Designing Characters from a Storytelling Approach

Leo Matsuda, Story Artist at Walt Disney Studios

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9 Videos (1h 10m)
    • Greetings

    • "Line-work" Approach

    • Inspiration from Life

    • Research Exploration

    • Conclusions

    • Thumbnailing Your Ideas

    • "Line-work" Approach: Rough Pass

    • "Line-work" Approach: Final Pass

    • Final Thoughts


About This Class


Explore how Disney Story Artist and Director Leo Matsuda designs characters from a storytelling perspective.  In this 10 part class series, you'll learn Leo's approach to designing interesting, unique, and memorable characters that stand out.  Focusing on research and exploration, you'll see how your thought process can result in more appealing and complex characters.



38 of 40 students recommendSee All

Amazing class! Don't miss it!
Susana G.


I always created my characters without thinking about their story, so I am amazed at how much better a character design can turn out by simply putting it into a story. What can I say: when you get a Disney teacher, you know you're in for a treat!!
Razvan Ursan

Drawing is such a stress relief!

Leo's class is a step by step process as he explains how to approach a story idea. He explains how design is a significant necessity for a story, but in depth. I liked one of his approaches to obtaining a story with a sense of humor, which was to face "cheesy topics." So far, I like this class. It's fun.
Mina Martinez

Art Student





Leo Matsuda

Story Artist at Walt Disney Studios

I was born in Brazil and grew up in Sao Paulo. I attended Cal Arts, interned at Pixar and then lent my  talents to The Simpsons Movie. I joined Walt Disney Animation Studios in 2008 where I began storyboarding on Wreck-it Ralph. Most recently, I was part of the crew that crafted the story behind the Academy Award-Winner film Big Hero 6. In my role, I was responsible for visualizing and interpreting the director's vision from script to screen. I worked closely with the director, story team and writers to build the structure of the story and create an entertaining film.

Check out more of my work on my blog and my story portfolio. Look forward to many great stories and designs!