How to Write a Character Sketch?

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How to Write a Character Sketch

Every one of us has at least one favourite character from the novels we love. But we often find it difficult to summarize our favourite character within a few words. The character seems larger than life and words never seem enough to portray them fully. A character sketch simply summarizes the key personality traits, background, behaviour and nature of a particular character. This summarising of characters, known as a character sketch is quite important, especially if you are pursuing a degree in English or want to make a career in creative writing. Learning how to write a brilliant character sketch might also come in handy for English proficiency tests such as TOEFL or IELTS. So, if you are wondering how to write a character sketch, this blog brings you the essential features, tips and examples you need to curate an amazing one!

Meaning of Character Sketch

How to Write a Character Sketch
How to Write a Character Sketch?

A character sketch or a character analysis is a description that introduces the reader to a particular character. It includes physical descriptions, personality traits, habits, strengths, weaknesses, history amongst other things of the particular character. In short, it is a piece of text that can give a brief overview of a particular person or character to a reader. Getting an idea of how to write a character sketch greatly helps in sharpening your observational skills. Practising a character sketch enables you to improve your summarizing skills, which benefit you in various exams. Also, it is one of the necessary skills for a person intending to pursue a career in creative writing, English literature or even teaching.

How to Write a Character Sketch?

A character sketch can be written about any character in a novel or a story, a famous person in history, or even of a person you know. It introduces the reader to a particular character while providing a swift and precise overview of all their attributes. Below are some points that will guide you in writing a character sketch:

  • Research about the Character: To begin with, jot down their physical characteristics, personality features, emotions etc., which would give a general idea of what includes the most important traits of the character that needs to be focussed on.
  • Create a descriptive snapshot of the character: The best character sketches are detailed to include specific important traits, but you should avoid making it seem like a full history of the character. Start with making a rough draft initially, then re-read and revise it till it attains a satisfactory standard. Proofreading your character sketch is necessary to avoid any possible errors.
  • Use short, crisp sentences: While writing it is essential to remember that the character sketch aims to introduce the reader to the character, to provide an understanding of the character’s personality. The character sketch should help the reader easily form a visualisation of the character when reading the character sketch.

Character Sketch Format

Knowing the most necessary parts of a character sketch is essential. Observing an individual’s physical features as well as overall personality characteristics is crucial to sketch out their character on paper.

Here is the format of the character sketch:

  • Personality Traits: It is important to define your character’s personality and physical traits in detail to help the reader visualise how they look, behave, talk and act.
  • Add a Back Story or their Background: To give more depth to your character sketch, you can also inquire about what their story is, any particular thing that they always mention about their past or their overall background so that the reader is able to better relate with the character. Adding a back story can further give more allure to your character as you will go beyond how they look or their personality traits.
  • How they Changed or Evolved over the Years: If you are writing a character sketch of someone you have known for a long time or a character you have read from a novel or short story, then you must also include their evolution and development over time. Mention how they have evolved as a person, what major changes you have noticed about them or how they see the world now as compared to before.
  • How they Talk and Act Around People: Observing someone, you must always analyse how they act around other people, whether acquaintances or strangers. You can also write about how the person talks about something they are passionate about or even their perspective at life. This is another way to write an excellent character sketch that will bring any simple character to life!
  • Their Impact on You or Those Around Them: Another way to make a loveable character is to intensify the effect they have on people and even your own self. Observe how the person behaves with others, whether they are sincere, honest or people-pleasing, these characteristics will further make your character sketch even more human and interesting one to read.

Tips to Write a Character Sketch

Now that you have got a general idea about how to write a character sketch, mentioned below are some tips you can glance through to enhance your writing and observational skills for the same:

  • Focus on both the physical and non-physical features of the character.
  • Use words that help in the visualisation of the character.
  • The description should be well structured, clear, and concise.
  • The character sketch should provide a total outline of the attributes of the particular character. It should be written in a way that it answers all the questions that the reader might have regarding a character.

Best Character Sketch Examples

To further explain how to write a character sketch, here is an example of the character sketch of Anne Frank, the youthful writer of the famed “The Diary of a Young Girl”:

Anne, the author of the diary, is a thirteen-year-old feisty girl who is more confident in writing down her thoughts in her diary than sharing it with people. While being quite close to her father, she shares an emotionally distant relationship with her mother. Over the course of the diary, she grows from an innocent, stubborn, and somewhat spiteful girl to a more politically conscious, self-aware, and introspective girl of 15 years. She tries to keep an optimistic attitude even in the concentration camp she is moved to, where she dies before reaching the age of sixteen.  Anne was a strong-willed and spirited girl, who struggled to keep her optimism alive even in the face of grave fear and danger.

Courtesy: Mrsgehres

Character Sketch of a Teacher Example

The most simple way to learn how to write a character sketch is to pick someone you look up to and then create their character sketch. So, here is an example of a character sketch of a teacher:

It was the first day of 7th grade when Miss Neetu Singh entered our classroom. She introduced herself and told us that she will be teaching English to the class. She was a fair woman with big glasses, long hair and always wore ethnic attire. Before starting any lesson that day and hurrying towards completing the syllabus, she simply asked everyone to introduce themselves. Miss Singh brought us many engaging games to learn the grammar basics and further helped us understand each and every chapter with perfection. Even with the timidest of us, she was patient and understanding and taught us to honour the learning process. She convinced our principal for field trips to many literary plays and introduced us to many popular writers and poets that went even beyond our curriculum. She remained the favourite teacher of 7th grade and the whole school and there was not a single class of ours that wasn’t filled with interactive and fun learning.

Example Character Sketch of Best Friend

My friend Akanksha Guliani has been my real support through every thick and thin in life. After being friends with her for the past 17 years, I am so thrilled today when I received the news of her getting married. I still remember the first day when I saw her in class, she was sitting on the second bench wearing glasses and was adjusting her curls behind the ear. She had a round face with a cheeky nose and hazel brown eyes. She was a happy-go-lucky girl and always seemed helpful. Back then she was taller than me as she had thin legs from which even the school socks used to fall down. On the very first day, we sat together and realized how amazingly we clicked with each other. She became my best friend in the class in no time. Being a new entry into the school, her chirpiness helped her in becoming a dear friend of the entire class. Her eagerness to help everyone out with studies made her the go-to person in the class. I feel lucky to have such a wholehearted person as my best friend. 

Character Sketch of Neighbour

My neighbour, Mr Sharma is a gem of a person and is recognized as the heart of the entire society. The Sharma family has been living adjacent to us since the last 6 years and now they have become more of a family. Unlike the other uncles of the locality which used to scold us for being naughty, Mr Sharma was always supportive of our naughty deeds. I remember when he caught our ball and I encountered him for the first time. His bold moustaches along with spectacles were enough to scare me but as I approached him, he started giggling like us! I was shocked to see a well dressed, 6 feet long man with a nice hat laughing like a child. From that day onwards, Mr Sharma became the eldest member of our group. He used to spend Sunday afternoons with us by playing cricket in the ground. His jolly nature and wise thoughts always equipped us with valuable insights into life in the most fun manner. It wouldn’t be wrong to call him the glue that binds us all together!

Character Sketch of a Fictional Character

Raghu is a 12 year old boy who lives in a small village of Uttar Pradesh. He seems a little small or rather scrawny for his age. He has thick brown curly hair that closely resembles a broom and his thinness makes him coincide with the stick of broom. The locals often make fun office appearances. On the other hand, the adults never leave an opportunity to call him a weakling because he never speaks up for himself. Well the reality seems to differ a little as Raghu is one of the most gentle children in the village. Unlike the ones who enjoy their time in picking each other’s leg, he mostly approaches farm animals and spends his day with them. He is the only child in the village who can approach any five animals without scaring them. The animals get comforted by his smooth touch and come boys instead of the loudness of the other villagers.

Character Sketch Assignments

Here are some character sketch worksheets you can practice with:

Character Sketch Worksheet 1

Character Sketch Worksheet 2

Character Sketch Worksheet
Courtesy: Pinterest

Character Worksheet 3

Character Sketch Worksheet
Courtesy: Storyboard That

Character Sketch Worksheet 4

Character Sketch Worksheet
Courtesy: Pinterest

FAQs

How do you write a character sketch?

To write an amazing character sketch, you must include the following:
1. Physical Characteristics
2. What does your character do?
3. How do you got to know them?
4. Any personal encounter that you had with the character to understand them better.
5. How is the character by nature?
Show instead of telling these characteristics and you will write one of the best character sketches!

What does a character sketch mean?

A character sketch simply means a description or analysis of a certain character telling the reader about their physical appearance, personality traits, habits, strengths, weaknesses, history amongst others.

What information should be in a character sketch?

Here are the necessary elements that should be in a character sketch:
1. Physical Characteristics
2. Personality Traits
3. A back story or how the writer got to know about the character.
4. What the character wants or aspires to be
5. How they talk or treat others
6. How they evolved with time
7. Habits/Strengths/Weaknesses that can tell the reader a bit more about the character

What is the purpose of a character sketch?

A character sketch has a certain purpose for both the writer and the reader. For the writer, a character sketch can help them define how the character is like and how he/she evolves or develops throughout the story while for the reader, it can provide them with a brief idea of the character.

We hope you found this guide on how to write a character sketch useful and informative. Be sure to practice working on writing character sketches regularly to brush up your skills for competitive exams or academics in general. Are you planning to undertake a standardised English proficiency test soon?  Leverage Live offers exclusive online classes and study material by the best-in-class experts and mentors to help you ace your chosen English proficiency test! Sign up today for a demo session and we will guide you in achieving your dream score!

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2 comments
  1. It’a a wonderful n very helpful article in this regard. I m very glad to read n understand through it. Thank you vety very much.

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