CHARACTER CREATING TIPS
Part 2: Designing
Here we will address the actual designing process, helping you pick the best features for your original character, these are not rules, just suggestions to consider.
#1. Hair should match the characters personality and lifestyle.
Granted a person can have whatever hairstyle they like, but they also take into consideration what they do for a living, or a hobby.
If the character is an active one, like a fighter for example, they might want short hair that’s easy to maintain and quick to fix. Or medium length hair that can easily be pulled back into small ponytails and buns, but don’t rule out long hair, just consider what your character would like best.
If the character is a semi-active character, that relies more on others thing to do its dirty work, like machines or magic, they’ll probably have longer hair that they can put up into whatever they please.
Also, if the character is royalty, or of high-rank, he/she might prefer long hair to help show off their wealth and power. It also helps that they have servants to wash and brush their hair, and don’t have to do it themselves.
Now remember, these are all just things for you to consider when designing the hair. Creating the hairstyle that is best for your character is the most important thing.
#2. The eyes should reveal the soul.
Eyes are one the characters most important attributes, they reveal much about the character. So, consider gender, age, and personality when designing them.
Innocent or young characters usually have big eyes, to help portray this more. It is a proven fact that the bigger the eye and pupil the more “loving” a person seems. A grown-up with large eyes might seem unnatural.
Small eyes are usually associated with shady characters, like untrustworthy salesmen, or an assassin.
The average size for an eye is generally good for every character, whatever the age or gender.
If your character has something unique about their eyes, like slit pupils, having a slightly larger then normal eye-shape will help define that more.
#3. The skin tone should reflect what the character does, and where they live.
The most common mistake people make when designing a character is that they don’t consider what the character does, or where he/she lives when they pick a skin color.
Characters that travel in the open a lot will most definitely have slightly tanned or tanned skin. There is no possible way your character can traverse the world, and still be as pale as porcelain. The only exception is if it has something to do with the character’s species.
Characters that stay indoors most of the day will more then likely have more of a ghostly white skin, then a healthy peach tone.
Characters that live in really hot climates will more then likely have really dark skin, to help them deal with the heat.
Always consider the species of your character when choosing the skin-tone. If the species your character comes from all have green skin, then your character will have green skin.
#4. Keep the descriptions clean and crisp.
When describing your character to other people, try to keep it as easy to understand as possible, this will help keep the conversation enjoyable, and the character will be easier to visualize. Describing every single last shade of colors in your characters hair will frustrate and confuse those listening.
Don’t be poetic when describing your characters attributes, keep that reserved to actual poetry. Descriptions like, “Her hair was dark brown like the deepest richest dark chocolate, which the nobles of old would eat, with a touch of golden honey highlights, drizzled here and there.” Not only is this description disturbing, but it makes us think the creator is in need of sugar. A good way to say it would’ve been: “Her hair was dark brown, with a touch of gold highlights here and there.”
Don’t describe every singly last fluctuation of color in your characters hair, use simple terms, it gets the image across faster. Instead of saying, “His hair was black, dark blue, dark purple and pale green.” simply say, “His hair was black, blue, purple, and green.” And when the question arises you can specify the exact shades later.
These tips can be applied to any parts of the description process, so please consider them.
#5. Keep the body shape realistic.
Another mistake that people often do is not match the body-shape of their character, to what the character actually does or is.
Young girls will not have a shapely womanly figure, of course some girls mature fast, but they still won’t have the body of a woman until they actually are a woman. If you want a mature body-shape for a younger character, consider making the character in his/her 20’s.
Skinny, wiry people cannot wield large weapons. If you want your character to have a big weapon, give them big muscles to match, but if you want a wiry/skinny character then give them a smaller more appropriate weapon. And, unless your character has massive arm muscles which they work out everyday, they CANNOT wield large weapons with one hand.
If a character doesn’t do much physical work, they will not be very strong, or surprisingly strong, they will be skinny and weak. They might be fast, but strength only comes from actually using muscles.
You can be strong without large muscles, but you cannot wield large weapons without large muscles. Assassin like characters will more then likely be strong, but not muscle-bound, needing agility and speed a lot more.
Supernatural strength is a very rare exception to not having large muscles. This may come from being a certain species, or being imbued with powers. A word to the wise though, having more then one character imbued with special powers is repetitive, you might want to consider the species one instead.
You can apply these tips to any of your characters, considering these will help you make a better more realistic character.