Characters’ Faces And Picturing Them In Your Mind

You know how people all over Goodreads, the book blogging community, and anyone on the Internet who reads books for leisure always have their own perception on how a character–especially one who isn’t given an illustration by the author/publisher themselves–looks?

Well I’m not one of those people.

In fact, I don’t really think about the description given by the author too much. I simply take note of hair color or clothes and imagine them like this:


You might think “Is your imagination drunk while reading?” Well, good sir, it might possibly be.

It’s usually when I’m finished reading when I go to the Internet and see fanarts or, in the case of Wattpad back when I was active there and Youtube, celebrities who are perfect for a hypothetical movie adaptation of the book. I would see how others imagined, say, Katniss Everdeen before we had Jennifer Lawrence and give silent commentaries like, “Oh that’s good” or “Nah, it’s too far from how I thought of Katniss”. But throughout reading the book, I imagine people with blurred faces interacting with each other.

So how, then, do I get the feel of the story if I’m only imagining blurred people? Well, I rely quite heavily on their personalities. Their very characteristics.

For instance, when I read Anna and the French Kiss for the first time, I imagined Etienne St. Clair to be this tiny, mischievous-looking guy with gorgeous hair. While reading The Knife of Never Letting Go, I imagine Todd to be this thin thirteen-year-old who are well onto puberty and Viola with a blunt bob. (And Manchee is this furry mutt that I’m not afraid of approaching*)

There are very few novels that are exceptions to this kind of imagining while reading. Because I watched the movie adaptation of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone first, I simply imagined young Dan, Rupert and Emma when I read the book.

What I have here is an example of what I would like to call a “reading quirk”. Something quirky that you do while reading. And it is, of course, simply a matter of choice and perspective and the individual doing the reading. That’s what I like most about reading books. We are given this freedom to do whatever we want with a group of bound papers or one readable file in the computer and project the story freely in our own mental movie theater.

* I had a traumatic experience with dogs as a kid

SO! How do you picture characters’ faces? Do you have some reading quirks of your own? Let’s discuss!2016 discussion challenge


11 thoughts on “Characters’ Faces And Picturing Them In Your Mind

  1. I usually imagine a rough version of what character look like as I read but when I consciously try and concentrate on what a character looks like their face definitely dissolves into a blur. I’ve also noticed that I imagine on some weird plane that’s between animation and live-action lol
    Again, when I try and concentrate to see if I’m imagining a character with animated/painted features or as if they were a real person in a live action film, I just completely lose the images in my head!

    I’m the same way with Harry potter though. Once I saw the first movie I just aged the actors up as I read the books. I think once I see a movie it’s hard for me to get rid of that image in my head as I read (unless it was just an awful representation of the characters like in Eragon).

    – Kritika @ Snowflakes & Spider silk

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Haha, I’m the same with the blurry faces. I always have to attach it to a celebrity or just keep it vague. When there’s a movie adaptation, I can’t help but picture the movie version of the characters, even if the description is off 😛

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Wow. I can’t really get into a book if I can’t picture the characters. I can’t get the mental movie theater in my head if I can see the characters. It cool to read about how others get into books.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Oh my gosh I’m not alone! Except sometimes I don’t even picture their bodies at all. All I see is the scenery, and I KNOW people are SUPPOSED to be there, but they’re just not. My mind refuses to supply me with details. 😛 (And I’m an author! XD)


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