Character Sketch Breakdown - Physical Appearance

Author: Anastasia V. Pergakis // Category:

Today we are going to look at the second section of the character sketch I use.

Physical Appearance

  • Age:
  • Race:
  • Eye Color:
  • Hair Color/Style:
  • Build (Height/Weight):
  • Skin Tone:
  • Style of Dress:
  • Tattoos/Scars:
  • Other Physical Attributes:
Now, this section is relatively easy to fill in. However, you can get quite detailed here. You can also add more sections if you need to or take out ones that you don't need. As a Fantasy writer, I might have some things here that other writers don't need, so don't feel like you have to fill out every area if you decide to use this.

Age – I enter in the age they are at the beginning of the book/series and at the end. This helps me to remember the time line based on how much time passes between the beginning and the end of the book. For example, I have one character, Karina, who is age 10 at the beginning of the series but she's almost 20 by the end of it. So I on her sketch sheet, I have "10/20".

Race – This could be something simple if you are writing a contemporary type of story. For fantasy however, it can get pretty interesting. The main characters in Burden of Prophecy are Traca faeries. Just a made up name I came up with to name their race. So here I put "Traca faery" then make a notation to see the setting sketch for their country. The other sketch contains details and common occurrences in their race. (Like light colored hair or horns on their head for example.)

Eye Color – Blue? Green? Purple? You can be as detailed here as you like. You can even mention eye shape or pupil shape if you need to.

Hair Color/Style – Long or Short? Blonde or Brunette? Curly or Straight? Again you can get a bit more detailed here as you can get really specific on length or color (strawberry blonde or hair hangs down to waist.)

Build (Height/Weight) – I always use specific heights and weights but you don't have to. I do just because it helps me visualize the person. Drache's sketch says "6'3, 200 lbs, athletic build, very toned and muscular"

Skin Tone – You can have a bit of fun here too if you write Sci-fi or Fantasy. I have one race of faeries that has green skin and another is silver that sparkles in the sunlight (like a diamond almost). You can also mention skin type here – do you have a teen that has acne? Perhaps a character with really dry skin that might affect the character as they live in a dry, cold climate. Any details you add will only help you portray your character in the story.

Style of Dress - How do they dress most of the time? Tunic or t-shirt? What type of shoes? You can also add notes about how they would dress at other times such as formal functions. If your character is in the Military or some type of warrior – mention what their uniform would look like here also. I also make a note about who or what to imagine. Drache's sketch says "Think of Phillip from Sleeping Beauty" to help me remember exactly how his tunic is styled. You can also use this section to mention any jewelry the character might wear, you can make Jewelry/Accessories it's own section if that would be easier for you.

Tattoos/Scars – Explain where the markings are and what they look like. For example, if I were to mention my own markings I’d say "Cross with rose wrapped around it on left arm, Pegasus on right arm, moon on outside-right ankle, butterfly on inside-left ankle, dragon on shoulder blade; scar on left forearm from kitchen knife, scars on both knees from falling out of a swing" You can also explain why they got the tattoo or any special meaning it has.

Other Physical Attributes – This is where you can explain anything that wasn't covered by the points above. You can add details about wings or face shape or hands, etc. You can also mention posture here if you like or save that for another section we'll be talking about tomorrow.

Come back tomorrow where I talk about "Personality Traits". This section is more detailed and extensive, so it might flow into Friday's post as well.

1 Response to "Character Sketch Breakdown - Physical Appearance"

Jeanianne Says :
December 15, 2012 at 12:00 AM

This really helps i didn't realize how long it takes to write a story n get everything together but i'm praying i can i just wish i could have more motivation. Thank you.

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