Fundamentals of Character Design

  • Price: $699 | Pay with installments.
  • Pre-Reqs: Dynamic Sketching 1&2 and Analytical Figure Drawing or Drawing portfolio review required (images does not have to include characters), send your drawing portfolio or a link to your blog at
  • Materials: sketchbook (6x9 or bigger) / pencils (at least 3 different mediums ex:ballpoint pen, red Col erase pencils, black brushes) and/or a wacom tablet/photoshop, Scanner or Camera to scan or photograph homework assignments

Course Description:

The purpose of this course is to provide a foundation in theory and practice to illustrate and design characters for various industries. This course will cover gesture, basic anatomy, shape design, expressions, storytelling, as well as different thematic choices for your characters. The content in this course can be applied to live action, feature animation, 2D characters, 3D characters, and much more. Understanding the foundations will guide you towards creating stories that feel alive. *DISCLAIMER*: This class requires students to be at least age 18 to participate. If you are under age, you must provide parental written consent to take our courses. You may send us this request to

Course Format: Standard
Length: 8 Weeks.
Lectures: Pre-Recorded each week
Assignment: Deadlines each week.
Feedback: Individual recorded.
QandA: Once a week
*For classes with less than 6 students feedback may be provided during the live QandA session.

Fundamentals of Character Design

  • Week 1: Gesture: Introduction to the course will cover a range of topics. What is character design? What different types of character design exist? There will also be an overview of what to expect from the course in terms of content and assignments.
  • Week 2: Basic Anatomy: Covering the building blocks (cubes, cylinders, and spheres) for basic anatomy. This can be done in 2D if 3D/form is not your strength. We will discuss proportions (Extremes! Go too far, go too little, and find a sweet spot.)
  • Week 3: Shape Design: We will cover the basic shapes regarding triangles, circles, squares and will discuss meaning behind each shape and how to apply that to characters and figures.
  • Week 4: Interior Shapes: This will cover Interior shapes as a contrast to outer silhouette of each character. This provides a unique balance of shape contrast that can have a profound impact on your designs.
  • Week 5: Expressions: This will cover the range of basic expressions and why it's important to convey emotion/story in character designs; we will go over how to indicate these on a basic level, as well as complex (grab a mirror!).
  • Week 6: Storytelling: You can create and start telling stories through your characters. That’s the point of it all! The purpose isn’t to show off your figure drawing skills, but rather to make other people feel something through your character. Regarding personality; you can base your characters off of people you know! Don't just copy existing characters, you have an opportunity to bring your own story into your work rather than piggyback off of other work.
  • Week 7: Themes: This will cover the nature of themes as appropriate for any given story, it could range from fantasy, science fiction, steampunk, or anything you could think of.
  • Week 8: Final Discussion: Final discussion regarding the power of character design, and how you can use everything learned in this class as a starting point. Every assignment was dipping your toes into the pool, it is up to you to keep learning as much as you can, by putting a ton of focused mileage in the directions taught in this class. 

April 27th 2018 - June 30th 2018 + 4 weeks of content review

With a passion for travel, caffeine, volleyball, Tom Waits, and speaking in the a 3rd person vernacular, Brett currently free-lances, teaches, and lives with his wife Julie, a brilliant jewelry designer, in Pasadena, CA.His Client list Includes: Disney TV, Nickelodeon, Nerd Corps., Wizards of the Coast, Speakeasy, Space time Studios, Leap Frog, Rumble Inc., Gazillion Entertainment., Wowwee, Imagine FX and More.

Instructor's gallery:

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