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How Fictional Characters Might Actually Look

This is fascinating. A guy named Brian Davis uses law enforcement composite sketch software to create images of what fictional characters from famous novels might look like.

Users submit characters, with relevant passages that describe those characters, and he creates a composite drawing. And to be honest, it’s eery how closely they resemble the images I have in my head.

Below are some characters from novels relevant to this blog, with passages describing them below each picture.

Daisy Buchanan (The Great Gatsby)

She looks younger than I envisioned, but everything else seems spot on.

Her face was sad and lovely with bright things in it, bright eyes and a bright passionate mouth…a conscientious expression…Slenderly, languidly…an expression of unthoughtful sadness…her cheeks flushed…she looked at me with an absolute smirk on her lovely face as if she had asserted her membership in a rather distinguished secret society…a bright ecstatic smile…Aching, grieving beauty… For Daisy was young and her artificial world was redolent of orchids and pleasant, cheerful snobbery…Girls were swooning backward playfully into men’s arms, even into groups knowing that some one would arrest their falls—but no one swooned backward on Gatsby and no French bob touched Gatsby’s shoulder.

The Finn (Neuromancer)

Why do I get the feeling everyone in Neuromancer had this cold, mindless look?

He looks like a recombo DNA project aimed at tailoring people for high-speed burrowing…The man who stood blinking now in the doorway behind them, the blanket draping one shoulder like a cape, seemed to have been designed in a wind tunnel.  His ears were very small, plastered flat against his narrow skull, and his large front teeth, revealed in something that wasn’t quite a smile, were canted sharply backward.  He wore an ancient tweed jacket and held a handgun of some kind in his left hand.  He peered at them, blinked, and dropped the gun into a jacket pocket.

The Judge (Blood Meridian)

I think I had nightmares about The Judge after reading Blood Meridian, so this sketch just totally undoes me. He has to be one of the most evil characters in literature, and this is EXACTLY how I had him pictured in my head. Freaky.

An enormous man dressed in an oilcloth slicker had entered the tent and removed his hat…He was bald as a stone and he had no trace of beard and he had no brows to his eyes nor lashes to them…He was close on to seven feet in height… His face was serene and strangely childlike…His hands were small.

Humbert Humbert (Lolita)

Humbert Humbert is even creepier than I imagined him. Look at those eyes. If he doesn’t have the look of a guy that just got picked up on an undercover child porn sting, then I’m not sure who does. Ugh.

Gloomy good looks…Clean-cut jaw, muscular hand, deep sonorous voice…broad shoulder…I was, and still am, despite mes malheurs, an exceptionally handsome male; slow-moving, tall, with soft dark hair and a gloomy but all the more seductive cast of demeanor. Exceptional virility often reflects in the subject’s displayable features a sullen and congested something that pertains to what he has to conceal. And this was my case…But instead I am lanky, big-boned, wooly-chested Humbert Humbert, with thick black eyebrows…A cesspoolful of rotting monsters behind his slow boyish smile…aging ape eyes…Humbert’s face might twitch with neuralgia.

Those sketches seriously creep me out because they are so good.

You can check out all of Brian’s sketches on his Tumblr site, The Composites. It’s really amazing stuff, and he was even featured in People Magazine because of it.

Do these sketches match up with your vision of how these characters looked?

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17 Comments Post a comment
  1. Reblogged this on juliusjamesbzozowski and commented:
    This is sooooo cool!

    Like

    March 28, 2012
  2. Fascinating! Sadly, of those mentioned, the only character I’m familiar with is Daisy Buchanan, but her drawing corresponds uncannily accurately to my image of her. Seems there’s quite a bit of truth to judging a “book” by its cover, though, huh?

    Like

    March 28, 2012
  3. Oh, no! Humbert Humbert resembles someone I know!

    Like

    March 28, 2012
  4. Jillian ♣ #

    Really cool! Thanks for sharing!

    Like

    March 28, 2012
  5. Matt #

    Wow. You are so right about The Judge. Totally looks like the guy I had in mind in the book.

    Like

    March 28, 2012
  6. James Bond looks like me.

    Like

    March 28, 2012
    • I can see the resemblance….but wouldn’t “you look like James Bond?” Ha.

      Like

      March 28, 2012
  7. Shem the Penman #

    I’ve been told I’m a dead ringer for Ivan Karamazov.

    Like

    March 28, 2012
  8. Quite the brilliant concept – I hope he does Lassie.

    Like

    March 28, 2012
  9. For some reason I always pictured the Judge looking like a massive version of Christopher Lloyd with a shaved head. Bizarre, I know. Now I’m slightly creeped out every time Back to the Future comes on TV.

    Like

    March 28, 2012
    • Now that is a little bizarre. But I picture him much bulkier than that. Lloyd was a skinny dude.

      Like

      March 28, 2012
  10. Bizarre !

    Like

    March 28, 2012
  11. Really interesting, but a complete miss for me with The Finn: too young, too nice, not the least bit sinister.

    Like

    March 29, 2012
  12. Thank you for this. I still believe that the mind is the most entertaining stage. I avoid film versions of books for the most part as well. The minds view of a book is a fragile thing and while memories are precious to me, they can be altered when thinking back. Rarely for the better in my opinion. It is not that I boast a wonderful mind, but we all have books that we cherish, because of the way we imagined them. When we actually see something – the house the book was based on, the movie, the play, it superimposes and limits the minds view of the book. I think the work on the faces are wonderful and an ingenious way of visualising our heros and villans, but personally will continue to just read on and imagine.

    Like

    April 6, 2012
  13. Reblogged this on bookgirl1987thoughts.

    Like

    April 24, 2012

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  1. What I’ve Been Reading March 28: the Blog edition | amandatheatheist
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