Friday, June 21, 2013

Character Sketches

Perhaps my favorite way to keep my hands busy during any tabletop RPG is to draw my character.

I'm an extremely visual person. Just like miniatures, a sketch of your character can help add an extra facet to the visualization of your game.

Shouting "Look! A huge White Dragon!" will evoke a clear image in the heads of everyone at the table.
Shouting "Look! A half-elven Arcane Archer, flamboyantly dressed in cape and top hat ala a stage magician but with an incredibly large composite longbow!" will do the same thing, but as the saying goes a picture is worth 1000 words.

D&D, Pathfinder, and all similar cooperative storytelling games are inherently creative. I like to have some sort of visual reference during the game. You'll often see me standing up at the table and miming the attacks of my Arcane Archer, with one hand outstretched and the other drawn back to my cheek as if firing a bow. But when I want to well and truly convey to everyone at the table what my character looks like from head to toe, I spend some time to put it all down on paper.

So try your hand at sketching your character! You might find that you enjoy it, even if your first attempts are pretty bad (and all of ours are). What's more, you might find out that drawing your character allows you to get a better picture of who they are. Sure, you might know how tall they are, or what color their hair is, but what is their idea of fashion? Do they have any interesting piercings or tattoos?

If you aren't a fan of creating your own art, there are other options as well:

Many artists do commissions of character sketches for relatively cheap if you shop around. Just check out any online artist community, like DeviantArt.
Some communities even exist that encourage soliciting pro bono artwork, like Reddit's r/characterdrawing/.
Barring that, there's always Google image search. Just look at all this pre-made artwork to choose from!

The world may be saturated with fantasy artwork already, but I don't think there can ever truly be enough. Now go, put your pencil to paper and breathe some visual life into your characters!

1 comment:

  1. I know exactly what you mean. I spent a lot of time working out the character and background for my witch, Apteryx, but she only really became Apteryx, Dowager Countess Mantelli, once I had a picture of her.

    Unfortunately, I'm a lousy artist, so I had a custom paper mini done by Tim Jenkins of Battle! Studio. Either way, I absolutely agree with you.