A Method for Your Madness: Drawing to Flesh Out Characters


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:


so much cringe. look at that shading. those shoes. oh gosh.

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:


Calandra, Sidonia, Idella, and Alice. cringe.

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:


Some peeps from Ember Burning, book three. 


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.


early thea, circa early 2015


Thea in mid 2015, right before I wrote her actual book


I was actually practicing my human figure here, but it turned into Thea and then it turned into a possible scene for book three! See how this works?

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.


Sketches of Ember (in purple) and Calandra (in red) from Summer 2016

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:

*insert d’aw*


9 thoughts on “A Method for Your Madness: Drawing to Flesh Out Characters

  1. Your drawings are far from cringe worthy! They’re super lovely, and I can see all the effort and thought that went into each one. My favourite ones are of Shrew and Sparrow, and of Thea. There’s so much emotion communicated through the shading and postures. ❤ Thanks for sharing your method! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This was a really cool post! (and those drawings are so much better than I can do. Xd) I have tried drawing my characters to help flesh them out as well -with varying degrees of success- and have actually discovered some cool characters arcs in the process.
    Also, I really admire you sketches of Thea, she looks like a neat character. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

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