A few basic DOs and Don'ts
- Never base an OC off of yourself. However, this has certain exceptions; sharing traits with an OC sometimes cannot be avoided, such as having the same hair or skin pigment. Even certain personality traits are okay to share with your OC; however, don't give your OC certain traits because you have them.
- Never make an OC for the purpose of shipping that OC with a canon character; it's understandable if you create it because you support the relationship between the two countries, but if you create the OC because you're a huge fan of a canon character that you intend to pair with it, it becomes iffy. It may be pure coincidence that you're a fan of that canon character or not, but keep in mind that if you pair your OC with a canon character that you're a huge fan of, you may be accused of making the OC for the purpose of fantasizing with that character. As I said, it's more than perfectly fine to be a fan of the character that you pair the OC with; just please don't only make the OC for the purpose of shipping.
- Know the difference between nationality and ethnicity; your nationality is the country/countries that you're a citizen of; your ethnicity is similar to your race. For instance, I have Scottish and Laotian blood (ethnicity), but I'm an American citizen (nationality).
- Remember that flaws alone do not prevent your character from being a Mary Sue. A Mary Sue is, indeed, a "perfect" character—but it is also a character that the creator blatantly worships and forces upon others, and their idea of "perfection" may vary. For example, say someone makes their character hot-tempered. This is often thought of to be a flaw, but what if the creator thinks that hot-tempered people are cool? Say someone makes their character sarcastic. What if the creator really likes sarcasm? Do you see what I mean?
- (More to come!)
Part 1: Choosing a Country
Alright. It's best to choose a country that you know the culture and history of—even a little is good. If no such country exists, choose one that you're interested in learning about. Don't worry about making an OC for an overused country, such as Mexico or Ireland; if it's accurate, there's no harm in making such an OC.
Part 2: Appearance
Definitely one that a lot of people mess up on. This is so large that it'll be split into sections to cover everything while staying organized.
Tall, short, fat, skinny, curvy, straight, muscular, weak, etcetera. Let's take them all on one at a time so that they are less overwhelming.
Height: You can use a variety of things to justify an OC's height. The most common (and preferred) is to use the average height of the country. However, it should be noted that people have gotten much taller over the generations; when basing an ancient OC's height off of the common height of the country, remember that people were shorter in ancient times.
You can also use other things to base your OC's height around; for my Byzantine Empire, I used the empire's size, duration and population. Just try to avoid making your OC unreasonably tall or short without justification.
Weight: This doesn't require much thought; simply look up the average weight for a person of your OC's height. Do not make them unreasonably skinny; especially not if the country has a steady food supply. Making your OC more on the heavyset side could have its reasoning, as well; just don't be unreasonable and offensive about it.
Shape: Repeat after me: do not use stereotypes to create your OC's body shape. Absolutely not. I've seen far too many supermodel Latina OCs when in reality the average indigenous body shape is very athletic in figure. Look up the common breast size/hip width/penis length of the country. It's a very bad idea to go Ukraine and base it off of agriculture. Also, if you do give your OC large breasts (if they're the common size for the country), they must have more weight to go along with it. Very rarely will you see a woman with huge breasts that weighs a hundred pounds—practically never, in fact.
Muscular strength: Most people base this off of the OC themself. Does your OC participate in the country's military, if it has one? Does your OC do a lot of hard work, such as farming or heavy lifting? If they don't, then they shouldn't have much muscular strength.
Hetalia OCs that have not been thoroughly researched are notorious for being "whitewashed" (being made too light) or the reverse (being made too dark). When making your OC's skin tone, keep in mind the skin color of the people that live there; for example, there may be a lot of pale people living in Israel, but most people who are Israeli by ethnicity are darker tanned. This being said, it's also possible to make an OC too dark; Carthage, for instance, was in Africa, but they were more of a tan shade.
Eyes can be used to represent three main things; relations to another country/character, common eye color of the country's people or something unique to the country. For example, my Byzantine Empire's eyes are amber to represent her relations to Rome as his younger sister. A friend's Israel has brown eyes, as they are the most common eye color.
It is to be noted that Latinos, by stereotype, have green eyes; this is very inaccurate. The indigenous Latin peoples had brown eyes, not green; many Latinos have lighter eyes in modern times due to immigrants from other countries. This goes to show that one should be cautious when using stereotypes to create their OC.
A few things go under this topic, such as type, length and color.
Type: Keep in mind that there are common hair types for every country/region; for example, many people living on the Mediterranean and in the Middle East have very curly, sometimes poofy and frizzy, hair. Most of the indigenous Latin peoples have straighter hair.
Length and style: I wouldn't worry too much about this. It's best to look up the common hairstyles of the native people; it's also recommended to keep in mind the character's personality and location. If they aren't terribly vain about their hair or they work a lot, it's doubtful that they'd keep it much longer than mid-back or shoulder-length if female; if they do keep it long, they might pin or tie it up so that it's out of the way. If male, then it would probably be on the short to medium side. If they are very vain, it might be very well-kept or long.
Color: The only thing, really, that one can do for hair color is to look up the common hair color of the country's people.
Most countries, if male, are often wearing their military uniform. If there is no military, then resort to the national dress/clothing of the country. This is usually what the females wear. If there's no military uniform and no national dress, commonly worn clothing should suffice. For instance, I have a female Byzantine Empire OC; women weren't permitted in the army and there is no national dress, so she wears Byzantine clothing.
The OC's religion should also be kept in mind; Islamic women can only show their face and hands, for example. "Not very many followers of Shi'a Islam wear the niqab. Muslims in Iran, where most Shi'ites live, typically wear a long black shawl called the chador out in public. Leaving only the eyes exposed is most commonly observed in the gulf states, a majority Sunni region, while the burqa (the sleeveless, embroidered garment that covers the eyes with a grille) is found in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and apparently parts of India, where people are also mostly Sunni. Even some niqabs are covered with a black veil for extra coverage." (Quoted from Raspy-G.)
Part 3: Personality
Like appearance, personality will be split into sections. There's a lot to cover, and I'd like to keep it organized so that it's easier to read.
Mental disorders, whores, depression
Don't. Just don't. It doesn't make your character "edgy" or "cool". Mental disorders and depression are very sensitive subjects. As for making your OC a whore...Really?
Conflicting personality traits
Don't give your OC conflicting character traits. For example, saying that the character is dependent on others, but then saying that they're self-sufficient. This is very confusing and annoying. Your OC can't have every character trait in the world.
Remember to base your character off the behavior of people from your country, but also on historical events and the country itself. For example, the Byzantine Empire was very powerful and wealthy, so making a Byzantine Empire arrogant, proud and/or egoistical would make a lot of sense.
Keep in mind the country's culture for their skillset; if they're known for their art, literature, music, etcetera, they might have a lot of skill in the fine arts. If their country's known for a particular sport, they could be good at that sport. If their military is infamous, it could make sense for their skills in battle tactics and military-related things to be pretty good, as well as fighting ability itself.
I have seen too many OCs that are purely homosexual; please keep in mind the country's LGBT rights, if there are any! For such countries where same-sex activities have legal consequences, it would make the most sense to make the character heterosexual; bisexual at the most, but never homosexual. For countries with LGBT rights, bisexual is fine; still, it's best to avoid making an OC homosexual.
Part 4: Backstory/history
Abuse, rape, etcetera.
Rape is an absolute no. Do not include it in your character's backstory. It's a sensitive subject that should never be taken lightly.
Abuse, however, is iffy. Could one not consider the treatment of Britain towards the colonies as abuse? Granted, it wasn't physical or verbal abuse; America's rights were simply being oppressed. It all depends on your definition of abuse. Just don't go out of reason. Stay inside the box for this one.
History and relations
Remember: the country's history is the character's backstory! Also remember to include any other countries—and it's likely that there were many—that were involved in the country's history.
Part 5: Relations
Your OC's relations with other countries should correspond with the country's actual relations; this is pretty self-explanatory.
Keep in mind that while it's perfectly fine to pair your OC with a character, in most cases it's best to keep shipping and canonverse separate. Leave pairings out of the OC's profile.
Part 6: General/Personal info
Remember to give your OC a name that is used in the country. It's very common to use references to historical figures in the character's human name; for instance, a Sicily named Elvira could reference Elvira, the first queen of Sicily. It's also a great idea to use a common name in the country, like an Israel's last name being Cohen, as Cohen is the most common last name in Israel.
Also remember to keep in mind naming traditions; many countries don't have middle names, etcetera.
For Islamic countries, they typically have their first name, their father's first name as their middle name and their surname.
Spanish and Latin people usually have their first name, their father's surname and their mother's surname. They may also have a second name/middle name or two.
Age and birthdays
Don't use the country's independence day as the basis of the OC's age; especially if they don't have one! It's usually a good idea to base their age around how long the people have been living in the area.
Independence days are usually used as the OC's "birthday", though exceptions can apply. For characters like the Byzantine Empire, there was no clear split in the Roman Empire, although Emperor Theodosius I, who was the last Emperor to rule over both the eastern and western halves of the empire, died on the seventeenth of January in 395 CE, so it could be used as the OC's "birthday".
As for human age, it would be wise to base your it around those of the canon characters'; say you know for a fact that your OC is slightly younger than France, I don't know. France's human age is 26, so your OC could be slightly younger than 26; 25, perhaps.
Language and religion
Any languages that your OC speaks should be the official and commonly-spoken languages of that country. There are some weird cases; the Byzantine Empire originally was Latin-speaking, but after Emperor Justinian died, all Emperors onwards spoke Greek.
As for religion; some countries still have an official religion, most don't. Still; you should use the most commonly followed religion (or the official one, if available) as the OC's religion.
In short, Hetalia OCs require a lot of research. Inaccurate OCs are indeed very offensive.
Lastly, I would like to say that this is still very much incomplete. If you can think of anything that I need to add, please let me know! Thank you for reading, and I hope it helps!