Friday, September 27, 2013

Character Sketching

As promised, here's another peek inside Her Ladyship's sketchbook:

This was the first sketch I drew of Tom Doyle, Kit's former childhood friend and now chief inspector at Rumsen Main, New Scotland Yard. I think I got Tom's hair and eyes as I see him in my head, but everything else could use some retouching and refining.

I generally don't show anyone my sketches of my characters because I'm not particularly skilled at drawing people, and often my efforts fall short of what I imagine my characters to look like. The reason I'm posting this one is to show you that if that happens, it's okay. For one thing, you can always do another sketch. Also, character visualization tends to be a process, not an instant transfer from your brain to paper (unless you're a gifted artist, and then we all hate you.)

Even when the results turn out not so great, you can still discover things about your character from your failed sketches. This drawing helped me figure out a lot about Tommy; the way he wears his hair, that uncompromising/steely look in his eyes, and the way the self-discipline he learned during his time in the navy shows in his appearance. Sketching Tom helped me discover how precise he is, how often he doesn't allow himself to smile, and a couple dozen other things.

If you want to sketch your characters but you're limited on artistic talent like me, I wrote a post over on the writing blog here on how to use existing images of people and transfer paper to create sketching outlines that may help.


  1. Wow that's spooky! Your word-drawing of him was brilliant because that's the way I envisaged him, except I had a softer mouth. Amazing.

    1. Tom has always been very clear to me, and I think of all the characters I've been able to best translate my vision of him into the story. Now when I show you the three sketches I've done of Dredmore, you might start shaking your head. . . . lol.

  2. I should be half that good! All my characters look like stick people...