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Seeing is Believing
I’m a very visual person. And while having a strong imagination involves being able to clearly picture things in my mind, having visual aids is gasoline on the fire for me. Not long after I started my Dragons of Dorwine fantasy series I started creating minis that represented the characters from my books. These minis helped solidify my characters in my mind and freed me to make more vivid descriptions.
Here is an article on Making Minis for Your Book Characters that explains the process I take to get the files I use printed.
Writing sites and courses suggest filling out lone character interviews for
character development. Those are useful, but once I have the physical details down in print, they slip my mind. I still use a chart like this (one that I found is 26 pages long!) to keep track of personality quirks and the like, but like to design in HeroForge.
Next, I choose the race, the features, the clothing, the weapons, and even the pose they are in. I like to pose my minis in several ways, saving each as a separate file.
Finally, I color them. This part really gets my creative juices flowing. I always end up adding a feature I hadn’t planned on. For Anuka, it was his teeth. I didn’t want him to have nasty goblin teeth. So I picked some perfect ones and loved the look. This is where his fetish for teeth came from and it’s a huge part of his character.
Even before I buy the STL file and print the minis, I use the Windows Snipping Tool to grab a screenshot of each mini in their various poses. I print these out and post them up in my workspace. When I lean back to consider a scene, they are staring down at me.
I can close my eyes and imagine them in a heated sword fight or leaping to from the deck of a flaming ship. This method is also great for spatial design. The size difference between my tiny goblin and massive Triton is more clear in my mind.
Printing and Painting
I have articles on both printing and painting, so I will just touch on them here. While I don’t have a lot of time (my kids do most of my mini painting) I try to be as hands on as I can. Actually holding the minis in my hand trigger a lot of creativity. I think of questions I otherwise might not. What does Anuka’s fabled dagger look like? Because of the first mini I printed, it changed from more of a Kris to a stiletto type dagger.
Crenthys was the most fun as her figure changes drastically from book to book. (IYKYK). If you don’t know, then RAFO. The Dragons of Dorwine Series.
Not everyone needs to do this, but it’s a great help to me. Designing helps my writing. Printing and painting are cathartic. And I end up with something cool to look at.
PSA: None of the sites I use allow me to sell the characters I print. Until my Blender skills get WAY better, it’s something I have to live with. I have given them away at signings and such and people love them!
A few people have asked what paints and brushes I use. I’ll link them below.
I started with a set of Citadel paints because I got a great deal on them. They were made for Warhammer and aren’t perfect. You can get a set similar here Warhammer Paint Set. I am falling for Army Painter paints, however. They are a little thinner, I think, and go on better.
I use every gnarly little brush I can get my hands on, but I do have a set I like. About $17 on Amazon.
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