Tuesday, December 06, 2005

I really need that toy!

Maybe you know how it is, when you're starting on a new project and the first order of business is to visualize that person, your protagonist, in your mind's eye. Sometimes, the image comes to me easily. And other times, the face seems to be veiled in shadows, remaining elusive.

I don't particularly mind stories that are vague on the physical details, as a reader. But sometimes, it helps to have that mental picture to refer to. It keeps you from turning your blue-eyed blonde of 5'1" stature into a towering 5'11" raven-haired model partway through the book. Unless frankensteinien experiments on leg extensions and physical alterations are part of the plot.

So, today, I'm sitting here twiddling my thumbs, rearranging my office (shut up Kevin) because I'm trying to get a mental grip on these faces. And I'm thinking about this toy I had as a kid, with different heads, torsos and legs that you could put together and make an image of a fashion design. Evidentally attempting to teach young girls of the world that tight skirts don't look good with poofy poodle-like sweaters. But I wasn't thinking about the fashion - I'll spare you all the typing, I'm a lost cause - but I was thinking about how great it would be to have a similar toy that just let you put together facial features.

Which had me wondering if I could justify a Mr. Potato Head as a legitimate writing expense.

But then I found this: http://www.dressupgames2.com/facemaker/

So, for free I've been twiddling around with various eye and eyebrow combinations, and killing more time. Now, what I really need is a kick-ass exhaustive program something like this, that lets you play with face shapes and has a bit more selection. And then I'll have posters of all my villains instead of modeling them after my spouse.

So Santa, I've been relatively decent this year, I think. I didn't drink too much at Harrogate and I didn't swear too much at the kids on Halloween. Can I have some new software? Please please please?! Oh, and MAC compatible too, unless you're throwing in for a new computer.


Tsavo Leone said...

If I may...

I'm a child of the Video Age, so whilst I developed a love of reading at an early age I also got to watch some truly kick-ass movies too. So, bearing this in mind, what I've found is that I tend to 'cast' my characters ahead of time. Not only does this help in terms of keeping their appearance realtively constant (should any description be necessary), but I also find that sometimes it helps to inform their movements and speech (which is sometimes more important).

e.g. Giovanni Ribisi (Gone In 60 Seconds): reasonably street-smart computer hacker,

or, Ian Holm (The Fifth Element): slightly bumbling clerical figure.

Sandra Ruttan said...

So you mooch real people or characters from movies? Sometimes I do that, but sometimes i can't quite figure out who looks enough like my person.

Maybe I need to watch more movies! Look out world, my next hero will be a big golden lion!

Thanks tsavo - love seeing people drop by.