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Do's and Dont's of Appearance

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Do's and Dont's of Appearance

Post  Sharpiefan on Fri Jun 03, 2011 6:47 am

9 Doís and Doníts of Appearance: A Top Nine Guide from an Overlord
Nine quick doís and donítís for that difficult section of apps


So youíre typing up that character application. You know exactly how your character is going to act; you know everything thatís ever happened to him/her; youíve looked over excellent guides on flaws and therefore situated even that tricky part. But then you get to the description and read those dreaded words:
Two to three paragraphs, please!
Two to three paragraphs? On description? Itís like two sentences, isnít it? Well, whatís being asked here is a little more in depth, and Iím going to provide you with a ďshortĒ list of Doís and Donítís to consider when writing up your appearance.

Do think about your characterís play by; do not just describe the picture

Several sites ask you to have a play-by for your character, either anime or real life person. Itís a solid visual representation, and it gives you a good place to start when typing up your description. But do not let it end there. Thereís something about your character that makes you think of the actor/actress/character that you picked/drew to portray them. But chances are itís not 100% accurate (unless you actually drew it yourself, even then). So feel free to describe what you see, but branch out from it as well.

Do think about what your character wears; do not dress them like a cartoon character

Ever watched cartoons? Ever notice that they never seem to change clothes? Thatís not normal for regular people. So please, donít just outright describe an outfit that your character will always be wearing. Instead, think in general terms about what they usually wear, what kinds of clothes and what colors they wear. This gives a general presentation of the character without making them sound like a caricature.

Do think about common props, think twice about giving your character Linus' blankee

People often have things with them. I like to carry my MP3 player, for example, or I have a watch dangling from my belt. Some people have a favorite purse that theyíre rarely seen without; others seem to always have books. But people do not usually carry something with them nonstop. Remember Linus from the Peanuts cartoons? Always had that blanket with him. And people thought he was a freak. In a cartoon. So think twice before giving a character a prop, because it could come off as very strange.

Do think about your characterís body; do not put them in a constant slouch

People have a tendency toward standing a certain way. Some people slouch, others seem stiff as a board. Some people bounce when they walk, others are straight-legged. Itís just one more thing to keep in mind while writing: how your character hold him/herself and how they move. Just make sure that you donít contort them into a caveman like slouch. You know, unless theyíre a caveman.

Do think about how your character presents him/herself; do not turn them into a puppet

People often present themselves in different manners. And yes, this does have a lot to do with a characterís personality, but youíll find that most of this stuff links quite closely with that. In this case, think about how your character generally reacts to people, how he/she looks whenever they meet someone new. Maybe how they dress when heading to work as opposed to how they look when heading to school or to hang out. People adapt to their situations; how do yours?

Do think about your characterís face; do not assign them a permanent expression

People smile. People glower. People have a tendency toward a myriad of facial expressions. However, people, as a whole, tend to lean toward one or two expressions in particular. Consider how your character generally looks, whatís generally going on in their face. But donít assume theyíre always smiling or always frowning. Say ďhe frequently has a smile on his faceĒ or ďitís rare to not see her glaring.Ē That lets people know what your charaterís overall mood is, without locking them into a permanent expression.

Do think about smells; do not come across as creepy

Still getting a little stuck? Start thinking about how your character smells. Do they smell pretty? Frequently like aftershave? Like booze? This lets people know more about your character than you think; since itís directly linked to how they take care of themselves, which lets you know a lot more about the character than you think. Just be careful not to overdo it, or seem like youíre obsessed with the characterís scent.

Do think about sounds; do not turn your character into a radio

Talk to people. Notice how their voice sounds, how they present themselves verbally. This is another one of those things that will often cross over into personality section, and may very well be placed solely within there (if a character purposefully attempts to sound a specific way, then itís more personality). But maybe thereís noises when your character walks. Or maybe he/she has a personality quirk that presents itself in appearance. Let us know.

Do think about of your character as a special snowflakeÖ just not too special

Yes, your character is unique. Everybody looks different. But be careful not to make your character so drastically different in appearance that youíre coming out in the Sue end. Think about what makes your character unique, without crossing those very careful lines.


In case you havenít noticed by now, thereís some overlap here. Be fairly general, but remember your specific character (sounds contradictory, right?) Remember not to turn them into a cartoon character, because nobody believes those appearances. Above all else, let us know in writing how you see this character, how you want him/her to present him/herself to the world. Let us see the character as clearly as you do. These steps should hope, but in the end, itís up to you as a writer. Good luck, and happy character making.

this guide was written by the Overlord known as Fate, for RPG-d and overlords of all shapes and sizes

Miss Emma Vickery
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