    Tom Istar

    Exactly! It's so hard to find books about characters with ADHD who aren't comedy relief or whose only defining character trait is "random and hyper xD!!!1!". The very first character with ADHD I could identify with was Percy Jackson. Percy had actual personality outside of his ADHD and was taken seriously by the narrative and by the other characters. It struck a deep chord with me because I'd never seen that before. Kudos to Rick Riordan for writing a story in which his son and kids like him could see themselves in the hero.

    Not liking showing people your work--that sounds like me! I've always been incredibly secretive about my stuff, especially when I was younger and didn't have a ton of confidence in my abilities. It's an invaluable defense mechanism.

    That's okay! Adam Driver's face is hard to pin down. Trust me, I've tried! It took me a long time to figure out how to draw people with unconventional looks. Traditionally "feminine" features are easier to render because they're softer and usually have simpler lines, and it's not a bad thing that your faces look feminine right now. When you start to get the hang of it you'll find angular, less generic features have become less intimidating. A lot of my characters still look feminine, though that largely comes down to the cartoonish, androgynous style I've developed over the years.

    Just keep practicing! Drawing every day is the best way to improve. Stay consistent and you'll start to see progress with every drawing you create. I'm an art student and I'm still refining basic skills that I thought I'd nailed. One of the things that I do that might help you is to set aside your drawings and come back to them in 2-3 months. It gives you real perspective on how much you've progressed in just a short time. (My drawings from the beginning of this semester look absolutely awful to me now...)
  14. Thank you so much for being encouraging; I always need it. ;) And yes Adam Driver is hard! I think I gave his hair too much volume (nothing wrong with lots of volume to your hair though!) and made his face rounder than it should be. Maybe I can draw the same picture over and over again until I get it the way I like it...That could be good practice, actually.

    (While drawing him I was forced to confront that i actually find him very attractive. Time to embrace my dark side, I guess.)

    My dad and brother have ADD, which is ADHD without the hyperactivity, and because of that neither of them are anything like the stereotypes. My brother isn't the stereotypical "trouble-maker kid who always fidgets." He just can't apply his mind to one thing for more than 10 seconds (I mean that literally.) When he's trying to sustain concentration on something you can see how painful it is for him. My dad on the other hand, is always bouncing from idea to idea, getting passionate about something for a day and then burning out. Of course in school he was basically like my brother, but he got put in medication really early. Said brother is obsessed with Percy Jackson, actually, but he's never said anything about the MC's ADHD.

    I'd love to see a story with a badass character with an anxiety disorder (like me.) Who is like a sky pirate or dragon rider or something, and who occasionally wakes up having a panic attack and has to implement coping mechanisms in her day to day life, but at the end of the day is just a character rather than an Anxiety Disorder Character. It's just an aspect of who she is like her blond hair or gray eyes. It doesn't affect the plot whatsoever, it's just an aspect of the character. I really want that.
    Tom likes this.
  15. Tom

    Tom Istar

    To be fair, Kylo Ren has amazing volume. Which is odd for someone who goes around in a helmet all the time...He must use hairspray. :p

    Doing several passes of one drawing is a great way to practice. Especially when you're trying to nail down a face. When I'm drawing a new character, I fill up pages and pages of my sketchpad while getting used to their features and expressions.

    (And yeah, Adam Driver is kind of attractive...I resisted admitting it to myself for the longest time, but here I am...)

    I was originally diagnosed with ADD, but they changed the diagnosis a few years ago after updating their research. And hey presto! I got rediagnosed with ADHD. I was something of the "troublemaker kid"--I was easily bored and tended to alleviate my boredom with disruptive behavior. And I had NO self-restraint at all. Teachers had to tell me to be quiet in class constantly. I'm something like your dad; I jump from ideas quickly, and hyperfocus on one thing before losing interest completely.

    Oh my god, that would make an amazing story! I have an assassin character who has an anxiety disorder, as well as auditory processing disorder (which is something I have, thanks to ADHD). He dislikes social situations and reacts negatively to loud, crowded environments, especially ones where multiple people are talking at once. He has regular panic attacks. It doesn't really effect the plot, except to render one mission a total bust when he has a panic attack in the middle of it. One friend of mine suggested I make his social anxiety the reason why he's a lone wolf-type assassin, but I didn't want that. He's not an assassin because he has anxiety, he's just an assassin with anxiety.

    I need to read that ok O_O
    Tom likes this.
  17. Tom

    Tom Istar

    Well, there's not much to read now, unfortunately! I have a lot of notes on the plot, but I'm only a few pages into the story proper...I could PM you what I have, if you want. :)
  18. Ehh, I'll wait until you've get a full story ;)
    Tom likes this.
  19. Upon re-watching The Force Awakens, I had the helpful realization that I don't have a problem with drawing Kylo Ren's chin crooked. It IS crooked.
  20. Tom

    Tom Istar

    It really is. :D His mouth is also difficult to draw properly...something about it makes me think my proportions are off...

Share This Page