Basil Bitterthistle: how I create a believable and hopefully enduring supporting character

For todays blog I thought I’d explain how I create a character for my book. There are a few ways this happens for me some organic some not so much. Most the time I will have written a section of the book where I ask myself what needs to be, or can be explained more thoroughly ,in order to create character depth or add conflict to a slow section of the story. When this happens its usually during the outlining stage and I don’t have a complete vision of the story. Once I find theses spots and begin to expand on them the main characters usually run into other creatures and personalities. By the time I figure out the scene or scenes I already have a faint voice for the new character. I can hear how they talk, understand how the speak, what nuances they may have & can see what their overall silhouette would be in my head. I then start sketching, starting with an overall shape. Keeping in mind their role in the story usually will give me a general race or at least narrow it down. I start there just blocking in large shapes and working on how I feel the character will stand, are they meek and hunched over, large and loud, needing a blocky frame, male, female etc. Once I feel I have the gesture down I start with the face. Most my creatures just tend to be older, I’m not sure why they end up being so ,but rarely do I write younger characters aside from the leads. In Basils case, I knew he was the cowardly type and also I seen him as a brownie. I sketched out a wrinkly old brownie with noodle like arms and legs and figured he had to be running scared. Once I have that I'll go back and read his dialogue. This helps me see the face it was coming from and thus start to know what direction to head in for the features. I began to dig up reference of wrinkles eyes and expressions. Scattered them around my desk and started working on the face. Once I had a solid person to look at the rest can easy. Some based on brownie folklore and some from just the look and design of Cammarose (my world) and its outlying lands. His look was almost there, time to paint. I think he would dress in flamboyant colors to reflect his exaggerated body and personality. However he lives a meager  life as a thief of sorts so I thought I’d give him faded attire. This way the reader could see the personality through the outfit ,but it wouldn’t look out of place with his lifestyle. I also made it a bit of a hodgepodge to feel as though he had picked up these items along the way. Once I have a character look I love I go back to the story and flesh it out a bit more. Having a visual template really helps me understand their actions, emotions and behavior much better. Thats it ,thats how I create a supporting character. I’ll go into detail on how I actually drew up this little guy later on along with how I painted him and why I choose gouache to do so. I’ll go into how I come up with main characters and their designs in the future as well. Hope you enjoyed until next time stay true.

 

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