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Painting Fabrizio three times

I painted three portraits of Fabrizio, the main character of the story, so I could get to know him better.


To finish a first draft of the outline.


I lost clarity on the personality of the main character, Fabrizio, so I could not tell how he would react to certain situations.


To explore Fabrizio’s nature.


To paint a portrait of Fabrizio in order to extract the necessary information from it.


  1. Assume that my idea of the character was so loose that I must work from intuition, instead of reason.
  2. Select a photographic reference that for some intuitive reaction I felt I could relate to the character and his world.
  3. Paint the portrait while imagining the epoch it represented from the character’s life.
  4. Let it rest for a day.
  5. Ask myself questions about the character portrayed in the paintings.
  6. I repeated steps 2 to 5 two more times. I ended up painting three portraits. (fig.1)
  7. Clearly define his personality, using the Big 5 model. I also did this for one of his antagonists, the box. (fig.2)


Positive. I was able to get a more clear idea of the character and subsequently move forward with the synopsis.

Lesson for the research

As I kept writing, I had to renegotiate some aspects of his biography and personality, otherwise he would be too weak and passive. So the experiment did not serve the purpose of defining him, but of putting forward possibilities and modulating them.

Progress in the story

Fabrizio, while remaining fearful, became a more active character. Also, I better understood what was common and contrasting between Fabrizio and his antagonist, the box with wheels.



The three portraits of Fabrizio.


In the upper section of the notebook you can see where I concretely defined the personality of Fabrizio (the main character in the story) and the box, one of his antagonists (Alessandro and Fabrizio’s wife play this role as well). Since they should act in opposition, it was important for me to be able to see both graphs, to adjust metrics. I should follow up this idea.

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