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Pop Culture

Artist paints characters as described in books, then shares side-by-side with film versions

He doesn't know who he's painting, and it's fascinating to see who is close and who is way off.

Jazza with side by side image of Alan Rickman as Snape and a blurred out image of his painting

Jazza tries to guess who he's painting based only on written descriptions.

Anyone who's watched a film based on a book has experienced the disappointment of a movie character not matching their imagined version of what a character looks like. Book authors offer descriptions of characters with varying levels of detail, usually just enough to help us form a mental picture or give us necessary information about them, so we may not all imagine them the same way.

Some characters' physical features are crucial to their story, such as Harry Potter's lightning-shaped forehead scar, but some are just an author's attempt to share whatever they themselves imagine a character to look like. There's often a lot that's open to interpretation, though, so it's a bit of a crapshoot whether a film depiction of a book character will match a writer's description of them—or a reader's vision based on that description.

One artist is exploring this phenomenon with a video series in which he paints characters based solely on their written descriptions. Jazza, who has made a name for himself on social media with his creative art videos, is given the features of a character as described by a writer without being told who the character is or where they're from. Then we see how his depiction compares to the character as shown on screen.


Sometimes his paintings are surprisingly close to the film character and he is able to guess who the character is based on what he drew. Some are more mysterious and he doesn't know who he's painted until it's revealed. And occasionally, it's not a character that's being described but a real person, which is the case with the last painting in this video, and it's extra hilarious. But it's always fascinating to see someone paint a picture of what they're visualizing in their mind, since most of us aren't able to do that.

Watch:

If you enjoyed those attempts, check out Part 2:

The series has more parts and he also has a series where he sculpts monsters based on their descriptions. So fun to watch!

Here's to the human imaginations that create characters on the page and those who bring them to life on screen. Different creative skills, but both so valuable to the storytelling that help us tap into our humanity.

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