Characters that live and breathe.

Characters that live and breathe.
by Draginbeard 19th Aug 2012, 11:25 PM

Howdy folks.

I wanted to touch on breathing life into my characters, and some of the story points I am going to throw at them. I get ideas all the time, but getting them drafted up into something usable is sort of the tricky part.

I'm wordy, I know when I sit down and do the first draft, this isn't going to be the final dialog, and at best I might use one or two lines I thought were keepers per page. For a comic, the golden rule is 'show over tell'. If you can make the art talk, then go with it. But I'm not as skilled as some, so I rely on having my characters interact with dialog.

The one thing that I'm finding is really helpful is that I do all my lettering by hand. This really does help me catch myself when I'm about to get too long winded, as well as seeing typos and bad grammar. This is not to say that my process is flawless. I have caught things way past when I should have and had to go back to correct them.

Where do I get ideas from? Most of what I'm writing about it fantasy, so basically I can make up any old thing I want and draw it out as best as I can. The only two key things I need to do is to keep asking 'What If', and 'Why?"

 But for dialog, I tend to go with conversations that I've had in real life, and try to bring out the personalities of the characters involved as much as possible. It gets easier with time, but it's a little touch and go the first time you start writing in a new characters voice.

Trying to keep things down to earth in a fantasy setting is a lot less complicated than you would think. Characters still have feelings, dreams, and goals of their own. Some have guilt and passions that curb their thinking, and knowing these little details helps me give them the best voice I can.

In the second chapter, I introduce a new character who has a past with Jolly. It's one story where I get to draw upon some of my most personal, painful moments, and use them to flesh out Jolly as a character you can sympathize with. Sure right now he seems like a focused, grumpy kind of guy, but I want to show him in different light.

The story will have him catching up with an old love, and facing a new enemy. The things he is about to do in this encounter will be felt through to the end of the story. I briefly debated drawing so deeply from my personal life, but if I want this to be a real moment, I need to lend my characters the emotions I felt during this time.

And while I'm doing all that, I still have to tell a story that will entertain and carry the characters to the next point of the tale. Jollys' story is going to have love, loss, pain, joy, power, and responsibility. All of these are essential if I want to bring him to life and watch him grow.  


Those are my random thoughts of the evening.

I hope everyone had a great weekend, and I will see you next update!

Gavin - 08/19/2012