There are so very many ways to come up with characters. Some simply pop into your mind with the plot others appear with their back stories, and still others come quite easily as you start to write.
But other times to have your main character, your plot, and your side kick… but where is the rest of the crew, and what on earth do these people look like?
**As a warning, this post is filled to the brim with cringe worthy sketches and doodles, some of which are three years or older… enter at your own risk and my apologies for any injuries
Sketching to Find Your Characters
In 2014 when I was brainstorming for Sparrow Singing, then called The Sparrow Who Couldn’t Sing, I had a main plot idea, my MC Lyric, and her best friend. But I knew there needed to be a bunch of other people,as it takes place largely in a school. NaNo was fast approaching and here I was without any characters.
So I started sketching. A not very good sketch, sure, but I tried to make the people look different n’stuff, and as I sketched, I got personalities. I searched names, back stories and things started to come together.
(if you want to see the cringe pic:
These then became my “main” girls, who I focused on throughout the book. Top to bottom, left to right, we have Ember, Calandra, Sidonia, Idella, Alice and of course, Lyric.
This further transferred into closer studies on what these girls looked like:
Before I drew out that group of girls, I had little to work with. After, I had a bunch of faces and people to discover. Sketching out a crew helped me to find these people and integrate them into my story.
Another example of sketching to find your crew is this one:
I just got my first pack of prismacolors this summer so I was trying to experiment… but since this is was in the summer, I had NaNo on the brain. So they all turned into silhouettes of characters in Book Three. I was able to gather sub-plots and personalities and all those goodies as I doodled.
Sketching to Learn More About Your Characters:
Another plus for sketching to find characters is you can also sketch out characters you already sort of know. (That’s a bit obvious but oh well.) I knew who my character for Truth Remaining, the second book in my series, would be. Her name? Thea. ENTJ. A leader. But it really helped to draw her out and visualize her before I spent 30 days writing her.
Sketching Thea out also helped me to learn more about my story world. Since this is dystopian and the majority of the people in my world are all laborers, they have simple clothing and short cut hair to keep things simple in clean up.
Without going into of detail, Ember goes through a lot of junk in her book. It helped for me to sketch her out in those various life phases… and get scene ideas… also, Calandra, because Calandra plays a larger role in book three.
Sketching and drawing might now be for everyone, but you should consider giving it a try! You never know, it might strike your fancy 😀
Have you ever drawn your characters? What do you usually use to figure out your cast of characters?
bonus cringe pictures of sparrow and shrew because you survived reading this post: