Saturday, 23 March 2013

What do your characters look like?

Seeing pictures of the characters you've created for a book is always interesting. When my cover artist Scott Altmann sent pictures of the four main characters in my Pendragon Legacy books, I fell instantly in love with two of them - Arianrhod and Squire Cai.


But I was a bit surprised by Rhianna, who appeared far tougher than I had imagined her to be when I started writing the first book Sword of Light!

Rhianna Pendragon by Scott Altmann
Thinking about it, I realised this was because she was the only character I had actually drawn myself before starting to write... I sometimes do this to get me "in the mood" for a book, after I've written a chapter or two and need something to keep me going.

Rhianna riding Alba by Katherine Roberts
My publisher had requested the tougher version, which obviously matches the story better. And then of course, Scott's picture of Rhianna (which I pinned to the notice board above my computer) influenced me as I wrote the second, third and fourth books. So, by the end of the series, Rhianna becomes less my romantic vision of her when I started, and more of a real character.

In the end, Prince Elphin was the character who caused the most discussion. He's not human, so he needed a few non-human differences. Scott, upon being told that he (Elphin, not Scott!) was a fairy from the enchanted island of Avalon, promptly drew an elf-like figure complete with what looked like a quiver of arrows on his back, thin features, green clothing, and pointy ears. I balked at the pointy ears, pointing out that Rhianna's "elf prince" played a harp and should probably look a bit more romantic and handsome. So Scott added some lovely dark curls to cover the ears and made the quiver into a harp, leaving just a couple of subtle differences to make Elphin non-human. One of these is his purple eyes, which change colour whenever he gets emotional. The other difference is... can you spot it?

Prince Elphin by Scott Altmann
Those who have heard me talk about these books will know by now that Elphin (like all Avalonians) has six fingers on each hand, all the better to play his harp with. It's surprising how long people can take to spot this, though - everyone looks for the pointy ears first! Tolkien has a lot to answer for.

Prince Elphin by Alzrith

I haven't drawn Elphin myself because I find people difficult and would much rather draw his horse Evenstar. But to finish, here is a lovely romantic version of our prince by Alzrith, whose other colourful artwork can be seen over at deviantart 

(I think there might be an extra finger hidden up that sleeve somewhere...)

Thank you to everyone who has drawn characters from my books. And if you haven't yet, but would like to try, then don't let the unicorn stop you... it can be fun!


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