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?

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**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:

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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:

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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.

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early thea, circa early 2015
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Thea in mid 2015, right before I wrote her actual book
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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.

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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*

 

January 2017 Monthly Look Back

Wow. Can you believe we’re only two days away from the end of January? Can you believe that at the beginning of the month I wanted to be finished editing beta reader comments for Sparrow Singing?

lol neither can I. 😄

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Highlights of the Month:

January has flown by. This semester I’m doing a dual credit Earth and Science class. It’s been interesting, to say the least, and so much different than the Spanish class I took last semester.

Another fun life fact, I went to audition for my co-op’s play, Alice in Wonderland.

Okay, story time. These plays my co-op puts on usually aren’t ‘little productions,’ by any means. They’ll run for two hours or more, have set change after set change, costumes, and it will even be recorded and put on DVD. I’ve never done it before, of course. Me, the introvert? On stage saying lines? Um, no. That is not me.

Last year I worked on the crew, and helped with props n’such. But it was so fun getting to be around all of my friends and seeing a play come to life…So this year I decided to audition. When I arrived I was shaking and well… we won’t go into details, but it wasn’t pretty.

Some friends pulled me out of the bathroom with just enough time for me to audition. Later that night I got a call back from the three ‘directors,’ and apparently, I’m Alice. Well, one of the two Alice’s (it’s a big role and they didn’t want to chance having one Alice and her then getting sick)

head box spazz mandatory tissues

So that goes to show you: Try new things. Don’t be too worried about stepping outside your comfort zone, even if your whole body is screaming at you to: a) continuing hiding in the bathroom, b) get your keys and drive home and never come out from under the covers c) take the easy route out and do the small job. You have to let go of your worry and anxiety and trust God.

9 But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is perfected in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly in my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest on me. 10 That is why, for the sake of Christ, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

You may regret it later on, when you look back on all those chances you had that you didn’t take. Especially if you’re in highschool. As highschooler, do you even realize how many opportunities there are to do all kinds of things? Yes, even if you’re homescooled like I am! Trying new sports, taking dual-credit college classes, learning new languages, learning an instrument, getting into conferences for cheaper prices, or trying out for drama.

You don’t have to become a professional basketball player or a flutist or major in Russian… but you probably won’t have another chance to try those things after highschool if you don’t.

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Anyway, rant over. Onto books and other writerly things. 😄

 

Books read:

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I read some great fantasy and some great historical fiction… however, another short story:

I’ve been reading more of the Lunar Chronicles this month. Unbeknownst to me, when I finished Cress I was supposed to read Fairest. I went to the library and got Winter, even though Fairest was sitting right there on the shelf like it had been for months… I asked twitter and yes, Fairest is 3.5 and Winter is 4, so I needed to got back and get Fairest.

I went the next week and Fairest was gone and I asked the librarian what happened, fairest isn’t even in the system anymore, and apparently in that one weeks time their only copy was lost/destroyed/broken. -.-

So I’m stuck until the inter-library loan arrives. But this is such a first world problem. I should be thankful I’m even capable of reading and have access to books. 😄

 

Blogging:

I thought about changing my blogging schedule back to twice a week, but since I’m in a play, we’re going to stick to once a week. Every Sunday, if all goes well. 😄

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Writing:

At the beginning of this month, I set out to finish editing my Beta reader’s comments. I’m about 67% of the way through. It’s my own fault for not getting it done sooner. I’ll get stuck on one thing or just look at Scrivener and think “meh” instead of writing.

My newish deadline is February 5th. Then:

 

 

In February:

*releases breath.* 1/12 of the year done. Five months until my birthday, until summer… I shouldn’t be thinking about Summer.

Well, in February I’m hoping to keep plodding along with school and then memorizing lines. Prayers would be appreciated, as my knowledge is limited in this area. 😄

I’m also hoping to finish the Lunar Chronicles! I need more Cress and Thorne…. and Kai and Cinder… and you know, Wolf and Scarlet. And Iko. 😅 No spoliers, please.

How did the first month of YOUR year go? How’s school, writing, life, reading, blogging, breathing, going for you?