It’s no overstatement to say that character and creature design is one of the most exciting, creative, and celebrated artistic disciplines. Gaining entry into this field isn’t always easy: this is where our Character Design Program comes in. Designed for those already versed in the fundamentals of drawing and design, this program carefully builds on those core skills to give students head-to-toe training in the art of human and creature character design for the entertainment industries.
By the end of the program, students will be ideally placed to make the leap to a character design/concept art position at a film, animation, games, or print-based studio. To enroll in the Character Design Program, students will need either to have successfully completed the Foundation & Design Program or submit a portfolio that demonstrates sufficient core drawing skills and character/animal anatomy knowledge.
Should anyone have any questions or concerns about registration or employer-sponsored education (including how to get a portfolio review for course placement purposes), get connected with Admissions by phone at 1-800-959-0316 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Check out the full course list for the Character Design Program, as well as Foundation and Design Program:
HEAD DRAWING & CONSTRUCTION w/ Christian Nacorda
This course builds on the skills and information covered in the initial Analytical Figure Drawing course, as well as challenges students to push those skills through the introduction of additional subject matter of the human head. Students will be introduced to basic structures of the human head, underlying muscle groups and how they affect different forms of expression, structuring of different types of hair masses and rendering and at the end, creating a final well-constructed and fully rendered face.
CHARACTER DESIGN FOR ANIMATION w/ Nate Wragg
This course will cover a lot of reference and breaking it down into the importance of things to consider regarding animation design. Allow your imagination to push what we can do in design and to push our boundaries in what we are comfortable with and what we feel we can do in animation. Beginning by using shape as a building block for building characters, we will start with simple shapes and push the design to its limits. We will also discuss what it takes to become a professional designer.
COSTUME DESIGN w/ Phil Boutte
Students will discover methods of how to “dress” the figure to best suit the needs of their characters’ personalities. Using costume and props, you will be able to give story to your characters and bring them to life. Students will also learn about textures and proper methods of rendering different types of materials in Photoshop.
CHARACTER DESIGN FOR PRODUCTION w/ Nate Wragg
This class will focus on taking your character designs through a production pipeline and learning to make your designs functional for animation. In this course, you will be acting as a professional Character Designer. We will cover both common and important types of assignments that will be expected of you as a working professional. You will walk out of this class with not only the experience of a real professional setting, but also with professional work that you will be proud to showcase in your portfolio.
DIGITAL PORTRAIT PAINTING w/ Mélanie Delon
This course goes over different color and texture rendering techniques for creating believable human portraits. Special attention is given to facial features drawing on surface structure, skin rendering (i.e. translucency, hue/saturation/value and color temperature, etc.), layered studies, and background/foreground manipulation. It also explores sci-fi portrait subjects as part of the options given to paint through the course. By the end of the course, students should have created one to two fully rendered portraits. Learn how to start a portrait from start to finish beginning with a pencil sketch, then lighting, color scheme, create realistic facial features, and emotion into our compositions for a successful digital portrait painting.
ANATOMY OF CLOTHING w/ Ron Lemen
In this class, we will deconstruct the materials, from their tensile strength and geometric construction to their surface properties or how they absorb and reflect light. We will work with the armature from the analytical figure drawing class and work on draw through as learned in dynamic sketching class, organizing the clothing into simple easy to use forms using the draw through approach. Other concepts we will cover include the laws of folds, the 7 different types of folds and how they happen, how movement affects the geometry of the drapery, tension points, abstractions and rhythms, rendering and much more. Be prepared to do a lot of construction and rendering.
STORYBOARDING FOR ANIMATION w/ Kevin Reed
This is an introduction course where you will learn some techniques for visual storytelling. It will cover methods and exercises to help you generate ideas and learn tips and tricks used in story boarding. The assignments will help you build a starter portfolio for storyboarding and equip with the basics for creating your own stories.
CREATURE DESIGN FOR FILM & GAMES w/ Bobby Rebholz
This course will teach you how to design your own creatures by using Earth’s animals as a guideline. Nature is a powerful tool when sketching ideas and Creature Design for Film and Games will show you just how to use real life references in your creations. We will begin with rough and quick sketching to generate ideas and then slowly refine these ideas into a polished portfolio piece. Students will learn how to design creatures using basic forms, how to really see the design and function of the creature, and the importance of anatomy.
DRAWING & RENDERING TECHNIQUES FOR HARDWARE DESIGN w/ Michal Kus
Drawing & Rendering Techniques for Hardware Design covers the benefits of ideation sketching, perspective, visual language, rendering and presentation techniques, and design intent. Focusing on the fundamentals of drawing and design, student will learn a process to deliver stronger designs using established concept design processes. Focusing on designing for production, students will learn how a concept artist fits into a production pipeline. Subjects include: developing design themes, thumbnails, visual vocabulary, believability applied to literal and fantastical subjects, materials, rendering, lighting, and presentation. Students will design both vehicles and mechs from thumbnail sketches through full concept illustration.
FUNDAMENTALS OF CHARACTER DESIGN ( New Content! ) w/ Brett Bean
This is a beginning character design course with an emphasis on creating memorable characters with interesting personalities & shapes to tell a story. The goal is to visually communicate our characters from life observations, reference, and our imagination. As we continue the course, the students will get used to the idea of iteration and refinement in designs, better serving the story and direction. Exploration, getting out of your comfort zone, and visually communicating through drawing will be a major component to our class.
FIGURE DRAWING: ANATOMY OF STYLE w/ Patrick Jones
Patrick will discuss traditional drawing rendering techniques which he uses to simplify anatomy into basic shapes and gestural line to create a language your memory will use to unlock and develop your personal style of drawing.
ART DIRECTION FOR CHARACTER DESIGNERS w/ Nate Wragg
This course will focus on the adaptability you must have to work in a variety of different styles and looks. The assignments and lectures are each designed to focus on different art direction concepts for character designers and will require you to focus on your creative and stylistic adaptability. You can think of this class as 8 weeks of freelance and professional production assignments. This class will focus on what it means to be art directed as a professional character designer.