What is characterisation?

Characterisation is a method of describing and introducing the character to the audience by the writer or director. It is the conception of creating a character for a narrative and contains literary elements. There are two types of characterisation and they are either directly or indirectly.

  • Direct characterisation means what the author tells you about the character. For instance: “Tom is very strong.”
  • Indirect characterisation means what the author shows you something about the character through describing their actions or what they said etc. For instance : ” Tom is carrying five heavy boxes with him.”

Conflict can either be Internal or external.

  • Internal conflict means the mental struggle which happen to the character.
  • External conflict means the struggle which happen maybe between a character with another character or an event.

Styling is very important as it will help the actors to get into the character. When we look at the script and design a character, we need to consider the character’s:

  • Words (Speech)
  • Thoughts
  • Actions
  • Background
  • Personality
  • Relationships
  • Motivations
  • Capacities
  • Writer descriptions

On below, I have created two spider diagram about what we need to consider when designing a character. On the first spider diagram, I have focused on developing on the character.



  • Age – Young, Old?
  • Occupations/ Career
  • The way they speak? – Loud? Talkative? Quiet? Accent?
  • Relationships – Friends? Family? Partner? – what kind of people he/ she gets along
  • Name – Gender, nickname, nationality
  • Gender
  • Incidents happened him/ her
  • Religious – Strong belief?
  • Food habits – Vegan?
  • Daily habits- thoughts, lifestyle
  • Social class/ wealth?
  • Perceptions- what is important to them?
  • Disability?
  • Personality
  • Actions -Body Language?
  • Lifestyle choices – Like traveling? Alcoholic? Music Taste? What he/ she use?
  • Culture- where he/ she lives? Accent?
  • Interest & hobbies
  • Background
  • Body art – Tattoos?

On the second spider diagram, I have focused on looking at the appearance of the character.



  • Gender
  • Accessories – Fashionable? Marriage? Wealth?
  • Age- Old? Young?- Can look at their skin conditions as well
  • Nails – Colors? Bite their nails?- habits
  • Skin tone- Nationality? Suntan – Fake? Go on holiday? Beauty? Wealth- Historical (for instance: Elizabethans, alabaster white means wealth)
  • Social class/ wealth – Jewelleries
  • Body Hair or hairstyle – Well groom? Beard? (Period and fashion) Style? Accessories?Color?
  • Body shape?
  • Job title – Clothing
  • Disability
  • Teeth – Braces? Missing teeth?
  • Style – dress code? Hair? Accessories? Piercings? Body Art -Tattoos, etc – culture?
  • Wearing glasses?
  • Make-up – Period? Show their character? For special events?
  • Religious? – Clothing

Through the two spider diagrams from above, it helps me to understand more about how and what I should decide and think of when I design for a character. By looking at details of the character on the script, it gives me understanding about the character’s background, appearance, personality, etc, which do help a lot when developing the characters’ styles.


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