Friday, 13 July 2007

Picturing a character...

I find it helps when creating a character if I can find a photograph that looks like him or her. I don't start with a photo, but once I know what the character is like, I can recognise a picture of him.

(In case this sounds terribly amateurish, I'll just drop in that Jane Austen used to do the same when she was looking at portrait paintings).

This photo is of an African dictator. The website I got it from has now vanished, so if you know who he is, please let me know. It's really bugging me. I used this photo for my villain, Carl of Thrales. I don't see him as a black man, but the expression is spot on. This is how I describe him;

'Carl was in his mid-twenties, and had inherited his kingdom six months ago on the death of his father; he had an air of sleek confidence, lolling as he was on his ornate gilded throne. A smooth face, a slight curve of the mouth and arched eyebrows gave him a calm superior air. Mouth and eyes, looked at separately, seemed to be smiling; taken together they were not'.
N.B. Thanks to Roger Williams, (see his blog Dictators of the World) I now know that the photo is of Joseph Kabila.


  1. I thought it might be a young Charles Taylor.

  2. Hi, Lexi:

    Your dictator in question is Congolese (Kinshasa, not Brazzaville) strongman Joseph Kabila.