How to Make Your Own Character

By Flora Richards-Gustafson
Give your character a background story.

Artists create characters to help them tell a story in a comic, for TV or movie storyboards, or for a series of drawings. Others make characters as their own personal avatars for online profile pictures. Writers also make characters for novels, short stories and poems. Instead of using drawings or pictures, writers describe their characters with words and let the reader see the character with their imagination. Whether you make a character with words or with a picture, the same basic process is used.

Choose the type of character you want to make. Characters can be anything you want, such as superheroes, animals, fantasy creatures, figures from historic times, children or adults.

Develop a short background story for the character. This will help you explain why a character has certain accessories or companions, their goals and any challenges the character faces. The character’s back story should include a description of where they are from, their personality traits and what the character thinks and feels. Explain the character’s strengths and weaknesses in the background story along with the relationship he or she has with any other characters you have made. Background stories make characters unique, allowing the writer or artist to use them to devise new stories and scenarios.

Name your character. If the character is a personal avatar, you can name it after yourself. Consider creating a name that matches the character's traits or abilities–such as Magneto from “X-Men"–especially if the character you make is a hero or a fantasy creature. However, author Holly Lisle suggests giving your character a name after you develop the background story so the name does not influence the character’s personality and history.

Give your character a look. After you have created a character’s background story and have given it a name, describe your character with words or art. When developing the character’s appearance, consider the body type, height, type of hair, eye color, clothing and accessories. Lisle also suggests thinking about a character’s appearances later in the character-making process so it does not affect the background story. Fiction Factor suggests giving your main characters more details than minor characters in terms of how they look so they stand out better.

Tip

The website FictionFactor.com says macho names have only one syllable. Names that are more feminine have two or more syllables. The site also says there are seven types of characters. The confidante is a figure the main character trusts. The dynamic/developing character changes during a story, like Ebenezer Scrooge. The flat character never changes. The foil is a figure that acts the opposite of the main character. The round character is one that seems to contradict themselves. The static character has a personality that never changes. The stock character is based on common stereotypes, such as the “dumb jock."