The Benefits of Drawing Your Character

elf visual aid for creating a backstory

This may not apply to those of you who are lacking in some artistic skill, but drawing your character before, during, or after creation can be hugely beneficial to your Dungeons and Dragons experience. Let’s go over exactly just how this can aid you in these endeavors.

  • It will give you a solid visual perspective
  • Allows you to connect with your character
  • Gives you a direction for your character’s development
  • You will be able to flush out more detailed personality traits
  • Could inspire back story ideas for other characters

Drawing Your Character Gives You A Solid Visual Perspective

colored pencils for drawing a dungeons and dragons character

With every stroke of your pen, brush, or pencil you will bring your character to life. Your imagination will brim forth and give you a clear vision of your character, all the way down to the finest details. As you put your character’s image on paper, you will engrave their appearance in your mind. As you gain clarity in the visage of your character, you will gain other benefits to your experience.

Gives You A Deep and Strong Connection With Your Character

As you sketch your character, solidifying its image, you grow closer to attaining that character, not just in body, but in mind and spirit. While your drawing your character up, try and imagine what they are. What are their fears? What motivates them? What are they trying to achieve and why? How do they sound? What’s happened to them in the past? Do they have any aspirations for the future? How do they approach situations? Are they clever and like to have an angle? Or do they prefer a more direct approach?

As you find the answers to these questions, try to instill them into the art. Are they battle-hardened? Then give them scowl lines with a thick brow and broad shoulders. Are they someone who condones themselves with poise and elegance? Give them feminine, defined cheek bones and give them a proper, relaxed posture to their back and shoulders. Through this practice, you can gain important insights into the soul of your character.

You Gain Direction For Your Character’s Development

As you can imagine, as your character is pieced together before your eyes, and you’ve envisioned who and what they are both inside and out, you will also begin to see the road ahead for them unfurl. You will gain clarity from where your character currently is, to where you want that character to be later in the campaign. You may have a character with a troubled path, wrought with crimes and deceit in order to survive. Now that they have turned from their old way of life, they yearn for redemption. Or perhaps, they have grown to harbor an even greater ambition, driving them to use what they have learned to get ahead and claim fame and power.

As you learn this, be sure you talk with your Dungeon Master to help clarify the path you want your character to take and they can help find a good way to work that into the campaign. You don’t need to discuss this with the Dungeon Master if you don’t want to, just know that the story may not go in the direction you want if you choose not to.

You Will Flush Out Deeper Personality Traits

When your final product comes to fruition, you will have thought about your character’s inner workings a lot. What makes them tick, bend, and break. This can help bring to surface a lot of personality from your character as well. How do they conduct themselves in conversation? Do they tend to laugh a lot and be lighthearted? Are they stern and take things too seriously?  Do they feel threatened easily? Are they intelligent, articulate and analyzing? Or do they tend to be a bit daft? Flushing out these personality quirks, odds, and ends will help you to step into your characters shoes more fluidly when roleplaying on the fly. Believe me, you’ll need it.

You May Find Inspiration For Other Character Backgrounds

female character fighting a dragon

While drawing you character, you may actually gain inspiration for other characters. Maybe there is something that you drew in this character that you didn’t particularly like. Perhaps this detail would fit better in something else. Then it hits you! Whatever it is, wright it down and try to come back to it later. If you are new to Dungeons and Dragons, I would say it’s rare to become very attached to your first character. Your first should always be an experiment, to reveal to yourself how you like to play and roleplay.

Take inspirations from your first, second, third and so on characters and implement the things you like while discarding what you don’t. You may end up finding your ultimate character. The one you default to without hesitation. By drawing out your characters, you will be able to look back and gain inspiration for your next creation. Keep building and find what works best for you.

Thank you all so much for reading. If there is anything you have to add, please feel free to leave a comment below. Don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter for more articles, tips, and tricks. Happy sketching!

Author: Ven’Orik (Zach)

I’m just a regular nerd with a passion for storytelling and fantasy. Growing up I read books by Tolkein and C.S. Lewis, and this solidified my love for the genre. I first started playing D&D when I was 13 and have been pursuing it since. I’m just here to share my knowledge and hopefully learn a thing or two from all of you as well!