The next small step in creating our comic would be working on the characters. With this assignment I would like to create two characters for the story: the protagonist and the antagonist (or at least two main characters). I will do this assignment with the other characters too in the following weeks until I have all of them ready.
What do you need to finish this assignment?
- First you should spend some time to imagine and to get to know your characters.
- After that there will be a character sheet you can fill out with infos about your charater. This will hold the most important informations about the given character. You can use this sheet anytime to keep track of your characters. When you have lots of characters this will come in handy.
How to come up with characters?
This process differs from person to person and from character to character. As far as I have experienced coming up with a main character is easier than creating secondary characters. The main character is somehow always with you in your head, at least this is how it was with me. I had an image in my mind, when the time was right I gave her a name. (I will write “her” lots of times, as my main characters are all girls.) Then I gave her a world. This is how I started working on my comic. Nothing extra, she was just there. No story, no plot, just her. Maybe you will go from the other way round: you might have a story idea first and you might invite a protagonist to achive the big goals you planned in the story.
I suggest to let your imagination wild. If nothing comes up, don’t worry. Think about what kind of characters you like that you saw before and start from there. You can get inspiration from films, books, basically from anything around you.
Here is an example: there is a pencil sharpener on my desk which has a cute penguin form. Its color is baby blue. I can imagine a little girl who wears a cute penguin sweater, which has long sleeves and has the same color and the face of the penguin on it. The girl is young and a bit shy. She has light brown hair, and hazelnut colored eyes.
I’ve imagined a character, but I still don’t know anything about her, so it is time to get to know the character better.
Ask questions from your characters
This is a little mind game but it is very fun. Basically you think about your character then you start asking questions from him (her) as if you would be talking with a living person and listen to the answers your character gives to you.
What to ask from your character? Ask anything you want to know. You can ask what he likes to eat or drink, or you can ask about his family and his feelings towards someone. The goal is to let your mind open and let your character show himself. Ask where he lives, how he lives. What does he want, what is his dream? Ask what he likes and what is he missing from his life.
If you are afraid whether you will get an answer, just ask anyway and see what happens. If you get no answers, it is alright, try it an other time. Maybe when you are taking a shower or bath, or just right before sleep.
With these informations you will have a better idea of your character and you can link him easier to the story. You might even get some story ideas you can use to introduce that character or in what direction you want to guide your story. Be very open and let your mind work on that story and the characters freely.
Next week’s assignment:
Use this assignment in the next weeks to gather up your characters. I suggest to work on and finish gathering infos on two characters at a week and move to the next characters the next week. You can work on any number of characters not just two if you want, the point is that you do as many as you are comfortable with but finish those. I will start with my protagonist and my antagonist.
- Imagine your character
- Ask questions from him
- Fill out the character sheet
- Bonus: Sketch your character a few times. Try out different face shapes, hair styles, clothes
- Remember: if you don’t like something you came up with, you can always go back and change it. Nothing is written in stone.
Please share in a comment how you come up with characters.
(Also if you have any question ask anytime.)
You can see how I did with this assignment here: my character homework
Here is a list to help you gather the infos about your characters. You will find some familiar questions there, those are especially important for the main characters. For minor characters not so much. There might be questions you can’t answer at the moment (the secret of the character for example), think about it and fill it out later when you got your answer.
Download the Character Sheet in pdf (It has more rows in it.)
Strenghts (physical and personality):
Weaknesses (physical and personality):
What is his big secret?
What is his main goal?
Why does he want to reach that goal?
What stands in his way?
Will he reach his goal?