I personally love making these. It’s not exactly procrastination because you are finding things for your character or world and giving yourself a visual….but it kind of is procrastination too.
Why?: Good question as I just said that this is a procrastination sort of thing. But its also great to inspire yourself and give yourself a visual. When I feel like I’m losing control or track of a characters roots these are what I go back to. It calms me down and prevents burn out and writer’s block. So much of what we do as writers is independent and cerebral that it can sometimes be a challenge to get out and give ourselves a visual representation of something that might be in our head but are so close to our hearts.
So what is a character aesthetics board? It sounds a lot more complex then it is. Basically its a collection of images, texts, or visuals that relate to your character or world in a way that showcases their personality.
Tools and Sites: I started off with Pixlr but I am really loving Canva these days just because there is such a wider variety of texts and colors that can be used. This is of course if you don’t have or don’t want to use photoshop which personally I find a bit over the top for something I use to inspire myself or calm down.
Finding photos and what not can feel like a crazy task with far too many options but there are go to’s that I love. Pinterest, of course, is always a big one. I love having a board for each of my characters or a set within a board. Now that there are subcategories that you can put into each board it makes things a million times easier, creating a place for the character, fashion, setting, quotes, family members, reference articles and random aesthetic ideas. Finding things on Pinterest is great but I also pin things from Tumblr frequently.
Photo Ideas: There are so many things that you can use for your character in their aesthetic board that me telling you what is going to be more limiting than helpful. Feel free to use anything that you want in an aesthetics board. These are just some jumping off points.
Color Palette: I tend to pick a color palette that relates to my character when I create them and stick with it. Look up the psychology of color or color palettes. Even stop by home depot and pick up some paint strips to get ideas.
Face/ Visual: Tricky. In Roleplay we have a face claim and that is fine but when it comes to a character I am writing as an original I often don’t like to use an actor because it can be limiting and make people think of different roles that might not relate to my character. Instead, I use hair color, eyes, body type, tattoos or scars, faceless photos, ect.
Fashion: Hair, nails, clothes, shoes, ripped jeans, slips, boots, jewelry, sundresses, button ups…you get the idea.
Setting: Environment, ocean, desert, forest, lake, season, rain, snow, sunshine, fire, industrial, rustic, modern, city.
Virtues and Vices: 7 deadly sins (Lust, greed, gluttony, sloth, envy, pride, wrath) 7 virtues (Temperance, chastity, charity, kindness, diligence, patience, humility). drinking, smoking, fighting, loving.
Personal: Vehicle (car, motorcycle, bike, horse), talents, food, drinks, job and pets.
Words: Quote, song lyrics, things you character says alot, things people say about your character.
Again the sky is the limit here and you can use anything that you would like or that you find relevant to your character. Here is an example of one of my character aesthetic board that I have made. The theme is clear and as you can say it says more about the character then showing their actual face.