Character
Hat
A guide by Sunny

Introduction

Welcome my dear guests, to The Character Hat, a brilliantly written character guidebook by Sunny. This page is here to help you on every step of your magical journey through character creation. Maybe you're a veteran looking for some tips and advice. Or perhaps you've never created a character in your life before. Well, you my friend are in the right place. I'll be your guide as...

Ahem! Ahem! Sunny, dearest, Why are you forgetting about me? I mean, please. I'm Character. You simply cannot have a guide to characters without me here! I'm the whole reason our site was named!


Okay, okay, Character and I will be your guides as you navigate this guide. Hopefully we'll keep you on the right path, but when characters are involved, you never really know what's gonna happen! Buckle up! It's gonna be a wild ride!

How to Read This Guide

This guide is meant to be read in order, technically speaking...mainly if you're going from start to finish when creating a character. However, if you're just looking for tips, you can jump around using the Navigation on your left there. Each section has important components of creating characters, so I suggest you read them all if you have time.

Sometimes you'll see boxes like this when I or any of Sunny's *other* characters want to interject. These boxes can also hold important messages, such as quotes and advice from other character creators, tips from Sunny herself, and other things. Pay attention when you see these boxes, because they're here for a very good reason!

Also, before I begin, I would like to make a few notes in order to help you (the reader) understand a few important details about the guide.

First, I am currently working on this guide. It's still a major work in progress. As such, you will see parts missing, or new sections crop up from time to time.

Second, I am writing this guide for everyone. So there will be sections where I go over what my art teacher calls "the bare bone basics". If you wish to skim those sections because you know it already, that's perfectly allowed. I want this guide to be for everyone, veterans and newbies alike. So please don't feel as if I'm trying to talk down to you if you're experienced.

And last, I'm writing this guide when I have time...which is often late at night. While it's not the time I'd prefer to be writing, it's the time I have. Because of that there will be spelling errors, and possible errors of tone on occasion. I am constantly reading over this guide in order to make sure that you guys don't see those mistakes, but sometimes it does slip through. I am constantly editing, I assure you. :)

Why Create Characters?

There's a myriad of reasons why you should create characters in the real world, but when it comes to Neopets, why are characters important? I'm going to make a list of common reasons that people create characters here on neopets...


Writing for the Neopian Times
Writing for The Neopian Times not only can bring you fame, fortune and a small fanbase, but also awards you with avatars, and NP prizes for special issues, usually in the form of rare items. Unless you're writing an article, you're going to be dealing with a character in some form, regardless of if you're writing/drawing a comic, or entering a story.


Entering the Storytelling Competition
The storytelling competition offers prizes to anyone who submits the next part of the ongoing story, the item prizes can be pretty rare items that go for a bit of NP, and being able to create and build upon existing characters is a pretty important part of that.


For Art Practice/Fun
Being able to visually draw a character and then put that character into different situations/poses and keep drawing them for practice is a great way for artists to improve. It also helps to challenge artists to try new methods. But don't take my word alone for it.

CHARACTER CREATION IS FUN!!!!!
-Ani (antonia22301)


Because It's Expected if You Want to Adopt a Neopet
I may be a regular on the Pound Chat, but that doesn't mean I 100% agree with their views on things. It's silly sometimes how most applications on petpages seem to need a character section, and how those who don't create characters seem to have a harder time adopting neopets than those that don't, but it's a fact of life on the Pound Boards. This is a silly reason to have to create a character but is IS a reason.

If creating characters isn't fun to you, there's no reason for you to force yourself to create one for an application. It's better, to be honest with yourself and the owner of the pet than to make yourself work on something you don't enjoy and wouldn't really put effort into anyway.

Remember that creating characters is supposed to be fun! If you don't enjoy it, then why don't you have fun some other way, like collecting teacups in a gallery, or maybe making hats? Hatmaking is a very fine hobby!

Finding Inspiration

The key to beginning your journey really starts with inspiration. One of my teachers once said it was a tiny seed that grew into a beautiful story, and all you had to do was find it. Inspiration can come from anywhere, really, but here are a few places to look if you're stuck.


Books/Magazines
You'd be surprised what information books can have that can provide you with inspiration, both fiction and non-fiction alike. Writer's character was partly inspired by a children's book about an old Chinese folktale. In this story, a young boy used a magic paintbrush to bring his paintings to life. I simply asked the question "what if it were a pencil" and the story evolved from there!


Music
Music moves us, and can often inspire us in ways we never imagine. Maybe the lyrics of a song just fill you with ideas about one of your characters, or perhaps an instrumental piece really brings out the setting of the story you're working on.

Hey all Sunny here. Didja know that art and music are actually pretty deeply connected? You see, we have a visible spectrum of light, also known as the rainbow. Each color has a unique wavelength. Sound also has a unique wavelength. Each wavelength of light can correspond to a wavelength of a sound on the musical scale. So basically, each note has its own corresponding color! There are not only technologies out there in the human world to help the colorblind that use sound, but there are people who actually "see" color when they hear different sounds because they have a condition called "Chromesthesia". Cool huh?


Movies/TV
Sometimes we can't help but get ideas from the fantastic universes we see on television, it could be a fan character or perhaps a unique twist on something we've seen before, but these fantastic places we visit when we turn the channel do inspire us often.


Nature
Take a walk on the wild side and get outdoors. Quite a few characters have been inspired by mother nature. Maybe you have a character that's a wild animal such as a deer or a whale, or perhaps your character just really likes being outdoors in the sunshine. But take a look at the wonderful beauty around you for ideas!


Other People
Sometimes we have people in our lives that just inspire us. Maybe it's the way a friend of ours nurses baby birds back to health, or perhaps that shy kid in the back of your classroom who always seems to know the answers. Sometimes people can inspire stories. It could be people in our own lives, or perhaps celebrities/musicians we admire. There's a reason that fanfiction is so popular, and sometimes famous faces show up in it.

At the conclusion of this lesson the students will be able to---Oh! Sorry. You caught me in the middle of lesson planning. Sunny here. Remember to be careful if you're going to base a character off of someone you know. Normally if you grab a couple qualities of that person to use as part of your character, that's generally acceptable. However, copying every bit of that person to use as a character and only changing a few details can end up causing a bit of trouble. I try to draw more from little quirks of character traits that I find admirable in those I know over specific details about them such as height, hair color, etc.




Your Own Experiences
I've had the fun of getting to experience a lot of cool things in my short life. And some of my experiences have wormed their way into my stories and characters. For example, Londn's character became a whole lot richer after I got the chance to visit London for myself.

Customization
Now, I personally use this method a lot, usually mixed with other methods, but I tend to open up Dress to Impress when I want to start working on a character. Customization really helps me explore ideas, not only about potential colors for that pet or customizations but also about setting, physical attributes, etc. Now, if you need some help understanding customization, might I suggest this guide?



Although this guide is not only a work in progress, but a horrible travesty of writing written by a crazy half-ixi person with no talent (hint: it's me), I hope that among the horrid examples and badly created customizations, you may find a spark of inspiration or a method that helps you.

Basic Types of Characters

There are three basic categories that we tend to put characters into when designing them, and these categories actually fit inside the world of roleplay and art as well. Now, don't think that we're gonna attempt to put your characters into certain groups or boxes, these are large general categories regarding the basic physical design of your pet.


Quad
Quad stands for "Quadruped", which basically means that the character is an animal or an animal like being that (typically) is on four feet/hooves/paws. Sometimes quads can talk to humans, sometimes not. It really depends on the designer. Some users make quad characters more natural (ex: making an ixi act/behave like a goat or deer), while some prefer to make them more fantasy like and unrealistic. It really depends on the person.

Examples of Quads:
Stroke of Midnight. . . Isdari. . . . . .


Human
Human characters look like humans, although they can be robots and cyborgs, pixies and witches, aliens etc. They typically do not have any animal characteristics. They do pop up from time to time, although it should be noted that you cannot center the Beauty Contest with a human design.

Examples of Humans


Anthro


Furry Anthro
Furry anthro designs are neopets with human characteristics, they often have arms, legs and hands, and stand on two legs instead of four. They typically wear clothing, have hair, and can talk like we do. Most of the characters in neopia's many plots are furry anthro. They're often seen as a middle of the road option for those who want a mix of anthro and quad qualities.

Examples of Furry Anthros:
Rita Wood..

Now that you know the three general types of characters, choose one (or more) to start with and let's get started with the design process!

The Rough Beginning

I'm an artist myself and I've taken painting classes before. There's always a stage where everything on your canvas just looks utterly messy and 2-D. It looks worse than a coloring book page, to be honest. This is that stage. These are the rough beginnings of your character. Half-formed ideas, dirty looking sketches that need to be cleaned up, unfinished customizations, you name it. It's here.


Let's get our hands dirty!

Right now you have a little nugget of an idea, nothing much, just a little bit of inspiration. A spark, a seed, if you will. Now it's time to plant that seed and nurture it so it grows into a beautiful character. Now, how you approach this rough stage will largely depend on what type of person you are, so instead of giving you one exact way to go about things, we're gonna begin with a few different methods....


Rough Sketches
For the artists out there, start with a rough sketch of your character. What do they look like? What are they doing for a living? What sort of clothing do they wear? Experiment with facial features, clothing options, different hairstyles/markings, play around and don't worry about it being perfect. It's supposed to be rough. Here's an example of a bit of an exchange between Character and Rita....

Remember, these are just rough sketches and ideas that can be changed easily. Sometimes you'll go through quite a few visual changes before you're 100% happy with the character you've created.

What some don't realize is that characters can visually evolve over time. Tastes change, new items come out that influence the development of that character's story, art styles change/improve. If you visit the page of a pet that has been around for a while, you should take a look at the pet's fan art to see how it's changed. Here's an example...

The first two designs were visual descriptions of Rita, who's design is now the final picture. This change took place over a good number of years (she's been with me for over 3,000+ days).


Rough Summary
This is pretty much the writer's equivalent of a rough sketch. It's a really rough summary/overview of the character, containing the main facts about his/her/it's life. It can be as short as a couple of sentances, or as long as an average short story. The goal is not for it to be perfect, as it's just supposed to be the start of an idea that can be edited later.

Greetings! Writer here. Are you having a bit of trouble writing a summary? Start simple. Most stories are actually about what a character desires. What does YOUR character desire? Maybe they want to find their identity, avenge the death of a friend, get a certain job, reach a certain accomplishment, etc. Write your summary thinking about what your character wants, and the journey they may end up going on in order to finally achieve it.

So what bits of information should you generally have with a rough character? There's not too long of a list...

Name:
Age:
Birthday:
Gender:
Species:
Hair/Fur Color:
Eye Color:
Occupation:
Home:

I typically start with that, although there are some people that would insist on more details to start. But if you're just looking for a jump-off point, that should get your brain in gear.

Adding Details

After you've got the initial rough ideas hammered out, it's time to try to add some details to your character. Think of this as the focusing point, where the blurry and fuzzy details of your character finally come to light. Now, there's always been a bit of debate about how detailed a character really needs to be, and I'm gonna start off by addressing that concern.

There are different types of character creators. Some are more "big picture" and prefer to focus more on the plot/action with minimal details. Others are very "detail specific" and add lots of tiny details you may not think about normally. Some are more in the middle. I'd say add as many details as you think are needed to help your readers understand the character better.

In the end, it's up to you to decide. But you may be wracking your brain trying to figure out what details are considered "important" by most character creators. And that's okay. That's what this guide's here for. :)

Customization Chatter: Representing Aging Characters

Ooh lah lah! It's me! The ever-fashionable Neocash. I know, I know, you're a fan. But I don't have time for autographs! We've got to talk about customization and characters. In particular, portraying your characters as they age. One of the most important aspects of that is making sure that the character can still be recognized, even though they're older. I'm going to provide you with a couple of examples to show you what I mean.

Here's my dear friend Rita. She allowed me to show you some of her old pictures. The first is when she was in elementary school. The second is her as an adult, and the third is her in her ripe old age. Notice how you can still tell that it's her, but there are some noticable differences. Even with all the differences, there's still one or two things that stay the same (in this example, her green eyes, and the plants/trees around her).

And here we have another example of a young fisherman who has aged a bit....ungracefully. You can still see that it's the same character. There's still important elements in both customizations that tell the same story. I hope this makes some sense. Best of luck!

Plot/Setting

Plot and setting are both very important to a character's life, so we're gonna go in depth and start with plot before we dive into setting, how's that sound? Ready? Let's begin with a definition of plot:

Plot - The overarching events that make up a story or the life of a character. Often contains an exposition, rising action, a climax, falling action, and resolution.

Sorry, a future teacher here. I love definitions. Note that the plot is broad. All of the little details and twists in the plot come later. When you're plotting out the main details of your character you start with a broad overview and then fill in the details later. In fact, many authors just have a beginning and rough idea of what might happen in the middle, and maybe an idea about how the story is resolved. They don't have every little detail planned out most of the time.

The exposition is simple, it's the part of the plot that really gets you hooked into the story and connects you with the character. Here the main character is often introduced, and we (the readers) often get a few hints about what they desire most. This is one of the most important parts of your plot, because if you do not structure this well, your readers will fail to connect to your characters.

Look, I may be a guy. But since I'm a Reader, I want to get connected to the characters I read about. While you females may knock us guys for not understanding emotions on occasion, we need to feel connected when we read just like you do. Remember that ALL readers need this connection. It's why we enjoy fiction so much. These characters can almost seem as real as our own friends if we connect enough to them. By the way, I'm still waiting for my letter from Moehogwarts.

The rising action is where the pace starts to pick up. The character begins his or her journey, and over the course of time things start to ramp up and the stakes increase. In this portion and the exposition you can introduce new main characters, although you'll want to stop shortly before your climax in order to make sure that your readers aren't dealing with too many characters at once.

I had a field experience where the teacher told the students that most stories had a main "problem" and a "solution". While that's the case for many stories there are some stories that don't exactly have a problem that's easy to define. The 3rd graders were telling me that they didn't have a "problem" for their stories, and I explained to them that a full blown problem didn't have to exist.

I explained to them that this part of the plot was where the tension was built up, and it was almost like the ride up the hill of a roller coaster. You know the peak or the climax of the story is coming, and you're building up to it and getting your readers excited for the next part of the story.

The climax is the breaking point where the scales can tip one way or the other. Will Lavender get the job she interviewed and prepared for? Will Nigel finally be able to convince Kathleen to run away with him? In this portion, things can go either way, however right when all hope seems lost....

WHEW! The main hurdle's been passed. Now the falling action can occur now that the main problem has been taken care of. There may be a few events after that will need resolution, but mostly the plot is heading towards the final resolution where the characters resume life as usual.

Oh no! They're about to fall off of a moon-rock cliff! What's gonna---Oh! Sorry. I'm Cliffhanger. I guess I'll put my sci-fi book down for a second. Sometimes you don't have a neat and tidy resolution to your story. Sometimes you're just not sure how it's gonna end, and that's okay. A lot of characters on here actually have more than one event or story that happens to them, so it's okay if it doesn't have a resolution yet. Just be prepared for your readers to complain about being left on a---

The resolution is the ending to your plot, or at least...the ending that you have so far. It's the final curtain, that last bit of information before you say "goodbye for now" to those characters. This is where any real big loose ends are tied up, and the the fates of the main and any important side characters are normally determined. Now, although most people prefer happy endings, remember that not all endings have to be happy. Some endings can end differently, here's a few genaric examples:

Questioning the Future: These endings can ether be happy or sad depending on how you word them. Normally these endings involve one or more characters reflecting or talking about what lies ahead.

Maybe it's a character who lost someone and is contemplating how life will go on without them. Maybe it's a leader in a new society who's wondering how the new world order will affect everyone. Or it could be something as simple as a high school student thinking about what to pack for their first semester at college. These can be used to hint at future stories or plots, or it could just be a way to let out the character's inner philosopher. Some details or questions are often left unanswered with this ending. Two examples of this in our human literature are Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins, and Faerenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury.

Hope in Pain: I don't know about you, but if you've read Romeo and Juliet, you'll know about this ending. Normally what happens is some sort of major tragedy happens (normally the main character or many main characters end up meeting a bad end) but there is still some glimmer of hope. Normally most loose ends are tied up, however, those readers who enjoy happy endings may leave your plot feeling a bit unsatisfied.

Cliffhanger/More Questions than Answers: This is primarily done when you know there's going to be a sequel or another part to the story. This is often the most annoying ending for readers like myself who like to hear the whole story and don't like suspense. Usually, the main problem is resolved, however, a lot of questions remain and often left unanswered. Sometimes there's even a spike in action right before the end of the story in order to tease the events of the next part of the plot. Examples? Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Back to the Future 1 and 2...etc.

Again? /sighs/ Okay. You really must not want me to finish this novel. Writing a cliffhanger involves a bit more planning than a normal ending. Normally you have to have at least a rough idea of what you want to have happen in the next plot in order to make the two plots connect coherently. You also need to make sure that you leave some questions unanswered, and that you draw the reader once again into the action of the story before you end the book. The reader may want to throttle you for leaving them in suspense, but it's good for them to learn patience.

Uhm, maybe you should mention the fact that SOME readers are very very impatient ix-*cough* I mean people and don't really like it too much if you never finish a story. Because then there's no resolution, and we like having everything wrapped up and finished. It gives m-*cough* I mean us a good sense of accomplishment.

These are just a few examples of alternate endings that could be used. There's quite a few more, I'm sure there are some great resources available to help you in books, around the web, or other places.

Now we're gonna switch gears and talk for a second about setting. The setting is simple. It's where your character lives, works, explores, visits, etc. during their adventure. Depending on how complex the plot is, you can have a lot of different settings in one character's story. The setting is important because if the setting isn't clearly defined, the readers will not understand what is going on.

When creating a character for Neopets, your setting often depends on what type of character you are dealing with. Normally if you're dealing with a quad or furry anthro, settings in Neopia can be quite appropriate. Although other made up or "fictional" worlds can be used. Human characters tend to be set elsewhere, normally worlds created by those who created them.

For the purposes of this guide, I'm going to separate setting into two categories, one being settings here in Neopia, and another being settings elsewhere. I'm going to try to deal with both of them as best as possible. Let's start with Neopia.


Neopia
The fun part about designing characters here in Neopia is literally the fact that there's a lot of lands to choose from, and lots of purposeful holes in Neopian canon where users can insert their own take on the lore of their favorite lands...or even make a few new neopian lands of their own.

So, how do you work with neopian setting? First of all, I tend to start by thinking of the rough personality I have for my character. What land in neopia could possibly fit that character best? Perhaps they're a reporter, so maybe neopia central might work? Or maybe they work for a publication in the haunted woods, and they often get the bejeebers scared out of them when they visit some of the residents of that land?

See how the right setting can actually help to bring out some aspects of your character? That's why it's so important. Here are some questions you may want to ask about settings here in neopia:

* Would a current neopian land work for my character's story?
* Would a sub-section of a current neopian land be better? (Ex: Bogshot in Brightvale, Geraptiku on Mystery Island)
* What lore is already known about the current neopian lands that could work for my character's story?
(Jellyneo's Book of Ages can really help with that.)
* Do I need to possibly create a "new" neopian land for my character's story that has elements not found in any other land?
* Does my character stay in one land, or travel from place to place?

Now the questions above are general broad view questions of the overall setting. Once you've answered the main question of WHERE the setting is located, it's time to figure out how it affects your character. Here are some questions to help with that.

* How does the geography or topography of this place affect my character?
* How does the culture of this land affect my character?
* What sort of evil creatures or forces exist in this land? What good forces counteract them?
* How is law and order maintained?
* Who rules the land? Who's set to take his/her place should they pass?
* Are there classes of people, or no classes at all?
* How is the economy of this country? What imports/exports come in and out?

Normally when you talk about working on the setting of your character's story, most character creators tend to call that World Building. Neopia is a pretty cool place to set a story because although TNT has written some canon, there's still a lot of holes for us users to be able to insert our own spin and views on each respective land. Not to mention there's sure to be other neopian lands that have yet to be discovered. I'm going to take a few moments in the next section to talk about something dear to my heart...Creating your own neopian lands and sub-lands.

Now, you may wonder why someone may want to create an entirely new neopian land at all. To be honest, the reasoning is simple. It's because although there are lots of neopian lands that have many beautiful cultural representations, some are sadly...lacking. And although TNT tries to make up for it with nice customization items, food items, and other such things, it's hard when our characters fit best into a certain culture.

Now, I'm going to give you my methods and terms for this unique process, although I cannot speak for other character creators, as they may use different terms or methods for dealing with this problem. First of all, I'm going to make a distinction. I consider there to be two categories of created lands. Stand Alone Lands and Sub-Lands.

Stand Alone Lands are new lands entirely that have no official affiliation with any other neopian lands. Typically when I'm trying to make a new land, I think of a culture or country I want to draw inspiration from. In one case I wanted to have a land with a distinctly russian flair. I looked on the neopian map and found an area of rough mountains near Shenkuu, and decided to place my new land there. As for the name, I came up with the name Ursus, which means Bear in Latin. Below you can see a map of where Ursus is located, along with another stand alone land I created called Vitis.

After that, all that was required was filling in the blanks with customs and ideas from my own imagination or pulled from what books or resources I could find on Russian history. I don't hesitate to sprinkle in words from the languages of the cultures I draw from in order to make these lands seem more realistic and natural. Sometimes I even pull up Dress to Impress and create example customizations in order to figure out how people from that neopian culture could dress.

Yep, these are examples of what the people of Ursus could be wearing, perhaps. But who knows, you could come up with some better ideas than even I did! Never discount the possibility of creating your own neopian land.

Ciao a tutti! I am Everila, and I am a resident of Vitis. Did Sunny forget to mention that she has a place where you can read up on the cultures of the lands she's created? Yes, yes. She's so forgetful. Well, allow me to direct you there. You can use it to gather some inspiration, or perhaps get some ideas for your own stories. Although (and don't tell her I said this) I've heard she often will allow writers to use her settings if they desire. Anyway, enjoy and arrivederci!

Sub-Lands are areas within an already established neopian country that have their own unique set of cultural norms and values. TNT has quite a few sub-lands of their own, such as Bogshot, Geraptiku, Quasala, and Neovia. One sub-land I created for myself was the area of West Brightvale, which I created to be patterned off of the American West and the culture of my home state of Texas. Since the western portion of Brightvale is close to a large stretch of plains that leads from Faerieland's crash site all the way up to Neopia Central, I decided to call that area The Neopian Plains, theorizing that West Brightvale connects to it. As such, there would be lots of grass perfect for raising cattle. (Neopia has to get it's beef from SOMEWHERE, right?)

Technically, West Brightvale is still part of Brightvale, ruled by Hagan just as any other part of the land. This is what classifies it as a sub-land. It's language is generally the same, save for perhaps a slight difference in vocabulary and accent. I will admit it's often easier for some to create sub-lands over a new land entirely, as the cultural differences are only slightly different, and there's less work involved. I suggest that if you're really wanting to create a new area for your stories, and you're just starting out, you start with a sub-land or two first, just to get your feet wet.

Elsewhere:

I've met a few neopians who have created worlds elsewhere to put their characters into, and I admire them. There's a few pros and cons to this choice, as I'll outline below:

Pros:
* An entirely blank slate to start from if desired, all details of this new world are up to you.
* You do not have to fit your characters into Neopian canon.
* You can make this world as big or as small as you desire.
* You can eventually move your new world and characters outside of Neopets if the need arises.

Cons:
* You know those cool spotlights and the Neopian Times? Other worlds typically aren't welcomed, unless they're specifically tied somehow TO Neopia and it's heavily implied.
* Roleplay with other players who have neopian settings/characters can be a pain.
* Characters from these worlds typically aren't neopets, so beauty contest entries aren't going to be accepted if that's the case.
* It's a lot more work, as there are more details for you to focus on.

When creating worlds outside Neopia, it will be different and somewhat difficult.

Making them Real

Now we get into the fun section where you ask me "Sunny, how do I make my characters real and relatable to my readers?" Well, I can give you my best advice on how to do that.

Every character needs something or someone to motivate them, even villians.

One of the best TV series I've ever watched was Daredevil. The reason is because unlike the flop of a movie that came out before the TV series, the motivations of the characters were explored. I really liked how each of the "villains" from the Russian brothers who moved products for the other villains, to "Kingpin" who was the man at the top of the entire organization had motivations and goals.

This exploration of their motivations not only helped me to connect with the characters (I hated to admit that I was half-rooting for some of the villains), but also helped to move the story forward and give them a reason for their behavior besides "just being evil". (I just realized, this is the second time I've mentioned how much I love this show. But it's true. I do! The writing is on point!)

There's lots of different personality types that can be represented in your story. Having variety can help readers connect with your story better.
One of the reasons Harry Potter was such a hit as a book series and a movie series was that there was a really broad range of characters, not just in gender, age, job, and where they stood (either with Voldemort or against him), but they also ranged in personality.

Now I'm not a psychology expert, and from the "limited" exposure I've had to it, there's a lot of theories about personality types, how memory and talents develop, along with a bunch of other theories that become popular, then fade as other theories become "hip". Currently, the trend when talking about personality types is the Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MTBI).

The rough theory goes that there's sixteen broad personality types, each having varying levels on different spectrums that allow us to have unique personalities. These sixteen personalities are given combinations of four letters to indicate what sort of personality you are. For example, I am an ENFP, which stands for Extroverted Intuitive Feeling Perceving, all aspects of my personality type. There are lots of places on the web where you can take MTBI tests for free, which can help you not only figure out your personality but the personalities of your characters.

You'll find that many character developers will list a character's MTBI on their petpage as a bit of extra information. Another thing that's interesting is that different personalities mesh better together than others. So maybe if you're looking for a villian or a character to challenge one of your main characters, you should design them around some MTBI traits that your main character doesn't get along with.

It's okay to talk to your characters in your head. In fact, they may answer back!

This may sound like a crazy admission to make, but I have had college classes where I had to refrain from laughing. Not because of anything I said, but rather a reaction in my brain to what a professor said. The reaction, of course, coming from the lips of one of my characters! There's always this point where you know your characters so well that you can pretty much hear their reactions to situations in your head.

Use this to your advantage and start to "interview" your characters. Ask them questions about themselves and see if any answers are forthcoming. If need be, brew a cup of tea and grab a plate of cookies or biscuits and have a "teatime" with them. Whatever it takes to pry the information from your story from them!

The Creation Process

Originally this section was going to be called "Redesigning and Editing", but after much deliberation, I decided instead to cover the topic of the actual creation process, in this case, an overview of the process of writing/illustration and the formal steps related to each. Not only because I will end up having to teach my own students one day about this process, but because there are some people who never use or learn all of the steps. So, let us begin.

I will cover both the writing and the illustration process here. I shall begin with writing first and then go to the illustration process. Note that these steps are not linear. There are often many steps that are repeated or can be moved around. This process is quite....fluid.

The Writing Process

Now, before we begin I'm going to give you a bit of a disclaimer:

These are the formally accepted steps for writing, but you may or may not hold to them. That's okay. Rebels and rule followers are both welcome and important to the literary arts.

Now that the disclaimer is out of the way, let's begin.

Brainstorming/Prewriting

This is prep work before you begin writing. This is where you gather and organize your ideas, and get a sense of what your story will be about. Now there's a lot of differing ideas about what goes on during prewriting. But I'm going to list a few of those processes to see which of them seem to fit your style.

Brainstorming
This is coming up with the main idea for your story and trying to figure out what happens in it. You can use any of the finding inspiration strategies listed above to help you, or come up with your own!

Researching
I honestly use this method throughout my writing, but it's also a good prewriting strategy. If writing about a certain place, time period, topic, or person/people group, it can help you if research is done. There are many methods, such as using the internet, finding books in bookshops or libraries, conducting interviews with experts, etc. I've got a list down at the bottom of the page of books I have personally found helpful for research on certain cultures and countries. Take a gander!

Organizing
Organizing your information is pretty important. It can help you stay focused on the subjects you want to write about, and separate the good ideas from the bad ones. There are lots of ways you can organize your thoughts.

* Story Map
* Story Board
* Character Map
* Fishbone Chart
* Plot Diagram
* Timeline
* Plot Tree
* Venn Diagram
* Wheel and Spoke Diagram
* Sequence of Events Chart
* Concept Map
* Clustering


I've included an example of one of my organizational charts below, regarding the country of Vitis, south of Altador.



Discussion
Tell someone your idea. Maybe a writing buddy, or a close family member or friend. Bounce ideas off of this person, use them as your sounding board so you can get the ideas in your head organized.

Drafting

Drafting is the messy part of writing. It's the part that perfectionists (like me) tend to hate. But that's okay. That's how drafting is supposed to be. It's your sloppy copy, your dirty draft, it's the version of your story that nobody should see. Write like there's no tomorrow, don't stop, and keep going. If you mess something up, circle it quickly and come back to it later. This is the part where you take all of your ideas and put them onto the paper to organize later.



There are lots of different ways to get this done, I've had people tell me that they set aside time to write, such as 30 mins, or just 10 min bursts. I've met some people who just write out stories as they go through their day through classes. I have a very fun habit myself of writing stories 250 words at a time by using my writing as bumps on the Neoboards. However you get your story onto paper, do it! You'll deal with the mess later!

And just in case you feel you need permission to write badly...

I, Sunny the Ixiholic do hereby grant you (insert your name here) the appropriate permission to make as many sloppy drafts as you so desire until the end of the universe.

So what are you waiting for? GO!

Revising

Revising is the part where after you've drafted out your story, you go over it again. You aren't exactly always looking for editing errors, although you can note them. You're mainly looking for problems that have to do with the communication of your story. Are there large plot holes? Do the characters have sensible backgrounds? Are there sections that need to be moved around? Should certain sentences be entirely stricken from your writing? These are the questions you ask.

You go through many sessions of revision normally. Many writers have multiple copies of their unfished stories lying around, often going trough multiple revisions. And that's okay. Each revision helps you get closer to that final product!

Editing

Editing is just cleaning up the loose details. Fixing spelling/syntax/grammar issues, making sure the story flows and preparing it for the publishing process. The editing can be done by you or done by someone else. It's handy to have an outside person to look at your work because they can look at it with fresh eyes and not skip over parts that you feel you've read hundreds of times. It's often tempting to get it confused with Revising, but they both are different.

Publishing

Publishing is sharing your story with the world. Now, as to the question of publishing on Neopets that's pretty simple. You can slap it on a petpage, share your story in the Times, or the Pet Spotlight, throw it on a petlookup, or anywhere else text can be added!

As for actual publishing, I can speak a bit into this. As yes, I am a published author. (I have written and illustrated a children's book.) Now, I self-published through a personal friend, so I had to go through a more complicated process than most authors have to. I had to design the book in Adobe InDesign, create the cover, create the end pages, send in the template, collect orders, design a website for my book, decide a price, figure out taxes, and of course, advertise it.

And for those wondering, as of this writing I'm twenty years old.

But it's worth it. It's worth the ability to tell others that you are an author and to share your work with them. It's a real honor, and I hope it's one that you all enjoy. There are many ways to publish books, from finding a publishing company, to self-publishing, to designing a small personal copy of your book yourself. (There are easy ways to make books using supplies at home.)

But regardless of which route you take, publishing is important. Because it makes all of the hard work and crazy steps worthwhile.

The Illustration Process

Brainstorming/Reference Gathering

Typically you start by brainstorming what you want to draw and then gathering references to help you draw it correctly.
Reference - An image or a real 3D object that you can use as a model to help you draw/paint.
Now, references are important and helpful for many artists, but remember, they can only help you as much as you let them. There are some cases where you just need a reference as a rough guide to check yourself, other times where you'll want to be copying many features exactly.

When doing fine art many artists will set up a "still life", by arranging everyday objects and then using them as a 3D reference when drawing or painting.


Paul Cezanne was well known for his still life paintings.

However, as a character creator and artist, you'll often be using references handed you by others. Usually they'll include a character in their daily wardrobe, and perhaps samples of all of the colors used in that character's portrait.


An example of a reference.

Rough Sketch

This is where you'll outline your work using light marks. If you're using pencil, you'd be sketching in the H family (I love using 6H and above). When I took drawing classes, the rough sketch was called "gesture drawing". You're keeping yourself loose, placing down the basic shapes and making sure everything is easily erasable by keeping it light. You're adding in guidelines as you need them, and allowing yourself to make mistakes.

Pencil Scale
if you've never used a set of drawing pencils before, you may not know that there's a scale for pencil lead. On one end of the spectrum is the hard lead, and on the other side is the black lead. A typical number two pencil falls right in the middle, and is called an HB pencil (HB = hard black).

Pencils in the hard family are more fine, and don't smudge easily. They're lighter, and often very good for sketching. If you're wanting dark lead that's easy to blend and smudge look no further than pencils in the black family. The fine (F) pencil and the HB pencil are both in the middle, and are good for middle of the road sketching.



Artist Tip: There's such a thing as an "eraser pencil". If you don't enjoy the kneaded erasers and hate the rubber erasers too, eraser pencils can be bought on the web, or at craft/art stores. If you live in the US, Hobby Lobby often carries them.

Drawing

Adding Details

Final Product

Common Mistakes

This section is here to help you avoid some of the common pitfalls of creating characters.

* Making your character perfect
A great character is someone that a reader can connect to and empathize with. As flawed and imperfect human beings, we expect our characters to have imperfections as we do. These imperfections can not only bond us to them, but can be the catalyst for plot twists, cliffhangers, or really dramatic sections of the story. Readers tend to not connect with a perfect character, mainly because that character doesn't align with the reality we live with.

You'll often hear the terms "Mary Sue" or "Gary Stu" mentioned in relation to this subject. Those are names given to characters that are often "too perfect" to be realistic in a story. Try to remember that everybody has something they're struggling with...what is YOUR character's battle against?

* Using an idea that's been done before without changing it up
When talking to a character creator they typically call overused ideas or character groups "cliche". Now before we go any further I'm going to talk about a debate that's been raging among writers for...well...a while. You may have heard it before, or you may not. But you may hear about it, so it's important to cover.

There are some writers/character creators who are so against cliche characters/plots that they go out of their way to avoid ideas that have been done before at all costs. Everything is about not being cliche, and if you use an idea that's not 100% original to you, you're doing it wrong.

On the other end of the spectrum are writers who cannot help but use the most overused ideas and plots to the point that their writing and characters are so predictable you can stop one-fourth of the way through their story and be fully content.

I'm more of a middle of the road sort of a person. I believe that you can take well-known character types, story ideas, or plots and change them up just enough that they're very interesting. I mean, Disney has been doing it for ages. The best description I ever heard of a writer was that a writer is like a magpie.



If you don't know, a Magpie is a species of bird that is famous for stealing little trinkets from odd places to line its nest. They're nature's hoarder. Writers are the same way. We file little bits of writing, memory, conversation, background chatter, or other things away and they pop up in our writing unexpectedly. Of course, cliches are bound to pop up because we encounter them in our day-to-day life and just unconsciously line our writing with them like magpies line their nests. But if we try to find ways to switch them up and approach them from a new angle, they're not so cliche anymore. Does that make sense? I hope it does.

* Failing to give your character a clear desire/motive
One of the most brilliant TV shows I've ever watched was Netflix's Daredevil. Not just because of the great writing and acting, but because of how they portrayed the character of Wilson Fisk. Now Fisk is the "bad guy" in the series. He's the main person who's orchestrating all of these plots that our hero has to fight against...but this series takes the time to deeply examine his motives and his backstory. This villain, who we're supposed to hate, falls in love with a wonderful woman, has a tragic history that motivates him, and even has an assistant who's like a son to him.

I thought it was brilliant. Because the motivation of this character was so clearly defined that I had trouble not wanting to root for him a little bit. This is just proof that really well-defined characters can really tug at the heart-strings of your readers.

* Failing to introduce the readers to the character properly
Introductions are important. Not only in real life, but even here on Neopets. As an artist/writer/creator of a character, your job is to introduce the viewer to the character properly. If that doesn't happen and a connection isn't made, you won't have your audience for long.

* Lack of depth/backstory


* Unexplained actions/shifts in motivation
You're halfway through a mystery novel and you're reading about the main character's dear Aunt Betty who's been portrayed as this sweet old lady who really wants the jewel thief brought to justice. However, you turn the page and next thing you know Aunt Betty's dyed her hair pink and is now riding with a punk rock band called Nine Nails and Three Hooks in a minivan down the California coast.

You go through the book trying to understand why Aunt Betty made that life choice and the author is silent. Nothing. Nada. Zip. You're left with an unanswered question that stems from a pretty large unexplained plot hole.

Sudden shifts in motivation or action happen because we often can't make up our minds. But usually before something like that happens, there's a preceding event that causes it. Either we get new data (ex: the murder weapon is found!), or something else happens that changes the motivation of that character, but very rarely does something happen without a cause of some sort.

* Lack of balance between action and description/reflection
I know I'm gonna sound older than I am, but I really love the writing of Louis L'amour. If you've never read him, he's the author of many books, particularly a large number of westerns. One of the aspects about his writing that I admire is how he strikes a perfect balance between action and the reflection of the characters in his books.

Writers and artists tend to be philosophers at heart. We deal with our problems and questions about life by puzzling it out through our creations. Writers tend to express it through the thoughts of our characters. Many writers get very philosophical and questioning in their books. Cornelia Funke, Ray Bradbury, C.S Lewis, Charles Dickens, and Louis L'amour are only a few that I can name off of the top of my head.

It can be tempting to get a little too philosophical or to have too much action without giving your readers a bit of time to rest their brains and process. There's a very fine balance between the two. It's hard for even the best character creators and writers to master, so don't loose heart!

Characters and The Arts

So, now we get to one of my favorite sections, talking about Characters and rendering them through the arts. Now, before you so called "non-artsy" people decide to skip this section, let me give you a bit of a pep-talk.

Just because you think that you cannot do art doesn't mean it's true. There are many different types of arts (music, poetry, drawing, painting, theater, pottery, architecture, crafting, felting, fibers, etc....) and many different types of artists. Sometimes it just takes a while for someone to realize they have talent, and develop the ability to be considered "good".

I first started attempting to do art in 2011. I did not think of myself as an artist. I just doodled. In fact, my first drawing of my favorite pet (Rita_Thief12345678) was pretty much a disaster...




But I kept drawing, and kept learning and took classes and learned methods and experimented with different art methods and I learned. It's possible for you to as well. Here's my latest rough picture of Rita...


You can do it. I believe you can. Your art doesn't have to look like anybody else's, doesn't have to be the same kind of art as anybody else's, and doesn't have to be anything more than a product of you. So try different arts, try new things, learn, practice, and don't give up. It's worth it.
~Sunny


Okay, now that I've had my little soap box moment, it's time to talk about how to show off our characters using the arts. Now, for this section, I'm considering the arts to be anything related to art, music, or literature. There are various ways to show your character's traits through the arts, so let's get into a few examples....

Music Playlists:
Often featured on a petpage, music playlists can often give you valuable insight into how a character thinks, feels, or acts. I myself often listen to a lot of music when drawing or thinking about characters. Lots of character creators will create playlists specifically for their character and put it on their page so that visitors can listen for themselves.

Drawing/Sketching:
Although I love seeing full blown digital or a real bit of art for characters, I often find that rough drawings or sketches just seem to have way more character and action in them. I love pages that have a mix of finished and rough art because rough sketches can just bring out the little quirks of characters that we all know and love. Now, just because I'm an art geek, I'm gonna spend a few minutes talking about a couple of different drawing mediums. Maybe if you're not good at one, you should try another?


Drawing Pencils (Graphite)
Basically, any pencil sketch you do with just a black pencil or a set of them falls under this category. Best advice? Start out loose and relaxed and sketch out the rough shape/contour of your character, and drop in details later. Some good supplies to invest in would be blending stumps, an eraser pencil (if you've never used one, they're amazing!), and a good variety of different shades of pencil.


Charcoal (Block, Vine, Willow or Pencil)
Charcoal is messy but really good for dramatic or artwork with a lot of values. However, if you want sharp and clean lines and really detailed artwork, this may not be the medium for you. It can be accomplished with vine/willow charcoal and some charcoal pencils, but if you want to cover large areas and actually have your grains not smudge and fly all over the place, block charcoal is your friend. Don't forget to throw some cheap fixative (I use hairspray) on your work after it's done so it stays pretty and doesn't smudge.


Colored Pencil
Colored pencil is one of those mediums that is very commonly used, but not often done right, particularly when blending is concerned. If you're diligent and learn the techniques though, it's a medium that can really shine, particularly when characters are the focus. If you're not for blending using cross-hatching or burnishing, there are some colored pencil blending tools available from craft stores that can help you.


Chalk/Oil Pastels
Although chalk pastels and oil pastels are night and day to each other, I'll throw them under one header. Chalk pastel is to charcoal what colored pencil is to graphite. Basically, you treat chalk pastel like it's colored charcoal and you're pretty much golden. There are chalk pastel pencils, just like there's charcoal pencils.

Oil pastels are fun because they're sticky, messy, and don't mix with water. Which can be an advantage, particularly if you watercolor on top of your work, making that oil pop. Oil pastel can be just as effective on paper or canvas, and it's really good for artists who love to get their hands dirty. Here's an example of a character drawn in Chalk Pastel.




Pen and Ink
Pen and Ink is a medium that doesn't require fancy tools. You can make a good pen and ink drawing with a cheap Bic Pen bought from a dollar store. Now, there are lots of different pens that make lots of different marks in various widths, colors, and sizes. There's also professional art pens, but again I say...you can make good pen/ink work with cheap pens, sharpies, or just a cheap pack of pens from an art store in different sizes. In the end, it's all about your methods and the marks you make.

Drawing Tablets
Wacoms, Ipads, or any other drawing surface that's used digitally can be counted as drawing tablets. I myself have a Wacom Intous Art for my computer, and an Ipad Pro with apple pencil for other situations. Typically you need some sort of program or application. Photoshop, GIMP, Paint Tool SAI, and Fire Alpaca are typically suggested for computers. For Ipads, Procreate for Ipad leads the market.

These are just a few ways you can draw, my suggestion is to try a few mediums out. It'd be nice to see more variety, as most drawings you see on the site are graphite, colored pencil or digital. Not that there's anything wrong with that, but hey, variety is fun.


Poetry/Writing:
Poetry and writing both are harder art forms to find here. Although writing is considered somewhat common in some aspects, it's actually rare nowadays to find petpages with full chunks of a story instead of a summary. The reasoning is typically a mix of a busy schedule and the fact that neopians have a bad habit of not wanting to read unless they are honestly hooked or drawn into the content.

Poetry is even more rare than writing, most poetry being reserved for the poetry contest. However, when you do find some it can be a real pleasure to read and enjoy.

Other Art Forms:
These are other ways to express your character, some of which I've seen around, some of which are just random ideas from my head. If I find examples I'll try to link them so you can find inspiration.

* Felting
* Knitting/Crocheting
* Fashion Design
* Photography
- Example
- Example
* Inspiration Boards/Mood Boards
- Example

Now that I've talked a lot about the mediums, let's get into the actual methods, shall we?

Typically once you have gotten the basic details of your character down, either by writing it out or by creating a rough sketch, you need to create some form of reference. The reasoning behind this is simple. You want to be able to draw that character (or have other artists draw that character) with some consistency over and over again. A typical reference contains a picture/drawing of your character, a section for colors used, and perhaps a few notes on certain markings or aspects of your character that you don't want to forget. But you can add/remove what you like. Here are a couple examples from my references:


References are often required when asking for fan art and are often an integral part of petpages. However they can be important for characters set in other realms, or even characters off-site.

I'm guessing the next question you may have is about those who are Writers like I am. How are they able to find art for petpages, applications, or other things if they don't have a reference? Most of the time the only option is to try to find a generous artist who's willing to take a detailed written description of that character and turn it into a reference for you. It can be a bit problematic for some. However, there are places such as the Art Agency that do allow for you to submit requests for artists without a reference.

Another fun aspect of art, particularly when it comes to petpages is Adoptables. Typically adoptables are little miniature versions of that pet, either custom made, or made to look like the color/species combo of that pet. Here's an example of both a premade and a custom adoptable....

cute lil adopt for you! xoxo zeycute lil adopt for you! xoxo kaz

Typically if you want a custom adoptable you either must request one, or if you are an adoptable maker yourself you can offer to do a trade where each party makes and adoptable for the other person. Using adoptables without proper credit IS theft, and can be reportable.

As much as we like thieves in our stories and plots in neopia, we really don't like them when it comes to stealing art and coding. Just to clarify, using ANYBODY'S work without proper credit (ex: a link to their userlookup, etc) is stealing. It's also stealing if you use work that's not available to the public and the artist doesn't want to share, EVEN IF you link back. If someone says their work is only for their use, respect that! It's also considered theft if you enter someone's work into a contest, either by outright stealing it OR tracing/duplicating it. For more information about YOUR rights as an artist/writer/coder, check out this guide:

Composition/Tips

I wanted to add this section to specifically talk about art and characters from the standpoint of Composition. Composition is how you put together a work of art. In this case, it's a work of art containing your character. I think that there's some valuable insight to be gained from learning about this important area. Some of these tips will be from experience, some will be from what I've researched/read, so forgive me if I somehow bungle this up. Let's start with the first basic question to ask...

Where does your eye go?

I'm serious. Where does it go when it first views your piece of artwork? Your character's face? Somewhere in the background? Why does that happen? Well, I'm gonna explain a few concepts....

Certain colors attract the eye...such as red.

Take a look at Claude Monets work "Poppies".

The FIRST place your eye is drawn to is that large slope of red-orange poppies that rolls down the hill. It's because red is a very eye catching color that actually causes our body to physically react. It increases our heart rate. In fact, a study published in a very well-known scholarly journal concluded that red actually psychologically increases the intensity of our reactions! The color is seen as a natural "danger" signal by our mind. This is why a large number of advertisers and companies have red in their logos or ads. They know it will grab your attention.

Contrasting colors also will attract attention as well...

Van Gogh surely knew this when he painted "Two Crabs".

Blue and orange are contrasting colors, which means they're across from each other on the color wheel. Contrasting colors really pop against each other, naturally drawing the eye. Now just placing contrasting colors right next to each other and letting them just sit there can be a little too intense sometimes, which is why artists often mix other colors into a piece to make it a little less intense, but still eye catching.

How can you implement this in your character designs? Maybe add a splash of red or red-orange in an area that you want the viewer to focus on, or place some contrasting colors in areas you want to draw the eye as well. Use colors to convey the theme or mood of your character, as well as a tool to draw the eye to important aspects of their design.

Dark and light values next to each other cause your eye to move forward/recede.
You ever see an art piece where there's an insane amount of cloth, typically with folds or wrinkles? Maybe it was a design for a royal pet, or perhaps the wrinkled cloak of a meridellian thief? Ever wondered how that's achieved? The answer is really found in the large difference between the values.

The way my professors describe the effect is that dark values make your eyes recede, or almost want to draw back from the piece, whereas light values bring your eyes forward. Putting them next to each other can cause your eye to almost "roll" with the natural folds/creases in an object, such as wrinkled cloth, the folds of a leather boot, or the creases in a leaf of lettuce.

Prompts and Challenges

Challenge: Read Deep



Take the advice of these great authors. Read wide, read deep. Try different genres, read the classics (they're classics for a reason!), read an author that motivates you, find a book recommended to you by a friend...or a librarian. (A librarian told me to pick up The Phantom Tollbooth and I loved it!) Just...read. If you want a few really good authors that I have personally found, here's a short list. (You can neomail me if you'd like more!)

Edgar Rice Burroughs
Ray Bradbury
Neil Gaiman
Louis L'amour
John Grisham
Cornelia Funke
Tom Clancy
Gary Paulsen
Frances Hodgson Burnett
Colleen Coble
Sharon Creech

Challenge: Musical Art

This little challenge is simple. All it requires is a music playlist set on shuffle, your chosen art supplies, and imagination. The rules are simple. You will go through your playlist for as long as you desire, with it set on shuffle. When a song comes on, you must do a small art piece that is inspired by that song, either by the feelings the music gives you, the lyrics, etc. You have the duration of the song to complete that sketch. You cannot work on that sketch past the end of that song. Once the song ends, you switch to another song and the process begins all over again. The benefit of having your playlist on shuffle is that you never know which song will come on next. If you want to tailor it to a specific character, why not make a playlist of songs that inspire you to draw that character and put that playlist on shuffle?


My attempt at this challenge, just for fun. Although not character related. ;)

Challenge: Your Character's Voice

Think about how your character talks. Do they have an accent because of where they're from? If you know which accent they have, look up or do some research on how words are pronounced. Try to reflect that consistently when your character talks if the accent is thick. How does their voice sound? Do they talk loud or soft? What words can you use to describe their voice?

Words to Describe Voices

Found on writinghelpers

adenoidal (adj): if someone's voice is adenoidal, some of the sound seems to come through their nose
appealing (adj): an appealing look/voice shows that you want help, approval, or agreement
breathy (adj): with loud breathing noises
brittle (adj): if you speak in a brittle voice, you sound as if you are about to cry
croaky (adj): if someone's voice sounds croaky, they speak in a low, rough voice that sounds as if they have a sore throat
dead (adj): if someone's eyes or voice are dead, they feel or show no emotion
disembodied (adj): a disembodied voice comes from someone who you cannot see
flat (adj): spoken in a voice that does not go up and down; this word is often used for describing the speech of people from a particular region
fruity (adj): a fruity voice or laugh is deep and strong in a pleasant way
grating (adj): a grating voice, laugh, or sound is unpleasant and annoying
gravelly (adj): a gravelly voice sounds low and rough
gruff (adj): this voice has a rough, low sound
guttural (adj): a guttural sound is deep and made at the back of your throat
high-pitched (adj): true to its name, a high-pitched voice or sound is very high
hoarse (adj): someone who is hoarse, or has a hoarse voice, speaks in a low, rough voice, usually because their throat is sore
honeyed (adj): honeyed words or a honeyed voice sound very nice, but you cannot trust the person who is speaking
husky (adj): a husky voice is deep and sounds hoarse (as if you have a sore throat), often in an attractive way
low (adj): a low voice is quiet and difficult to hear; also used for describing a deep voice that has a long wavelength
matter-of-fact (adj): usually used if the person speaking knows what they are talking about (or absolutely think they know what they are talking about)
modulated (adj): a modulated voice is controlled and pleasant to listen to
monotonous (adj): this kind of voice is boring and unpleasant due to the fact that it does not change in loudness or become higher/lower
nasal (adj): someone with a nasal voice sounds as if they are speaking through their nose
orotund (adj): an orotund voice is loud and clear
penetrating (adj): a penetrating voice is so high or loud that it makes you slightly uncomfortable
plummy (adj): a plummy voice or way of speaking is considered to be typical of an English person of a high social class; this word shows that you dislike people who speak like this
quietly (adj): in a soft, quiet voice
raucous (adj): a raucous voice or noise is loud and sounds rough
ringing (adj): a ringing voice is very loud and clear
rough (adj): a rough voice is not soft and is unpleasant to listen to
shrill (adj): a shrill voice is very loud, high, and unpleasant
silvery (adj): this voice is clear, light, and pleasant
singsong (adj): if you speak in a singsong voice, your voice rises and falls in a musical way
small (adj): a small voice is quiet
smoky (adj): a smoky voice is attractive in a slightly mysterious way
softly spoken (adj): someone who is softly spoken has a quiet, gentle voice
soft-spoken (adj): speaking or said in a quiet, gentle voice
sotto voce (adj, adv): in a very quiet voice
stentorian (adj): a stentorian voice sounds very loud and severe
strangled (adj): a strangled sound is one that someone stops before they finish making it
strident (adj): this voice is loud and unpleasant
taut (adj): used about something such as a voice that shows someone is nervous or angry
thick (adj): if your voice is thick with an emotion, it sounds less clear than usual because of the emotion
thickly (adv): with a low voice that comes mostly from your throat
thin (adj): a thin voice or sound is high and unpleasant to listen to
throaty (adj): a throaty sound is low and seems to come from deep in your throat
tight (adj): shows that you are nervous or annoyed
toneless (adj): does not express any emotion
tremulous (adj): if your voice is tremulous, it is not steady; for example, because you are afraid or excited
wheezy (adj): a wheezy noise sounds as if it is made by someone who has difficulty breathing
wobbly (adj): if your voice is wobbly, it goes up and down, usually because you are frightened, not confident, or are going to cry
booming (adj): very loud and attention-getting
quavering (adv): if your voice quavers, it is not steady because you are feeling nervous or afraid
a voice like a foghorn:  very loud voice

in an undertone: using a quiet voice so that someone cannot hear you

someone's dulcet tones: the sound of someone's voice as they speak

Resources

Petpage Templates/Premades


Other Character Creation Guides/Resources/Challenges
40 Days of Character Creation


Neopian Times Information/Guides
Common Myths about Writing for the Neopian Times
The Comic Artist's Handbook
Comic Making Tips from the Illustrator of "Spooky".



Recommended Books on Writing/Characters
Spilling Ink: A Young Writer's Handbook by Anne Mazer and Ellen Potter

Recommended Books on Drawing/Painting Characters:
Beginner's Guide to Digital Painting in Photoshop: Characters by 3DTotal Publishing

Recomended Books for Background Information/Historial Information:
Venice: A New History by Tomas F. Madden
The Story of Britan: From the Norman Conquest to the European Union by Pastric Dillon
The Story of Scotland by Nigel Tranter

Character's Corner

Ahem. Hello readers! Character here! This is my own little corner of the hat shop that Sunny lets me use because I gave up my own space for her guide. Here you'll find some information about me, fan art, and other things. Ready? Here we go.

Fan Art

Sunny's Art

Drag to your address bar for full sizes.

Sitely

FAQ

Q: Why did you take the time to write this guide?

A: Because all of the really good character guides from back in the day became inactive, and I was on the app chat one day and they were just talking about how a new character guide was needed. So I rolled up my sleeves and got to work.

Q: Uhm, I really liked how you coded the page, can I have the code?

A: Yep. If you want to use the coding from this page you can find a modified version of it at Coding Revolution.

Q: Why call this site The Character Hat?

A: Because Character is a hatmaker, of course! He runs a shop down in White River, Meridell. I will admit that his creations sometimes have very...odd effects on the wearer, but he has the best hats anywhere. So what name works better for a guide he helped me to work on? :)

Q: Why is there so much art theory in the guide? How does it connect to making characters?

A: Because representing your character through the arts is a very important part of their creation process. Simply by changing a few aspects of composition or maybe trying a new medium, these characters can come to life in a way not previously imagined!

Also, I'm an artist and an art minor myself, so most of what I'm including are concepts I'm learning from my classes.

Q: So you really wrote/illustrated a children's book?

A: Yep. Can't tell you the title because that's personal information and junk, but yeah. I had fun writing it. It was actually an assignment for a class, and I turned it into something more. I've been going through the process of publishing and I'm very pleased to be able to call myself a full-fleged author! :)

Listers/Affies

Listers:


Affiliates:


Other Sites By Sunny

Linkback

If you wouldn't mind, both Character and I would deeply appreciate it if you'd link back to our little guide here. You can either take an official site button, or his quilt patch if you prefer. Either works for us!

All buttons are linked to their creators, unless they're made by Sunny.







Layout by Sunny (Hzoo_26)
Top hat PNG by doloresminette on DA.
BG by Bedazzled


















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