“Why have a brand?” you ask. “I’m only an illustrator/writer.”
Good question! Personal brands are great for establishing a professional image. They help you to stand out from the crowd.
But where to start? Design is an evolutionary process. It starts with a whisper. Ideas emerge from that single thought and we let them roll around in our minds, where a small number start to take shape. We mold them. Then, when we have the idea in just the right atmosphere, we move it to pen and paper.
Half of the time we shred that paper into tiny bits and throw it into the wastebasket.
No? Just me? Okay, okay, maybe not quite so dramatic. But, I have never taken an idea from thought to reality without multiple revisions. It starts as one thing until I change this or switch that.
Branding has no magic pill. And, what works for one person may not work for another. But I can give you a few tips that I think will help – at the very least, it might give you some food for thought!
Check out the infographic below for more information:
As you can see, I have tried to keep my look consistent across my blog posts and various social media sites. I have:
a designated color scheme,
a basic look and feel to my graphics so that someone looking at them can easily distinguish this is something that I created,
When reading a story, I easily slip into the main character’s shoes. Every emotion, every experience, I feel as if my own. When they cry, I cry. When they feel love or joy, my heart nearly bursts (okay, not really, but I swear it feels like it sometimes!). I enjoy a well-written plot as much as the next book lover, but well-written characters… they are the substance and life of any piece of literature.
(Yes, I am one of those readers that have book crushes. C’mon. Darcy from Pride and Prejudice? Are you kidding me? *swoon*)
Writing a story is really no different. The art of creating a character, of fleshing out every tiny detail that makes a well-rounded, three-dimensional protagonist or antagonist — that’s what I love best. And, it’s one of THE most important steps! (And you should listen to me, because I am smart, and I know all.)
The best characters, to me, are multi-faceted and compelling. They have depth. They act unpredictably and keep us guessing at each page turn. Take a moment and think about a character, your favorite character in all of characterdom (is that a word? No? Well, it is now!). Now think about all the things you love above that character.
Done? Okay. So, if you took a moment to think about it, I bet you’ll have noticed just how complex that character is. When you flesh out a character, they become more real. Otherwise, they turn into an archetype, or a cartoon version of themselves. They don’t seem real. And if they don’t seem real, readers probably won’t relate to them.
The thing is, writing a multi-dimensional character isn’t as hard as it sounds. Many times a character comes to me before I have even an inkling of a story. They speak to me and all I have to do is put pen to paper – they do all the work. Other times require a bit more… diligence on my part, but as long as I’m not staring at a blank page, the pieces start to come together without too much thought.
So, to avoid the dreaded blank-page fear that many of us creative types harbor, I like to write up a character profile (I’m a geek like that. I like lists and things.) At the very MINIMUM I will jot down the following:
Brief history / back story
To help my fellow writers (or artists, because a character profile can be a just as great a tool for drawing a series or illustrating a story!), I am offering a character profile sheet for download.
Also, I would love to hear your thoughts. What do YOU do to flesh out a character for a story or art series? Let me know in the comments!
I am a professional artist who specializes in pop art, illustration, and graphic design. Much of my time is spent creating whimsical portraits and fantasy art. My work includes both digital and a mix of traditional wet media. (Check out my art gallery to view my work!) I find inspiration from animation (e.g. Disney and Japanese anime), fantasy, fairy tales, and especially those magical little moments in everyday life.