I’m serious. One of my favourite aspects of YA Fantasy novels is the map. Books such as Maria V Snyder’s Study, Glass, and Healer series, Sarah J Maas’ A Court of Thorns and Roses series, and Rachel E Carter’s Black Mage series, all feature beautiful maps. I also aspire to be able to draw my characters as beautifully as some illustrators found on Instagram. I think there are many layers to a novel, and they often incorporate more than the written word.
I think the idea of drawing out characters is fantastic. To have the talent to bring them to life just for your eyes, if not for your finished work, is admirable. Even if you aren’t an artist in that way, forming aesthetics using sites such as Pinterest or Instagram, or mood boards with magazine clippings and pictures found online, are all bona fide ways of making your characters 3D.
I often read about ways to ensure you make the perfectly deep character; how much you should know about them and the intricate details of how they live their lives. I think these are entirely valid points, but can be explored in more than just writing. Making playlists that they would listen to, sketching the doodles they would draw as a child, composing songs from their world, the options are endless. Tell me all about how you construct your characters, in the comments!
My first copy of the map of Asile
As I have mentioned, I love maps. I have drawn up my own map of Asile, the country where Eleri’s Kingdom, and later Book One, is set. It adds that extra layer when characters are on journeys or quests, as well as showing the details that we can’t always go into. Using different mediums of art to create your world can really define the atmosphere and consensus of the people who live there. I also like the notion of drawing up specific scenes or visuals from the world that come into my mind. I use the sunrise over the Shadow Mountains and the sunset over the Sirens’ Sea quite often, drawing them out would make it that much more real for me.
If you have multiple worlds, it can help to address any contrasts or similarities. How do characters get from one world to another? What modes of transport do they use? What is the culture like in each world? Do they have legends and myths that they tell as bedtime stories? Building a world is so much more than giving it a name and a location, so get creative! It might just inspire something you didn’t even know your WIP was missing!
- Learn to illustrate and draw my characters
- Add detail and colour to map of Asile
- Illustrate scenes for Eleri’s Kingdom
If you are looking for the latest sneak preview of Eleri’s Kingdom, you have come to the right place! Let me know your thoughts.