After countless sketches using faceless figures vaguely making random gestures, I've finally got faces matched to personalities.
The only real time I've seen that sort of thing done is when my friend Geoff created a small comic book at RISD.
I learned a lot from this whole process. I found myself trying to look at each character and to express their personalities through their facial features and clothing/hair styles.
The first one I started with was Gen just because with him as the narrator's voice makes me feel a little closer to him. In the plot of the story, Gen is kindof in love with Kai, in a boyish way, but in the end, he's more comfortable living the neolithic life style. The sense of security and habit gives him comfort. So even though he's living out there in the woods, I wanted to give him something that was a little more linked to the "suburban lifestyle:" the button down shirt. His hair I didn't want too crazy either, to fit those same ideas.
Kai was kind of the anti that, so instead, I wanted him to just have the unhindered t-shirt and the semi dread hawk hair.
These were important decisions, but I found the one where I was really trying to be deliberate was in Oliana. Unlike Kai and Gen, her voice isn't heard that much except for when she asks Kai why he's leaving, so it's really important that her personality get expressed through her appearance and her actions. So in this, I ended up thinking about her hair a lot. I wanted her to be in touch with her feminine side, but, also, obviously, she lives in the woods, so she had to show a bit of tom boyness in it. The result is that kind of long, but tied up look. Same sort of thing went for her tank top.
The whole process was new to me, and I realized I have some issues with anatomy of the female torso. I guess I'm just used to seeing my own sort of frame in the mirror, but I think figuring out the size of the shoulders/rib cage is a whole different process between the genders. Hep. whatever.