View Full Version : Picturing characters

2 February 2002, 05:47 PM
I'm a miserable artist, and I'm really bad at drawing people. But sometimes, I'd really like to give my players a picture of an NPC (or get a 'sketch' of my character). Have any of you less than artistically inclined roleplayers out there come up with any solutions to this problem?

I did manage to find a free utility on the web called Hero Machine (http://www.heromachine.com), but it's primarily designed for fantasy and superhero campaigns, not science fiction. As a result, all the sci-fi characters start to look the same after one or two of them. The upcoming Star Wars Galaxies game is also likely to have a very good system for making characters, but, as I don't plan to play the game, spending $50 for a character image generator seems a bit extreme.

3 February 2002, 02:22 AM
Well, I too am a really bad artist, and I have one solution you might want to check out. What I usually do is surf artist sites. It might take a while, but sooner or later, you'll probably find something to your liking. If you're going to spread this picture around, then I'd get the artists permission to use it, but if its just for you and your friends, I don't think there would be a problem. A good place to start would be Elfwood. (http://elfwood.lysator.liu.se/elfwood.html) There are tons of sci-fi galleries, and quite a few Star Wars fans with drawings in the FanQuarter section. You can do a search, or just look around. Hope this helps.

3 February 2002, 04:06 AM
In addition to Elfwood, there is a large image gallery with various races and SW people at theforce.net, I have found some useful images there. I edit some of the images myself to erase excess hair or clothing, distinguishing marks and so on. The next challenge will probably be to add details, such as lightsabers, as I have two alien Jedi characters.

Anyway, I can usually spend hours looking for good fan images that apply even with the collections in Elfwood and theforce.net. It would really be nice if Wizards would put their SW Gamer Rogues Gallery online the way they do for D&D.

Random Axe
4 February 2002, 07:15 AM
Our group is so non-artistic, we rely on photos of celebrities. Our character sketches are only pictures of actors/acresses from good movies (Sean Bean, Ed Norton, Michael Biehn, a young Natalie Portman, a young Matthew Broderick, Michael Wincott, etc). When I introduce a new NPC, I picture in my head what they guy looks like, then search thru the internet for a likely-looking actor.

4 February 2002, 07:38 AM
another excellent thing to do is rather then draw.. DESCRIBE. descrbie how the char looks, stands, etc

Jarrod Li
4 February 2002, 08:33 AM
Each issue of SW Gamer also has 12 (I think) pictures that fit neatly into the image space on character sheets. There are 8 issues out now, so that should give you a fair amount of images to use.

4 February 2002, 09:04 AM
if you have access to adobe illustrator, you can use existing photos to render (read: copy) the picture and change whatever you like.

not willing to shell the scratch to buy or hack adobe illustrator? adobe photoshop for the PC is on morpheus (i can't remember where) and, with a little practice, you can turn your little brother's school pictures into a gungan, wookie, or jawa.

interesting to note is that both programs will frustrate you to no end and take a lot of practice without manuals and such. i suggest the 'teach yourself' series of computer manuals that covers adobe illustrator or adobe photoshop.

other than that, tracing paper can be had pretty cheaply and using a good pencil you can do all sorts of modifications and then put it on a normal sheet of paper

Rigil Kent
4 February 2002, 10:09 AM
Actually, blitzkrieg, Illustrator isn't really designed for photo manipulation. For that, you need PhotoShop (also by Adobe) or something similar. As a technical illustrator at work, I use both of them (although Illustrator is used FAAAR more often for me.)

I'm fortunate in that one of my players is nothing short of amazing when it comes to being an artist. He's actually been published a couple of times by Steve Jackson Games (GURPS) but has recently fallen behind in drawing. Often I do the same thing that RandomAxe does, however, and use actors for a description. "He looks a little like Rufus Sewell, that British guy from Dark City..." If I'm lucky, Daniel will get off his duff and draw a picture of the character in question...

4 February 2002, 02:28 PM
after rigil_kent's post i think i need to clarify my post.

illustrator can be used for the tracing the pictures and changing them in that manner..photoshop is for altering existing images.

i do both when i need a character sketch, but all my illustrator stuff looks rather cartoonish

sorry for the misunderstanding, hope this clears things up

4 February 2002, 05:11 PM
I'll definitely look into all of the suggestions. I had previously found quite a few fan art sites that I comb through when I need images. I'll have to widen my search to encompass the other suggested sites and actors.

I'm actually fairly proficient in Photoshop. I used it at school (making a Star Wars fan film, incidentally), but then I moved. I'll have to check around at my new school to see if they have photoshop (it's a huge school, so checking with all of the various computers teachers isn't a simple task). Who knows, maybe I'll be able to get some free computer time?

Thanks for all the suggestions, and if anybody has any more ideas, feel free to post 'em.

5 February 2002, 01:43 AM
To respond to Jedi Staalis' requests about picturing characters... I'm a good artist and if you want to, I can sketch some drawings of characters in your game. Either Player or Non-Player-Characters if you like, and all I ask is that you spread the word about me. I look forward to your responses, if any. My Email add: Tessman3@aol.com

Give me a buzz and let me help ya out. I'd love to keep flexing my artistic muscles out, and give you a better time with the role-playing.

8 February 2002, 03:07 PM
im not to shaby at making just abbout everything on a charachtor (as far as i know) exept for my faces leaving a bit to be disired.

if ya like any of the pictures i atached to this post, or you want to have me do a charachtor for you regardless of skill (:D), you can get a hold of me through this forum's mesaging system.

i'd be glad to help in any way that i can :D

oh, one more thing before my pics, this is a link to a really good online tutorial geared mostly towords anime but gives you a really good feel for how to draw charachtors in diferent postions, and clothing, etc.

polykarbon.com (http://www.polykarbon.com/)

i sugest checking it out even if you don't plan on learning how to draw just for the pics :D

8 February 2002, 03:21 PM
sory, i can't seem to get it to put 2 diferent atachments on one message, here is my other pick that actualy has somthing to do with star wars:o

sory, it's sideways to :(

9 February 2002, 07:52 PM
I appreciate the offers to help, but given that I'm always short on time and planning gaming sessions late, I don't think I'd be able to give you enough lead time to get anything done. Thanks for volunteering, though!

10 February 2002, 07:32 AM
well if ya do ever feel like having me sketch somthing out, it takes me a rather non-intensive 2 hours to draw somthing like the jumper pic, and a little while longer to do somthing like the Yennek pic just because of all the stuff in the background (just in case any one was curious, the charactor with the blaster in the cantina is named Hal Yennek, hence the name Yennek:) )

10 February 2002, 08:06 AM
I've often used renderosity.com for pictures, although it's much better for settings than for characters. My brother's an amazing artist and can usually provide what I can't find for myself. His work is at the website below, and he's a desperate drug addict so he'll work cheap! :D