If you ever wondered how an author visualizes his or her characters, know that there's no one right answer. I sometimes don't really visualize my characters at all, and may struggle to recall their features without consulting my character breakdown sheets. Other times, I can see them as clearly as I can imagine a friend, family member, or celebrity.
Sometimes I like to use Artbreeder to create a character portrait that I can import into Scrivener, so I can see at a glance what the characters look like. Artbreeder also lets you make AI-generated images of landscapes, buildings, full-body characters, and more, so I like to use that as well.
Below are some portraits from my latest book, The Dream Kiss. Some of them are exactly as I imagined the characters, and others are a little further off. They all capture something of these characters' personalities.
This is Princess Zora from The Dream Kiss. She has lived her entire life under the shadow of the curse, trying to do everything in her power to stay away from all thorns. But this has made her afraid of almost everything, especially the future.
This is Princess Zora's mother, Queen Camellia. She cares for her daughter very much and doesn't want her to suffer. However, she knows that her daughter's curse taking hold would doom Lorca and all its subjects. The strain of trying to meet these two obligations has worn on her. After her daughter falls under the curse, her devastation only grows.
This is Princess Zora's father, King Joseph. Normally a kind man, the strain of his daughter's curse has pushed him beyond his limits. He struggles to maintain control of his island as more and more subjects fall asleep every day. The end to his daughter's suffering should be so simple, and yet no one has found the cure.
This is Prince Eugene. He came from Albion to Lorca as a ward; when he and Zora escaped the palace to visit the sailboats, he was sent home. He has a mischievous streak, but cares for Zora deeply.
This is Calytrix, one of Zora's three fairy godmothers. She is the strictest of the three. She has high standards and knows that worthy people will rise to meet them.
Here's Iris, Zora's very caring and maternal godmother. She may seem like a soft touch, but she has a heart of steel.
Foxglove is Zora's third fairy godmother. I imagined her looking older than this, but this image captures something of her essence: creative, bursting with life and ideas, yet also very vulnerable and sad. She feels deeply responsible for Zora's predicament even though she saved her life.
This is Mevelina, a.k.a the Dark Fairy. When she wasn't invited to Princess Zora's christening, she cursed the princess to prick her finger on a thorn and die. The curse didn't quite take hold like that, and she was banished from the mortal realms. But she's used her time wisely, and she'll soon be back…
This is Lord Jasper. He likes to sow chaos and stir up drama wherever he goes, especially if it doesn't directly involve him. He has a long history with the Dark Fairy and a complex relationship with her. He is hiding a big secret.
All these characters, and more, appear in The Dream Kiss. I didn't include these portraits in the book, but now I'm wondering if I should. What do you think?
The images in this post are part of the public domain. However, if you use them, I would appreciate a link back to this post.