What does a person look like

personal description

The personal description We met for the first time in the German class at elementary school. In the description of the person, an attempt is made to create an exact overall picture of a fictional character or real person. Here it is important to provide very detailed information so that the character described can be clearly distinguished from all others.

It is crucial that we clearly separate the description of the person from the characterization. It tries to draw conclusions about a character from thoughts and actions. The characterization therefore describes a person on the basis of the Outside and inside view. In contrast to this, the personal description is limited exclusively to the external characteristics of a person and does not try to interpret them (β†’ characterization).

Furthermore, it is not a question of describing a person superficially and only on the basis of their unique characteristics. Rather, the attempt is made to go very deeply. This means that even the smallest details must be taken into account in the description of the person, such as small tears in clothing or inconspicuous features on the face.

In principle, a description of a person does exactly what its name already suggests, but no more. Therefore we should refrain from any interpretation of the individual characteristics and only describe what is evident and evident.

Prepare personal description

Before you can actually start writing such a personal description, it makes sense to make some preparations so as not to write in the dark.

Prepare personal description
  • Image viewing: In a first step, we take a careful look at the image of our person and write down all the details that we notice immediately. The point is not to take a quick look at the portrait or sketch, but to recognize each feature. If the picture of the person to be described is very complex, this step can take a few minutes.

    It is important herethat we note down even the most inconspicuous characteristics of a person so that we do not forget them afterwards. This can happen very quickly when we later try to get the bigger picture of a character.

  • Structure of the personal description: Once the first step has been taken, we can prepare an approximate structure of the description of the person, which on the one hand outlines the structure again and on the other hand already contains the essential details of our person.

    This can be useful in this respect, so that we make sure not to forget a single feature in the description of the person and not to mention any features twice later. To do this, you can simply hang around on our exemplary structure of the person description.

Structure of a person description

Basically, when describing a person, we work our way from the obvious features to the inconspicuous details. So we're going from big to small.

It is also important to follow a logical order by describing the person from one direction to the other. For example, from head to toe, so that a reader can safely follow our explanations and not get confused because we work numerous jumps into the reading flow.

  • The main characteristics of the person
    • First name and surname
    • Age of the person
    • gender
    • origin
    • job
  • Appearance of the person (Outer shape)
    • Body stature (muscular, skinny, slim, overweight)
    • Size of the person (small, large, huge)
    • Skin color
    • limbs
      • poor (short, long, scarred, prostheses)
      • legs (strong, fat, thin, well trained)
      • Feet (small, tiny, spread, lowered)
    • dress
      • Headgear (Hat, top hat, tiara, baseball cap)
      • Outerwear (Shirt, longsleeve, undershirt, jacket, coat)
      • Underwear (Corduroy trousers, dungarees, jeans, skirt, dress, mini)
      • Shoes (Sneakers, boots, sandals, barefoot)
    • Other special characteristics of the person
      • Scars, burns, wounds
      • Piercings or jewelry
      • Tattoos, henna, body painting, body art
  • Head and face
    • hair
      • Hair color (blonde, brunette, black)
      • hairstyle (Braided hairstyle, braids, bald head)
      • Hair structure (curly, strawy, thin, smooth)
      • beard (Full beard, shaved, three-day beard)
    • Shape of the head (round, square, pear-shaped, oval)
    • forehead (high, covered, arched, receding hairline)
    • eyes
      • Eye color (green, brown blue, colored)
      • Eye shape and type (large, almond-shaped, small, oval, round)
      • Eyebrows and eyelashes (bushy, long, thin, short)
      • Other: glasses, eyepatches, glaucoma eyes
    • nose (wide, narrow, thick, thin, crooked)
    • Ears (close fitting, protruding, small, large)
    • Mouth and lips (narrow, small, large, bulging, fleshy)
    • teeth (Texture, tooth gaps, color)
    • chin (Double chin, narrow, fleeting)
    • neck (muscular, short, long, delicate)

  • Notes on personal description: All adjectives listed are of course only examples. You can also use adjectives that are not listed here. It is important, however, that as much as possible every little detail is used in the description of the person.

  • β†’ List of possible character traits for a description

Write a personal description

The style of a person description
  • A personal description is always in Present (Present) and thus describes the current state of a person.
  • Properties must not be easy lined up but must be linked to one another by sentences. The The character of a bullet should be avoided.
  • In the description we always write in the third person (He she).
  • It makes perfect sense numerous adjectives to use for writing. Because when the hands small are that nose small is and also the ears and legs small is stylistically bad on the one hand and boring for the reader on the other.
  • With the personal description we have to always remain objective. We do not interpret a person's appearance or give our personal opinions.
  • Ideally, we try to proceed logically in the description of the person. That means we from the obvious to the small work and the person top down describe.

Since a description of a person does not follow the typical structure of introduction, main part and conclusion, we have divided the whole thing into sections. In principle, these differ in that they go into a little more detail from section to section.

First part of the personal description: The most important characteristics

  • The beginning of the personal description make up the obvious characteristics of each person. This means that we look at age, physique, origin or nationality and also gender. Of course, we can only describe all this information if it is clear from the picture or from the memory of the respective person.

Second part of the personal description: appearance, clothing, other

  • Have we recorded the essential properties, we continue in the description of the person with the external shape of the figure. This means that we deal with all the physical characteristics of the person, such as height, weight and, of course, stature. However, such properties can usually only be estimated, which is why exact information such as "The person weighs 89kg and is 194cm tall" makes little sense and is rarely verifiable.
  • Note: It is important, however, that all recognizable details are described and abnormalities in relation to the body are mentioned. Perhaps the person is very muscular, slender or short, which should definitely be mentioned in the description of the person.

  • Here it is essential, clear and descriptive words (Adjectives) to find. Because the statement that a person has hands, feet and arms is poor and makes little sense to the reader. This is what is usually assumed when describing a person.
  • This emphasis would only be appropriate if our person is Not has these properties. The situation is similar with a determination of the species. The information that a person belongs to the human species does not really help the reader. If this were not the case, however, and we were describing a goblin or a superhero, this detail would of course be appropriate.
  • In the following we devote ourselves to the clothes of the person and try to be as detailed as possible. So it's not about describing whether a person wears trousers and combining them with a sweater, but about adding a little added value.
  • Note: In connection with a person's clothing, it can make perfect sense to proceed in a structured manner and describe the individual items of clothing individually and from top to bottom. So we start with any headgear, work our way up to the outerwear, underpin the whole thing with the underwear and, in a final move, name the type and texture of the shoes.

  • The last aspect that we should cover in this section of the personal description, are abnormalities such as body jewelry, tattoos or piercings. However, these features can also be added in the previous part if they are almost imposing in the description.

    For example, if we are describing a wiry physique, we can of course agree that the tattoo of a white skull gapes over the chest.

Third part of the description of the person: head and face

  • The last part of the personal description mainly make up the features around the head and face, as we can work out most of the abnormalities and characteristics here.

    After all, the phantom image of the police always shows a person's profile and only describes other things in passing. The reason is simple and simple that the face is usually the most noticeable thing in a person. That is why we dedicate ourselves to this area in great detail in the personal description.

  • We also describe the head, so to speak, from the clearest to the most inconspicuous feature. We could start with the shape of the head and then describe the hairstyle and structure of the hair that merges into the forehead. Then we take a deep look into the person's eyes and provide further information about the peculiarities of the face
  • Tip: Even as we get closer to the end of the personal description, we should not explain important details relating to the face, head and head of hair in just one half-sentence. Especially here we can use numerous adjectives for the description and thus sharpen the description of the person. Hair is rarely just blond or brunette, but rather "black-brown", "orange-brown", "chestnut-colored" or "golden yellow"

  • The most important thing here isthat we always remain objective when describing the respective person and not interpret. In addition, we should avoid comparisons with other people, but rather find appropriate adjectives that make it clear to every reader what our person looks like in detail.
Personal description checklist
  • Are all important characteristics really included?
  • Does the text have different adjectives or do some adjectives double that we could still differentiate?
  • Have all the facts been formulated or do we tend to enumerate some of the formulations, which should be avoided at all costs?
  • Are the most noticeable features mentioned at the beginning or does the text anticipate and jump between the individual features?
  • Have all the characteristics been worked out objectively or are there some formulations that merely reflect our own opinion? If so, they definitely need to be repaired.
  • Is the personal description written consistently in the present tense?

Example of a person description

To illustrate what has been written with an example, we would like to give you a personal description on the way. A self-portrait by the painter Vincent van Gogh from 1886 serves as an example.

The present picture is a self-portrait of the Dutch painter and draftsman Vincent van Gogh. The painting was opened to the public in 1886, which is why Van Gogh is around 33 years old at the time of the self-portrait.

His exterior looks slightly stocky and a little gaunt, although it is hardly apparent how tall the person being portrayed is. The skin appears pale and slightly red in the area of ​​the nose, cheeks and temples. Van Gogh wears a wine-red jacket with a falling lapel that tapers off in a bluish tint and is cut with sharp edges. He also dresses in a white shirt, which is brought together at the collar with a light blue tie.

The face is angular and tapered, which makes it look distinctive and firm. The main hair is determined by a simple brush cut, which is limited by the high forehead with a slight receding hairline. At best, the eyebrows can be described as subtle and frame a pair of dark green eyes.

A pronounced nose that merges into a thick, red beard defines the middle part of the face. The beard covers large parts of the mouth and also the cheeks, although it seems a little thinner and trimmed here. The painter's visible lower lip closes the mouth and can be described as brittle.