How to Create an Avatar Character

What pops into mind when you think of the term, avatar? The most general answer would probably be something along the lines of a character used to represent oneself in an online multiplayer role-playing game. Imagine, you; in another world, another realm. With powers and abilities beyond what is possible in our limited real world. However, if you?'re not much of an MMORPG person - whatever the reason may be - this article is for you. For avatar is not merely a game term; your little cartoon doppelganger of sorts can exist in your comic book, fan-fiction or any original or semi-original work you plan on creating.

First a little background on the word; avatar (or avat â ra which in Sanskrit means "descent") is originally a Hindu term relating to, as Wikipedia describes: "deliberate descent from higher spiritual realms to lower realms of existence for special purposes". In other words, a deity who reincarnates into a person of the physical realm for whatever reason.

Essentially your avatar is the fictitious "incarnation" of you; a character you would see yourself as in the realm of your project. This person not only defines who you are but who you wish to be; feasible or not.

And with that squared away, let?'s go onward to the good stuff.

Depending on whether you prefer to write or draw, have a pencil or a pen and some paper handy. Sitting down (or in whatever position you?'re most comfortable in) think about what you want in this character. Ask yourself what you like about your looks, personality, abilities, brainpower and so on. Conversely, consider what you don?'t like about yourself. Keep in within the real world for now; what you do have that you?'d like in the character. And what you don?'t have that you?'d like in the character (I.e. more artistic, brainy, strong etc.).

Once you have that established - and it might take more than one try - you can now plug in more off-the-wall qualities into your avatar. Think of this like a role-playing game (the old pen and paper kind) where you choose a class. Would the qualities of your character fit into being a strong warrior, a powerful black mage, or a kind-hearted healer? Maybe your avatar will have more of a psychic/superhero set of abilities; such as flying, telekinesis or telepathy.

Whichever "class" you choose, don?'t worry too much about uber-refined details. This is for your eyes only, and the actual tweaking will happen later. Right now, just focus on getting those ideas on paper.

With all of the ideas written down in your medium of choice, put the sketches and/or notes away for about a day or so. Just remember where you stash them. After the day has passed, dig them out and look them with fresh eyes. Here?'s where the refining comes in.

Cross out any details you feel were considered haphazardly, and make any changes you deem fit. Keep working on this guy or gal until you have an image or literary description that satisfies you.

Next it?'s time to name the guy or gal; assuming you haven?'t done so already. Only think about first names for now. If you have an anime-style character and want to give it a Japanese name, then go on a search engine and look up something like "List of Japanese Names". What you?'ll get is a treasure trove of information on what the names are and what they mean in English.

You can go by the name meaning or even just something that really appeals to you. Heck, you could even make up a name; especially if it?'s an alien character. That?'s always an interesting little challenge.

Overall, remember that this is ultimately your concept from start to finish. These are just basic guidelines; the rest is up to you.

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