VISUAL ART TIP- How I Learned to Love a Very Emotional Thesaurus or A Visual Take on a Book Meant Mostly for Writers: The Emotion Thesaurus.
I've been working recently on my character drawing skills.....and in preparation for a round of sketching I bought Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi's latest offering: The Emotion Thesaurus. It was reviewed in a recent SCBWI Bulletin, and I liked the idea of a book of physical signals reflecting emotions.
I was delighted to find full page entries of 75 different kinds of emotional states. I typed up a list of all the emotions (they were arranged alphabetically in the book) and rearranged the 75 listings according to loosely based categories that I put into light, medium and heavy groups. Like the three emotions Conflicted, Confusion and Overwhelmed felt like they should be arranged going from Conflicted which seemed to be a lite emotion, which could escalate to a medium emotion, Confused and which if not resolved, could go into a heavy Overwhelmed mode. These were purely arbitrary categories.
After this I “ran with my scissors”, and cut up all the 75 categories into individual slips of paper, and threw them into a cup. I pulled out one listing to start my sketching, resolving to try to do the same each day or so.
Of course the first slip of paper I pull out from the cup, Conflicted, led me to also pull out Confused and Overwhelmed. After reading the three entries in Emotion Thesaurus, I started sketching. You can see my first efforts below.
While sketching, I was already musing what I could do to “up the ante” on the poses I chose. How to make the kid's expressions “even more so” than my beginning sketch. And I was also thinking ahead about just “WHAT” had elicited these emotions in my models. I'm already thinking that the little boy that's Overwhelmed could be trying to wave off an overly exuberant St Barnard puppy with muddy paws.......or a cat that has just been sprayed by a skunk? The possibilities are endless!