Inside My Cabinet


A makeup artist gave me color-mixing suggestions for black characters. This was my first using her delicious recipe.

I can’t stand metaphors and yet … see my title. Ridiculous. What was the alternative? ‘Here Are Pieces of My Mind, My Thinking?’ That’s no lure. Neither is a cabinet.

I don’t think anyone needs to or wants to know what I think, but how is … well, it’s entertaining to me, which is truly convenient.

When I look back at my note-and-sketchbooks, I’m not appalled, even if it’s appalling. I like seeing how I tried and tried again. And again.

I like finding notes from months ago, paragraphs that aren’t much different and occasionally, are nearly the same, as what appeared in my notebook that day. I like finding notes that remind me how easy it is to be all noble and self righteous until you’re not. I’m SO happy that doesn’t happen often. But it happens.

These are some bits and pieces from last week:


waiting for encouragement and kindness, applause and approval left her in the same position as when she was worrying about disapproval. 

I write copious character notes – not facts or biographical details but things like dialogue, voice and language and cadence tests. I think I’m measuring the distance between what a character says and how they say it and what they really think.

IMG_2718I’m not sure there’s any kind of test like that for kid characters, but it’s an old habit. I skipped the dialogue part and played with other things. A few written notes, a few painted ones.FullSizeRender (77)

Violet is a handful. Violet is wild. Violet doesn’t care on bit, not at all. Ask anyone.

Except Violet. She has one little head and much is happening in it.



I don’t think this is what Violet will look like, unless Violet insists on looking like this. But her story is already different than what I scribbled above.

That’s enough.

FullSizeRender (75)


12 thoughts on “Inside My Cabinet

  1. Belinda, it didn’t work in the ‘easier’ aspect. I imagined just picking paragraphs here and there, but when it came time, some of those were surprisingly long or needed more explanation than what I’d written or drawn or … Ha. I deleted a lot from this post just because it was getting so long. Next time, I might just leave it all, right there for the two people on the planet willing to suffer through it. (Me, being one of those. :))

  2. Well, you are much better at brevity than I am. I’m horrible at it. If there were a course in brevity, I’d sign up.

    I looove the first picture so much. Also Violet with the monster, but I’m a sucker for monsters.

    • Oh no no no no, Cowbell. Editing gets the credit for any brevity I have. (Except in notes. But that’s just the nature of notes, isn’t it?) Otherwise, I’m not. Brief.

      I’m so glad you like that painting! Me, too! It was something like magic, how much better it was. It’s still very hard to paint any of the various shades of black women but I’m pretty happy improving (even if it’s a little little tiny bit. :))

    • She’s beautiful, and I love that you are making the effort to do it well and make them come alive. A lot of artists only “see” what looks like them, so that’s what comes out on the paper. I really like your characters. I’m kind of picky about art (which is not to be confused with knowledgeable; I just know what I like when I see it), but I’m always happy to see what your characters are up to. They’re the types you might want to get to know if you ever fell down a rabbit hole and ended up in an art world.

  3. I probably won’t say this correctly but…..Your art is expressive just in its parts; the watercolors tell a story, the facial expressions, the movement of both the child and the monster…joy, fun. , …but, I have always wanted to think that somehow, when an artist created something, that there was a part of themselves…a shelf in the cabinet…..a secret maybe, a private story, a feeling not obviously expressed…just something special to the artist that they put in their creation that says so much more than the art itself. That came out all weird…but, seeing your notes gives even more life to the art than just the art. Personal is the word I guess I am looking for.

    • I hope the notes are not the stuff that makes your head ache, Rosie. I’ve always thought the very same thing, but that’s because I love art that’s narrative. I like art that experiments with perspective and messing with ideas, too (you know.Message stuff), but mostly I love art that’s trying to tell a story. I love the secrets, the nooks and crannies of someone’s mind. I REALLY love that in writers.

      A lot of artists, though, are just painting. Or designing. That’s it. That’s all. I’ve even met artists who barely know anything about other artists. If I was really nice, I’d say … well, something nice. But I’m not. I think it’s astonishing. (Actually, that WAS pretty nice of me when I mean something a lot LESS nice. Ha.)

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