Detail Your Characters With Purpose

Brian Shepard, 2D Game Artist and Illustrator.

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9 Videos (32m)
    • Introduction

    • Your Assignment

    • A Vague Idea

    • Archetypes and Adjectives

    • How Many Leaves Are On A Tree?

    • Very Important Features

    • From Archetype To Individual

    • Focal Points and the Uncommon

    • Make A Mythical Creature


About This Class

Fantasy characters are designed in countless art styles, from the deceptively simple to the impossibly complicated. Many of us as artists may aspire to do the latter, but how do you decide which details are actually important, and which ones will be forgotten mere minutes after the viewer has looked away? This course explores the reasons why some characters are heavily detailed with realism in mind, while others are deliberately abstracted to as few details as possible.

We'll be examining the designs of some characters who may be familiar to you, and some whom you may not have heard of, in order to understand their defining visual traits. The course will teach you to focus on communicating important visual information in your own characters, and how an adjective-noun-verb formula can help you build them from the ground up.

The class is built for beginners, so I invite you to join me even if you've never picked up a pencil before now. I'll be using Adobe Photoshop and my trusted drawing tablet, but the concepts we'll be learning can be applied to pretty much any drawing medium. We're focusing more on ideas and the "why" more so than the proper way to draw a realistic human (though there's plenty of good study material out there for that too). That said, I hope you'll follow along drawing exercises and sketch ideas as they come to you.

This is the final installment of a 5 part series on character design and art style. If you haven't already, I'd suggest checking out the previous courses on shape language, color theory, proportion, and line quality.

17 of 17 students recommendSee All

A really good foundation to help you get into a creative flow of character building and designing.
Stephanie VB

Crafter, Writer, Artist.

Anyone who wants more skills in developing characters will benefit from this class. Excellent - and fun - practice exercises plus an assignment that offers great scope for imagination. Even though the models are done digitally, exercises can easily be done with pencil or pen and sketchpad.
Very good explainations!
Bela Campbell






Brian Shepard

2D Game Artist and Illustrator.

A slightly-above-average illustrator and character designer for video games. Trying to improve my understanding of character design, storytelling, and how we culturally respond to visual cues like shape and color in everyday situations. Making an effort to help anyone else who wants to learn the same things!

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