Character portraits are so freaking important! Whether for NPCs and PCs, or characters in your novel, being able to see and refer back to character portraits is invaluable. It helps you get a sense of who they are, how others might view them. And whether you’re running your own D&D game, or making a tabletop game to see, a picture is worth a thousand words when it comes to showing off main characters in the plot. But here’s the clincher. I can’t draw. Like, not even stick figures. And there’s a limit to how much time I’m willing to spend searching through art and photos for that exact face I’m imagining in my head…
…so imagine how excited I was when Portrait Workshop approached us!
Just a few of the character portraits from the Portrait Workshop app
Portrait Workshop – Character Portraits at your fingertips
Portrait Workshop is a mobile app that helps you create customized character portraits easily and quickly. You can bring your characters to life in less than a minute… and with no art skills required!
The cool thing about Portrait Workshop is that it’s not a simple, static library of pre-drawn character portraits. Instead, YOU can create your own unique portraits, using professionally hand-illustrated assets. They’ve got weapons, armor, gear, clothing, and facial features, and you can make a million portraits without seeing the person twice. Perfect for the artistically challenged among us, like me!
The interface is really straight forward, and it’s quick and easy to use. Start by choosing your character’s traits (age, gender, race, class, and “beauty”), and multiple portraits appear. Then the real fun begins. Choose one closest to your vision, and fine-tune it until it matches the character you see in your mind’s eye.
World Anvil and Portrait Workshop?
We’re always on the lookout for awesome things to make our worldbuilders’ lives easier! So to start with, we want to make it possible to export from Portrait Workshop DIRECTLY into your World Anvil pages! You’ll be able to knock up a character portrait in a few minutes, then send it directly to a character page or Heroes profile – World Anvil’s character manager. Oh, and you know you can now make UNLIMITED HEROES on World Anvil, right?
Where can I use these character portraits?
I asked Darren Giles, the big brain behind Portrait Workshop, about accreditation and rights, and here’s the TL;DR. If you’re creating your own material and not selling it, you can use these character portraits ANYWHERE! Awesome, right? If you ARE selling your materials, they also have a license (at a very reasonable cost!) for those who want to use these character portraits in their tabletop games, novels or other products. This means that Portrait Workshop is going to be a very cost-effective solution to creating character art for publications! Perfect for indie creators who want an attractive, flexible and uniform art style!
Alright, sounds great. How much is Portrait Workshop, anyway?
Portrait Workshop is in Kickstarter right now, and you can check it out here. They’ve already built alpha versions of the iOS and Android app. The Kickstarter is to help fund the remaining art assets and the final costs for launching the app. Once it’s launched, the app itself will be free, and you’ll be able to buy the character assets you need for your own character portraits. By backing the Kickstarter, though, you can get early access, special assets, and detailed customization, color control and high def! So go check it out!
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Very cool idea
What about hiring a freelance artists who learned their craft. You can pick an artist by choosing their portfolios to see their styles. As an artist I don’t like the idea of apps doing the job of a creative person.
Having discussed this with many artists. It’s a great prototyping tool for an artist and their customers also … who do you think creates the actual elements? I am guessing artists 🙂
Just to clarify, I have an amazing array of artists like Grise, and Caeora which I use for my setting but… when you have possibly hundreds of NPCs for a game you cannot reasonably ask people to commission every single one of them 🙂 And finally, there are many people that will never be able to afford even the lowest of commissions.