The Image of Characters – What the Reader sees vs. the Writer

Recently, I’ve taken the dive into trying to find a face for the characters in #Wheeler and to be honest, this was much harder than I expected. I’ve lived with these characters for the past three years and I have a clear image in my mind of what they look like.  My super secret Pinterest board has hundreds of pictures of them.

Finding the face for Felix was hard, considering who I had in mind when I wrote the character, actor, Oscar Issacs.

Enter Shutterstock and it’s relatively inexpensive pricing plan.

He’s intense, a little older but still very handsome, exactly the way I saw him.

Loren was harder to find. I wanted her to be a mix of strength and vulnerability and the actress I based her on fit the bill, but of course, I couldn’t use Jessica Biel. Enter Shutterstock again. We had to remove 90% of the model’s freckles, because Loren only has a smattering across her nose, but the likeness was very close to what I wanted.


Graham, on the other hand has been extremely difficult. I was lucky to find an image that kind of looked like the model above, and close to the image I had of Graham in my mind.

Loren and Graham

It’s close but not quite. Every model I find is close, but not quite.  Either he’s too old, too short, too big, the hair isn’t right, too much beard, too little beard. Dark eyes. Too rugged. Too genteel.

What makes it 1,000% harder is who inspired Graham. My Muse. His voice, his hands, his eyes – they haunt me.  I can’t purge him from my mind.

Ah, but then I found THIS GUY.  I contacted the photographer, Alex Halay and had a nice chat about the model, Alexander Litskevich. Sexy, smarmy pirate, indeed.  His look has changed a bit since this series was shot – his hair is a lot longer and brown eyes can be made blue in Photoshop, but the thing that ruins it for me is the man bun.  Again, close, but not quite. Close enough?


2 thoughts on “The Image of Characters – What the Reader sees vs. the Writer

  1. I pictured Loren with curly hair, dark with red highlights. I can’t get past the straight hair.

    I think of Felix as a creep and never saw him as anything but a creepy guy in my head. On thinking about the story I can see the model you choose as Felix.

    Graham – yeah, the man bun ruins it. Isn’t Graham’s hair darker? I think of him with darker hair and blue eyes.

    Liked by 1 person

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