Sample Descriptive Essay Describing Person

Descriptive Essay About a Person

The Art of Writing

In a descriptive essay, the writer expresses his/her feelings on a subject that can be a person, an object, experience, an event or a place. Like any other essay, a descriptive essay should have a topic, an introduction, body and a conclusion. The writer tries to express their feelings and opinions and their perceptions by describing the subject matter. The descriptions should bring out the elaborative and unique qualities of the subject. Make your essay as appealing as possible. Keep in mind the good qualities that a good descriptive essay should possess.

Grab the reader’s attention

Let your descriptions capture the interest of the reader. It should be an interesting piece to read. You should know your audience and tailor your subject descriptions to appeal them. As a writer, try to show that you are explaining. Express your thoughts and emotions through your writing

Visualize your subject

Let your tale give a visual idea of whatever you are describing. Express your emotions and perceptions. Create a vivid experience of the reader. Ensure that your observations and description regarding the subject are detailed.

 Make use of your senses

When writing a descriptive essay, you must use your five senses. As a writer, convey your perceptions through senses and figures. You need to come up with a piece of work that appeals to the readers’ five senses (sight, smell, sound, touch and taste). You should paint the picture of your feelings.

 Show, don’t tell the descriptive essay about a person

When showing through your description, you cultivate imagination in the reader’s mind. You make it as if they are already experiencing the same thing as you are.

Use Similes and metaphors

Use similes and metaphors in describing your subject. This brings out the content description perfectly. They also make your essay look glossy. Select the powerful words that appeal to the reader

 Are your views subjective or objective?

A descriptive essay about a person can be factual or personal. The Emotions that you as a writer wants to get out of the reader determines how to write your essay. Make sure to give all the characteristics of the subject you are describing.

 What about starting my paragraphs?

The exercise of writing a descriptive essay can be very rich and rewarding. It can also be very complicated. To begin with, your subject should be meaningful. Choose what you want your essay to focus on.  Develop a checklist of the important questions that you will keep answering as you write your essay. Start by introducing your subject. Immediately start engaging the readers’ five senses. You definitely have a reason as to why you want to describe something. Get in touch with the reason and the questions you developed so as to remain focused throughout your description. All the descriptions should be illustrated rhythmically.

Be sure to revise your essay after your write up. This you do as you tick your checklist to see whether there is any of your details and descriptions that has been omitted. It will also enable you to find out whether you have provided enough descriptions that your readers can visualize.

For example, when describing a person, show their physical appearance, how charming they can be, how it feels to hang around with them and what you admire in that person. Whatever your perception and experience about your subject is what you need to focus on in giving the descriptions.

 Descriptive Essay about a person

A descriptive essay about a person, also known as character sketches is the most common assigned type of essay for students in Colleges and Universities. In writing this type of essay, one can be asked to describe:

  • A colleague,
  • A relative or a friend
  • A scientist in a movie character or any person

To begin with, make sure that you know the main features of the person that you want to describe. This will enable you to create an efficient custom paper. Make the details that you think will make the person you are describing look vivid. Show the person’s physical features as well as their personality traits. Use the person’s actions and behavior to show their personality.

As a writer, ensure that you know the different ways of presenting the right identity of the character and in a prolific manner. Like any other paper, a character sketch should have an introduction, main body and a conclusion. At the introduction, present the reasons as to why you want to describe the person. Remember to grab your reader’s’ attention. At the main body, include three paragraphs, one to talk about his/her physical characteristics, the second to talk about the environment where they live, and the third to talk about his emotions and personality. I the conclusion section, show how this write up is significant. Remember to show alive representation of the person you are describing.

Ask a question

In The Prince and the Pauper, Mark Twain paints a word picture of King Henry VIII using descriptive language:

Before him, at a little distance, reclined a very large and very fat man, with a wide, pulpy face, and a stern expression. His large head was very grey; and his whiskers, which he wore only around his face, like a frame, were grey also. His clothing was of rich stuff, but old, and slightly frayed in places. One of his swollen legs had a pillow under it, and was wrapped in bandages. This stern-countenanced invalid was the dread Henry VIII.

And in The Bronze Bow[aff. link], Elizabeth George Speare describes a young Roman soldier:

When he straightened again, the Roman was pulling off his helmet, revealing crisp fair hair. He wiped the back of his hand across his wet forehead where the metal had left an uncomfortable-looking crease. With a shock, Daniel saw that he was very young… The beardless cheeks and chin scarcely needed a razor. His skin was white, mottled and peeling from exposure to the sun, so that he could not have seen service long under the Galilean skies. The eyes that stared back at Daniel were a clear bright blue. He looked as though he might be about to speak.

Using Descriptive Writing Tools

Can your high schoolers describe a person using vivid vocabulary like the above examples? Without good observation skills or an arsenal of strong words, this can be a challenging task!

Can they describe their subject in detail without turning it into a narrative or story? When I was teaching writing classes, this was a hard concept for my students to grasp. Even with careful guidelines, many still ended up focusing on what the person was doing instead of how they looked.

Use the following tips as teaching tools in one of two ways:

  1. Discuss the many ways to describe a person before letting students loose to brainstorm; OR
  2. Once the rough draft has been written and edited, give this list of ideas to stimulate creativity and to help them write a meatier revision.

Either way, whether you work on better brainstorming or focus on more polished revisions, improved description will result.

How to Describe a Person

It’s good to let your kids struggle with the initial writing process. As they wrestle with ideas and words, it will remind them of the importance of thorough and effective brainstorming. The following ideas will help them improve their descriptive paragraphs as they think of more concrete ways to describe a person’s appearance.

TIP: Students shouldn’t be expected include every descriptive element listed below. Rather, a few well-chosen details will go a long way toward bringing their subject to life.

Face Shape

  • Square
  • Oval
  • Round
  • Triangular
  • Heart-shaped
  • Thin
  • Wide
  • Chiseled

Skin and Complexion

Complexion is the natural appearance and color of the skin, especially of the face. For example, “Mary has a soft, creamy complexion.”

  • Wrinkled:covered with lines or loose folds of skin; often associated with age 
  • Freckled: sprinkled or covered with light brown spots 
  • Ruddy: skin that has a reddish tint; may have the appearance of sunburn 
  • Sallow: skin that has a yellowish tint; may be associated with illness
  • Tanned: skin with a warm, golden-brown tint
  • Rosy or fresh-faced: pink-cheeked, fair complexion that glows with a hint of pink 
  • Other skin-related adjectives: pale, fair, spotless, silky, smooth, creamy, dewy, baby-soft, peaches-and-cream, glowing, paper-thin or translucent (as with a very old person), sunburned, peeling, rough, callused, weathered, weatherbeaten, craggy, leathery, mottled, dry, brown, dark

Eyes

TIP: Pay attention to the eyes, as they often reveal much about a person.

  • Shape, size, and appearance: large, small, almond-shaped, round, squinty, crinkly, bulging, heavy-lidded, hooded, deep-set, close-set, hollow, tear-filled
  • Eye color:black, brown, hazel, green, blue, violet, gray, amber
  • Eye expressions: piercing, mesmerizing, sad, sorrowful, haunted, gentle, sympathetic, warm, compassionate, expressive, bright, twinkling, lively, dancing, laughing, shifty, sly, distrusting, sleepy
  • Other: brown-eyed boy, bright-eyed sister, wide-eyed child, gold-flecked eyes

Mouth and Lips

  • Lip shape and size: thin, full, pouting, rosebud (baby’s lips, often), pursed (puckered up, as when concentrating)
  • Mouth expressions: laugh, smile, beam, grin, frown, grimace, scowl, sneer, curl, pout
  • Adjectives describing the mouth or mouth expressions: toothy, toothless, gap-toothed, kind, sweet, dimpled, relaxed, firm, serious, cruel, snarling

Hair

  • Hair color: black, brunette, brown, chestnut-brown, blond, honey-blond, golden-blond, ash-blond, fair, cornsilk, auburn, red, strawberry-blond, gray, silver, white, salt-and-pepper
  • Texture or appearance: wispy, fuzzy, wavy, curly, kinky, frizzy, wild, untamed, unmanageable, straight, spiky, stiff, buzzed, shaved, parted, neatly-combed, tamed, cascading, long, short, cropped, dull, shiny
  • Hair styles: braids, ponytail, pigtails, bun, messy bun, twist, bob, ringlets, flip, cornrows, extensions, bangs, buzz, layered, feathered, chopped, gelled, spiked, slicked down
  • Lots of hair: thick, full, lustrous, bushy, coarse, wiry, stiff
  • Little hair: thin, scraggly, fine, baby-fine, downy, wispy, limp, flat, balding, bald, bald spot, receding (gradual loss of hair at the front of the head)
  • Treated hair: permed, dyed, bleached, highlighted, weaved, streaked, colored

Facial Hair

  • Hair: beard, goatee, mustache, soul patch, sideburns
  • Beard growth: stubble, fuzz, peach fuzz, bristles, five o’clock shadow (describes new beard growth that’s shadowy in appearance. It’s usually more noticeable late in the day on the jaw, chin, or cheek area, but some men purposely grow five o’clock shadows.) 
  • Adjectives: bearded, bushy, stubbly, bristly, scratchy, unshaven, shaggy, whiskered, beardless, clean-shaven, smooth, trimmed, neatly-trimmed, pencil-thin

Body

TIP: Choose strong verbs and adjectives.

  • Build: small, slim, slight, thin, lean, willowy, skinny, angular, bony, fine-boned, chunky, chubby, large, portly, plump, round, stout, pudgy, full-figured, ample, broad-shouldered, burly, solid, muscular
  • Posture: stand, sit, slouch, flop, lean, recline, rest, stretch, sprawl, curl up, roost, squirm, arch, slump, stoop, bend, hunch, scoot, walk, run, race, jog

Clothing

  • Fabric: denim, twill, wool, cashmere, cotton, linen, seersucker, gingham, lace, chiffon, tulle, velvet, velveteen, fleece, flannel, tweed, polyester, jersey, corduroy, spandex, leather
  • Bottoms: jeans, skinny jeans, cargo pants, flat-front pants, pleated pants, slacks, trousers, overalls, sweatpants, crop pants, capris, skirt, shorts, board shorts
  • Tops: sport shirt, dress shirt, polo shirt, button-down shirt, tank top, blouse, tunic, long-sleeve, short-sleeve, sleeveless, collared, T-shirt, V-neck, scoop-neck, turtleneck, sweatshirt, hoodie, pullover, sweater, cardigan, sweater set
  • Other clothing: dress, gown, frock, uniform, coveralls, costume, pajamas, bathrobe, robe, vest, jacket, blazer, coat, apron
  • Footwear: socks, stockings, shoes, slippers, sandals, flip-flops, loafers, heels, pumps, boots, ankle boots, riding boots, slouch boots, athletic shoes, sneakers, tennis shoes, gym shoes, runners
  • Accessories: mittens, gloves, hat, cap, head wrap, bandana, scarf, muffler, necklace, choker, bracelet, ring, earrings, cuffs, cufflinks, purse, clutch, bag, tote, sunglasses, eyeglasses, glasses
  • Adjectives (appearance): stylish, natty, smart, chic, classy, elegant, polished, draped, flowing, sheer, casual, relaxed, carefree, starched, crisp, sharp, dressy, lacy, shiny, shimmering, sparkling, glittery, sloppy, torn, ripped, tattered, disheveled, slovenly, tacky, unkempt, faded, scratchy, worn, frayed, nubby, rough, smooth, pliable, warm, soft, quilted, knit
  • Adjectives (patterns): striped, solid, plaid, checked, floral print, geometric print

Sentence Starters Describing Clothes (Encourage your students to write more maturely by using strong sentence openings.)

  • Smartly dressed in (name of garment), the woman …
  • Casually attired in (name of garment), Chloe …
  • Simply clad in (name of garment), Mark …
  • Uncle Max sported a (name of garment) …
  • Wearing a (name of garment), the detective …

There are so many ways to describe people! What other words would you include?

* * * * *

Do you need help teaching descriptive writing to your middle and high school kids? WriteShop I provides a strong foundation in concrete description, teaching students how to describe an object, animal, person, food, season, and place. Students learn to choose strong words to bring their subjects to life. WriteShop II continues by offering several lessons in advanced descriptive narration, where students weave vivid description into a story or other narrative.

Photo credits: Dave Rosen (street man), Loren Kerns (blue eyes), Paul Arps (Dai boy), Dylan Walters (mountain woman), Connie Liegl (redhead), Spigoo (newborn), courtesy of Creative Commons

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