by Day Shepard, March 29, 2021
Hello! If you’re reading this right now then you are most likely coming from Instagram to learn how I create my character board. Or maybe you found this blog post randomly because you wanted to learn a different method for creating a character board!
Regardless of how you found this blog post, I’m so glad you’re here! And I’d be happy to share my Character Board process with you!
Why create one anyway? Well, one thing I love to do with mine is show it off to people who ask about the characters in my book. I’m the worst at explaining anything that involves my book, so having something like this works for me. Another thing I love about it is being able to pull it out when I need help writing my book or forget something about my character.
Before we move on, I’ll fill you in on what you’ll get out of this blog post:
- Free Character Board Outline (two-pages).
- Google Slide copy of the Character Board Text Outline (to print or copy onto paper).
- And a presentable character board to show off and be proud of (if you decide to make one, of course).
Okay! Let’s jump right into it!
1. Materials I Used
- poster board paper (OR cork board +thumb tacks)
- glue stick
- cardstock paper
- printer (OR paper and pencil/pen)
You can pretty much get all of these at Dollar General/Tree. Maybe not the corkboard, I got that from Michaels for like $10, I think.
2. Getting Started
*This part is just for people who like to outline their characters and keep those outlines close to them, in their files, or wherever they like. Just like I do!*
First of all, this isn’t a typical character board filled with a bunch of pictures. What I like to do is fill half the board with WORDS too. So in the beginning of this project, I wrote down my character’s traits and other info that targets their personality using a writing outline that I created.
Before going in and writing down the character’s info, what I like to do is search for a website that explains all 16 personality types and figure out what my character’s type is. Once I’ve found it, that’s when I begin my outlining.
MBTI websites I frequently use:
And here’s what I filled in for one of my side characters using the Character Board Outline, that everyone should have gotten from their email.
(If you didn’t get this outline or would to like to request one, go to my Contact Page and send an email typing “Requesting Character Board Outline” into the Subject bar and Message bar.)
3. Write It Down On Google Slides
(For those who don’t have a printer, you can write this part onto paper.)
Now that we have our outline of our character written out, we have to take that and put it into Google Slides. This is the document that we actually want to print out. (Or write!)
What we’re writing onto Google Slides:
- 8-10 Trait Here – A description of the trait goes here. It could be short or long. Positive or Negative.
- 5-6 “Character’s phrase/quote here.”
- WANTS: Wants to…(Whatever the character desires and believes will make them happy.)
- NEEDS: Needs to…(The lesson the character needs to learn to attain true happiness.)
- SECRETS: A secret the character wants no one to know. (Or a secret the character doesn’t know they have.)
- FEARS: What could possibly stop the character from attaining what they need?
- Other Traits – other one-worded traits that describe the character.
- Character Inspirations – other fictional characters that inspired your own character. (Their personality, appearance, fashion, etc.)
Lucky for you! I have already written these out onto Google Slides for everyone to grab a copy. (So let’s grab that copy really quick. Press the link below!)
Instructions to make a copy of your own to edit —> Click on ‘File’ located in the left corner, then click ‘Make a copy’ and press ‘Entire presentation.’ Rename it however you like and click ‘Okay’ to confirm it.
4. Finding Photo References
*DON’T PRINT ANYTHING JUST YET!*
(For those who don’t have printers, you can use magazines and cut out pictures that relate to your character.)
All that extra space you see in the outline on Google Slides is where your photos will be.
The kind of photos you want to find are ones that relate to your character and who they are. So that can be their hobbies, the clothes they wear, their occupation, maybe their a different species, or maybe they carry something special with them everywhere. You get the idea.
Here’s a snippet from the Character Board Outline that has questions for you to answer to help you find photo references for your character.
Here are photos I found that relate to one of my side characters!
*Image slides side-to-side*
5. Cut, Glue, Tape and Arrange
Now we’re at the fun part where we can put everything together!
After we have everything from character traits to photos, we can start printing them out. (Make sure your PDF document is on ‘Fit to printable area‘ setting OR just make sure your photos and texts on Google Slides isn’t close to the edges.)
CUT THE PAPER
First things first, cut everything out. (Be careful and take your time!)
GLUE ONTO CARDSTOCK PAPER
Pull out your cardstock paper and glue your texts and photos onto it. Leave spaces between them because we’re going to cut them out as well.
ATTENTION! Do not glue your character’s art breeder photo or any photo that references your character’s face in this part! See more info below.
Tape Certain Photos
The photos you want to tape to the cardstock are the ones you might switch out. (So for instance, I tend to switch out my Art Breeder photos because there’s always some minor thing I want to change about my character’s appearance.)
PIN OR TAPE TO A BOARD
For those who have corkboards and thumb tacks can easily pin up their texts and photos. (I personally don’t like poking holes through my paper and if you’re someone who doesn’t like that either, I suggest lining the texts and photos along the already pinned thumb tacks.)
When using a poster board paper, you want to lay everything onto it and arrange them however you like before taping it to the board.
Why use tape? Well, I also tend to switch out my character’s traits or some photos on the poster board because as I write my book, I learn more about my character that I didn’t know before which requires me to change a few things. (My poster board paper was 22×28, but I cut mine down to 17×22.)
YAY! That’s it!
Thank you so much for reading! I really hope that you decide to create your character board using the outlines I provided! You can add-on or takeaway whatever you want from your boards or create something entirely new.
Just know that your character boards don’t have to look exactly like mine. BE CREATIVE! Please, I encourage it!
Also I would absolutely LOVE to see your own version of this Character Board!
Please feel free to send photos to my email or Instagram DMs, or tag me in your photos on Instagram using the hashtag #dayscharacterboard of your completed Character Boards. (Instagram: @dayshepard.writer) I can share them onto my Instagram or blog and give a nice shoutout of your wonderful creations!
Here’s my finished piece! And quick note, this is one of my side characters, not the protagonist! (Some parts are turned around because I don’t wish to share them.)