Creating Characters
Creating Characters
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Creating Characters

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Create Memorable Characters!

ABOUT THIS MINI-CLASS

Consider Characters We Care About
At the core of every great story are its protagonists. The best books have characters that readers care about. But creating characters that feel real and remarkable can be challenging. How do you make a character that feels new and noteworthy? How do you create someone that will be special to you and your readers?

We’ll first consider characters we care about and the importance of those characters to their stories and us. Taking a closer look at the characteristics of our favorite protagonists can give us insights into how we might start to construct our own.

Explore Creating Characters Visually
Next, we’ll begin to explore creating a character visually. This is a good exercise for not only illustrators but authors too! We’ll start by playing with character design, then reflect on our initial doodles and sketches, and finally revise and refine.

Really Get to Know Your Character
Finally, we’ll take a look at how questions and observations can lead us to a better understanding of our characters.

Ben will share examples of how his own characters have evolved from beginning sketches to fully realized book characters. He'll also give you a worksheet to help you figure out your own character's profile. His playful approach makes it easier to draw and discover your character.

When you've finished this mini-class, you should have sketches of at least one character from multiple viewpoints and a written profile to reference.

WHAT YOU'LL LEARN

Lesson 1: Characters: The Core of the Story

  • Identify your favorite characters, past and present. Take a look at how their characteristics can give us insights into constructing our own memorable character.

Lesson 2: Drawn to Design Characters​

  • Using warm-up exercises to get started, you'll explore creating your character visually.

Lesson 3: Questions: Quality Time with Characters

  • You'll learn how questions and observations can lead to a better understanding of your character.

MEET YOUR INSTRUCTOR

BEN CLANTON

Ben Clanton is the bestselling author/illustrator (or “authorstrator” as he says) of the Narwhal and Jelly series. He's also written and illustrated many picture books, some of which are pictured to the right. He wrote Curious Encounters, illustrated by Jessixa Bagley. And he has also illustrated several picture books with different authors. Ben and his characters are represented by Marietta Zacker of the Gallt & Zacker Literary Agency.