Art School Boot Camp: Designing Quirky Characters

Christine Nishiyama, Illustrator/Writer at Might Could Studios

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6 Videos (13m)
    • What's Character Design?

    • Speaking with Shape Language

    • Checking Strength with Silhouettes

    • Case Study: Shape Language in Animation

    • The Fine Details

    • Project Assignment


About This Class

What makes a character look like a good guy? A bad guy? The comic relief? The love interest? A character design is different than just a drawing of a person. A “character” must be dynamic enough to tell a story about who that person is. The viewer must be able to connect with the character and understand who they are at a base level just by how they look.

This class will focus on using shape language to draw characters that communicate personality, story, and emotion rather than focusing on drawing perfect anatomy. We’ll be developing unique and expressive characters by speaking visually with shape language.


Shape language is how basic shapes (whether in character design, fine art, or any other application) can communicate aspects of mood, personality, and story. Understanding how shape language works gives you a starting point for drawing characters, as well as depth and meaning to your final character design.

By the end of the class, you’ll have your own new character design for use in whatever you like to create whether it be books, comics, video games, or just random doodles!


156 of 163 students recommendSee All

The teacher is approachable and knowledgeable. I like how she used an analysis of characters' shapes using the basics given and how they work together when combined. Very well done!
you are such a great teacher, so clear and detailed. thank you so much for the written texts also :)
Excellent class – tanks a lot!
Monika Zwiefelhofer

Passionate Graphic- & Webdesigner





Christine Nishiyama

Illustrator/Writer at Might Could Studios

Christine Fleming is an illustrator and writer working out of Atlanta, GA. She graduated from North Carolina State University with a BFA in Graphic Design, and is now working as an author/illustrator creating picture books, graphic novels, and editorial work.

Christine is represented by Danielle Smith at Red Fox Literary, and is an active member of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) where she was awarded the honor of SCBWI Illustrator of the Month after attending the SCBWI National Conference in New York.

Check out Christine's 12+ other classes to further explore her illustration process!

To follow her work you can view her portfolio at, and around the internet: Twitter  /  Instagram  /  Pinterest  /  Facebook

And get a FREE comic making guide here!