8 Steps to Personify a Virtue and Build a Dynamic Fantasy Character: Robin C. Grant M.Ed. 

It has always been my desire to create art that is not only beautiful to look at, but has meaning behind it.  “A picture is worth a thousand words” is a true statement. A well-constructed image, and or series of images, can be teachers in their own right transcending words and touching us deeply at our core. The notion of “Virtue”, and how we embody and express this idea in our everyday life, has been a life-long preoccupation.  Art making has been a gift and a blessing for me in the expression of this burning passion. 

I have always loved the human form, and my earliest memories, as a toddler, I would draw people on the walls with crayons. I never stopped.  
Figures that embody virtues are as old as time, in sculptures and paintings of the great heroes of Greek mythology, to paintings of the saints hanging in churches, to the modern day super-hero in comics and movies. All point to an ideal, that for so long, we have forgotten we already possess: the truth of our divinity within.  That has always been and will always be. This is the foundation of our N-1 Characters and our mission to use them as ambassadors of this truth; that we may know ourselves truly as divine beings. 

1. Start with a Virtue

Most spiritual traditions, at their core, speak of similar virtuous ideas, such as love, peace, justice, truth, and patience, and the list goes on. Choose what inspires you! For this blog post, we will use the virtue of Justice, as our example.

2. Define the Idea

What does justice really mean anyway? The dictionary is a great place to start mining the gold of an idea. Words and definitions begin to paint a picture in the mind.

3. Find Examples in History and Modern Day Entertainment

Who has embodied the ideal or virtue in history? What did they look like? What did they do? (Ghandi? Mother Theresa?) Themes surrounding the idea of virtue are common in TV and movies. What does the media think Justice looks like? (Judge Judy? Law and Order?) Can you think of a time when you acted with justice? What was the scenario?

4. Tools of Psychology

Every personality type reflects a virtue of some kind. We all know someone who was kind and virtuous in our lives, such as a loving Grandmother, or a helpful neighbor. The Enneagram of personality is profound in the study of personality type and the virtues expressed in humanity. Enneagram Types 1, 8, and 9 are great examples to explore the virtue of Justice.

5. Personalities In Nature

We can see ideals of virtue in the diversity of creatures in our world and how we reference them to virtues.  The Owl, for example, we immediately associate with wisdom, the dove, a symbol of peace, and the lion of nobility.  I like to jot down on a scrap of paper all the creatures I can think of that symbolize the idea that I can then blend into an image.

6. Environments and Architecture

Our character have to have a place to live, right? Where might a character of Justice live? Is it high in the mountains where he is able to see far and wide? Or is it in a  castle with tall ceilings and open expansive rooms? Or clean white walls and pillars? Perhaps everything perfectly ordered and in its place would feel more like the place where Justice abides.

7. Texture and Color

What does a virtue feel like? Justice might be cool, crisp and frosty. (If you ever sat in a court room, this can certainly be an accurate feeling.)  If justice feels cool, biting and refreshing, perhaps cool colors like blue and white and grey, with a hint of gold for richness/value and contrast? Textures are also important for our eyes to see and feel texture, as well as our hands. A silk robe, aged hands and marbled floors all evoke a feeling that connects us with an idea.

8. Symbols

Finally, make a list of descriptive words and find as many images as possible that symbolize those words. Justice – fairness, retribution, equality, etc. Symbols might be measuring scales, a gavel, an eagle, halo, etc. 

In the end, you have an abundance of research that can inform the creation of your character. Combine all these elements like DNA, and fashion for yourself a dynamic character whose very being embodies the Virtue!


Creative activities such as this can help to build our personal character by allowing us to think deeply about our essence and virtues; to understand that we already obtain these ideals deep within. Every time we look at an image that depicts these virtues will be a loving reminder of our inner Divine.  If you would like to see examples of our characters that personify virtue, visit our website at N-1Games.com



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