So far I’ve talked a lot about the writing and the plot and how this book is developing. But let’s leave all that behind, for today, and concentrate on characters… Or, to be more specific, how bad I am at drawing them.
Without characters there would be no book and central to this book is Charlie. Without Charlie everything just falls apart (Well no sh…) I’ve mentioned already that Charlie comes from the original version of the book and he played an important part in the plot. Back then he was a journalist who had been imprisoned for five years. I think the original inspiration behind the character was that he was a bit like a young Abbe Faria from the Count of Monte Cristo. At this point he didn’t really have any of the back story he has today and the newspaper he worked for didn’t have a name or any staff working for it. It later gained a man called Lionel but never a name. The newspaper/journalist aspect has been dropped to fit in with the new plot but the whole idea of Charlie being locked away in a prison for many years is still central. In fact, it’s now one of those things you know from the beginning and the whole story builds to the moment where he gets captured and his imprisonment.
The one thing I have been clear on since the beginning, and something that has remained virtually the same though is his appearance. Granted, it’s altered a little with age but he’s still the same basic Charlie as when I created him all those years ago. He’s still got slightly messy black hair and grey eyes, but he’s a bit fuller in terms of his facial features now (Ha ha… A bit fuller… Get it?) The main idea behind the main changes is that he hasn’t spent years in a dark cell and he isn’t as ragged as he once was. For instance his hair, rather than being long, is now normal 1920’s/30’s length- Short and swept back with plenty of shine.
Back when I first created him I tried to draw him and he ended up looking something like this:
As you can see, it’s quite a bad drawing. In fact, it’s terrible. I’ve done my best to try to improve the way it looks (note the vignette) but it’s still dire. For a start it looks like he’s going bald and his hair just doesn’t look real. It looks like a crab claw slicing into his neck. His arms have no end and it looks a bit like he’s got buck teeth. He’s ‘cousin of Neville Longbottom’ rather than Charlie Fuller. The only thing I like about this picture is the fact that he looks a bit tortured. He looks like he’s been through the mill. His face is thin and he’s got a bit of stubble.
Even for early Charlie though, this is not a good representation. To be honest I’ve never been able to draw very well anyway. Just look at the picture above and you’ll see why. One way I’ve found to improve my skills is to use a computer. Hence, we arrive at Charlie MKII- The cheap 1970’s cartoon version:
It’s an improvement… He’s lost the buck teeth and he actually has neck. He’s not balding either which is a plus. The problem with this one is that, apart from the long hair, he doesn’t look like he was imprisoned for years. His face is too round and that nose… Jesus Christ. He could poke an eye out with that. Still… It’s nowhere near as bad as the first picture. This was actually one of my first attempts at drawing with a computer and it’s not too bad all things considered.
But looking at this picture I decided to see if i could improve on it and make Charlie MKII The results, I believe, are mixed. But I’m going to show you anyway. So here’s Charlie MKIIB- The poor quality internet cartoon:
He certainly looks a bit more tortured. He’s paler and the scraggy beard type thing helps him look as if he’s been locked up for a while. His nose is of a healthier length For some reason though Charlie MKIIB looks bigger than MKII despite the fact he occupies the same amount of space. I’m not really sure if he’s better than MKII but I don’t think he’s worse at any rate.
Moving on though, I think that ‘Charlie MKIII’ is the closest possible representation of ‘imprisoned Charlie.’ It’s probably because I didn’t actually ‘draw’ him. I modelled him using a program called ‘FACEGEN’ and the image produced combines the best aspects of MK I and MKII. He’s thin, he looks like he’s been imprisoned. The only issue is that I couldn’t get any realistic stubble/beard on him. But anyway, here is Charlie MKIII- The Floating 3D Head:
The good thing about this version is that he’s even got the grey eyes. If you look carefully enough you can even see that hs cheekbones are very prominent. I actually like this one, personally, even though it has no body. Perhaps it’s because it was modelled rather than drawn.
But all those pictures are of ‘imprisonment Charlie,’ What about young Charlie? As we’ve already seen, i can hardly draw anyway. Drawing adults is difficult enough let alone children. But I did feel the need to draw Charlie before his imprisonment and before he was tortured and not allowed to see the sun for years. So I took MKIII as a base model (because that’s the best of all of them I feel…) and I came up with a new sketch…
And then I got a bit carried away and drew over forty pictures of all sorts of other characters of mine. Some of them were good and some of them were dire but I think almost all were better than Charlie MKI. Some of them I based on my existing character drawings and 3D Models whilst the others were created from scratch.
But rather than just put only Charlie and a few others up i’ve combined them all into one massive poster for your enjoyment. The first four lines are made up of Charlie/Morfasson related characters and the second four are Dark Legend related characters.
Feel free to have a game of ‘snog, marry, avoid’ in the comments below if you like. Personally I wouldn’t touch any of them with a barge pole as I know what becomes of them all.