I’ve been writing a lot lately and, for me, that process also involves a lot of sketching.
For me, characters always start as an image. Sometimes that image is in my mind. Other times, that image comes out of a doodle, and then gets refined.
That has been the case with one of the characters I’ve been developing for my latest project. I needed a wizardly character, and he originally came out of this page of brainstorming in my notebook:
I then refined the sketch:
As you can see, at first, I thought he would look old and wizened. But as I wrote, and the character began to speak, I realized he was spinning out of my control and leaving behind this initial visual design. As usual, I got stuck and ended up floundering on my keyboard—though not for long. Because I followed the advice I always give to my students. I retreated to my sketchbook and began drawing and reimagining. I ended up producing this new sketch:
As you can see, he is a lot more imposing now. Of course, his look and feel may continue to be refined. But so far, I’m pleased because the sketch accomplished its main purpose: it reinvigorated the character for me and my words once again began to flow . . .