If any of you are following the blog of my friend and editor Hillary, you’ll have noticed her recent post where she went wild on an Anime portrait generator. Now, I am not particularly obsessive about creating portraits for my characters, but I do like the overall look of anime, and there is something inherently pleasing about pissing about with mouths, eyes, clothes and – best of all – hairstyles, so I had a go as well.

Before I show you the result, however, I must mention that I possess some excellent portraits of all my main characters, which I commissioned from an extremely talented Norwegian artist called Linn Standal. You can check out her art on deviantart, tumblr or visit her portrait adoption page.

Linn is an old friend from my Elfquest fanholt days, and if you find a portrait on any of her sites of a handsome dark lad called Rock – that was one of my characters. She has so far done three stunning portraits for me, with a fourth one hopefully on the way soon, and the portrait of Zash and Rin in particular is one of my most prized possessions. Unfortunately you will have to take my word for it, because I’m not going to post up a copy. Nothing on the internet is safe, and these were personal commissions.

Anyway, over to my anime character portraits!

On the left we have my protagonist for The Ritual, and to the right her twin sister. I tried to make Rin look a little feisty, a litle challenging, and luckily the generator had the right colour of blood red available for the hair. Her hair is probably a little longer than it should be for it to be accurate at the time of The Ritual, but it’ll do. It’s straight, at least. Apart from that we have the chocolate brown eyes, and she’s complete. Shani has exactly the same face and eyes, since they’re identical twins, but it’s nice to see how much difference a haircut makes! The braid is neither thick enough nor long enough, but it was all the programme had, alas.

Of course, The Ritual features another set of identical twins, and these two deliberately look as much alike as possible. What to do? Two identical pictures? Well, almost…

Zash is the moody, grumpy one, while Mior is more carefree, so different mouths! I also seem to have inadvertently given Mior lighter skin. They should both be as tanned as each other, but too late now.

That’s it for book one – it had a very small cast of characters anyway, and I’ve not felt the need to create any of the other ones. Onwards to book two!

I’m pretty happy with how Sita turned out. Pale as a courtier, big green eyes, lovely curly blond hair and a fancy lilac dress. She looks wonderfully innocent just before she cuts your throat. And then Kai… Ahh, sweet, sweet Kai. The hair is pretty much perfect – the great thing about anime is that they’re all about hair in the eyes, which is exactly where Kai’s hair is. Good cheesy grin too. He’s just as adorable as I want him to be.

The Conspiracy did have some additional characters that I wanted to create, starting with Miri and Tio. Both again very court-pale, and I have to admit that I don’t actually remember whether I ever mentioned Miri’s eye colour. Maybe someone will point out to me that I said they were green, or brown, or even grey, God knows. The hair is great though, as is the expression.

Tio I’m also pretty pleased with – the hair could do with being more golden, but that’s minor. He’s got a big elfy hairdo and a ‘hey, don’t you like me?’ grin, which suits him very well.

Next up, Thiro and the queen. In reality (well… you know what I mean) Thiro probably looks quite alike to Zash, but I’ve already got two Zashes, essentially, so I took a slightly different approach with Thiro. Still the shoulderlong black hair, but a bit mellower. He almost looks stoned, actually, but it kinda works for him. And if you think that Thiro is too minor a character to feature, he’ll reappear in my imminent book.

Tima is good – big elfy hair, slightly stern demeanour, nice complicated dress. Very queen-like.

And then, of course, there’s Nayev.

NayevI went all-out for Nayev, and frankly, it’s still not enough. Just imagine more feathers, more clothes in the wardrobe behind him, bigger hair probably. Certainly longer hair, but that wasn’t available.

Lastly, there’s the main characters for my upcoming novel, The Coup.

Miko posed a big problem, since he has a lock of stark white hair on his forehead, and the rest is black. I couldn’t recreate that, hence the white ponytail. He’s pissed off about it, hence the grumpy face. Miko does grumpy very well, but you’ll find that out soon enough when you read the book (hint hint!).

Aya is… plain. And I totally forgot to pick a different shirt for her. That aside, she’s actually pretty damn perfect. I like Aya.

And that’s the extent of my character creation. It killed an evening, that’s for sure!


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