Sunday, April 3, 2011

What a Character Looks Like

Writers not only have to think of ways to make their characters’ personalities come alive on the page, but they also have to devise a look that will help the reader envision them. In my last post I described the four basic personality types I learned in a company that trained me as a color analyst. As promised, I will now describe what these four personalities tend to look like. Hair color is less an exact science than eye color and skin tone due to a variety of hair dyes on the market, but unadulterated, hair color will tend to have specific characteristics among the four personality groups.

People who express themselves have a light tawny complexion or a suntanned look with yellow undertones. Their cheeks turn rosy following exertion or embarrassment. Some in this category have pale skin, but they often have a yellowish cast to their complexion. Eye color is clear and usually blue, blue-green, grey or grey-green. If you look closely, these may even have mustard color surrounding the iris. Brown eyes are rare in this group. People who express themselves can have any hair color, but red heads may possess a bit of sandiness and blondes may have a taffy-colored appearance.

Overall look: These people look radiant and alive.

People who analyze possess a skin tone that is cool with rose undertones. Some may possess an opaque whiteness or an olive complexion with a blue cast under the skin. Eye color can be any color, but usually not green. Often those with brown eyes have eye color almost black brown in appearance. Blonde or brownette hair is possible among these people, but most in this category have brown, dark-brown to black-brown hair.

Overlook look: Icy, elegant, regal

People who are driven possess yellow undertones to their skin, however they have more gold or orange tones in their cheeks and more bronze in their overall appearance than do those in the first group above. Their eyes can be any color, however those with brown or green eyes might have gold and brown flecks. Most in this group will have gold or brown coloring around the iris. Their hair will tend to have bronze or metallic characteristics, although the hair can be any color.

Overlook look: Tawny, coppery, metallic, and dramatic

People who are amiable are often quite pale and their skin is transparent in appearance. They don’t hold a tan well. Usually their eye color is light blue, grey, grey-green or hazel. Rarely will they have brown eyes. These people tend to have light brown or blonde hair.

Overlook look: Colorless, soft and delicate, comforting

The look and character of the four personality groups, although as variable as the leaves on a tree, are more accurate than not. A study of the topic may surprise you. A person who falls under one of the four groups will possess at least 50% of the characteristics I have described above. Maybe you aren’t as detailed in character descriptions as this, but the information might provide you with some guidelines as you create believable heroes and heroines.

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