Rai Fiondella

Freelance Illustrator

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Introduction to Character Design: Drawing a Unique Cast


Want to take this class? Join with my referral link, here!

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About This Class:

Those successful, dynamic characters that exist in your favorite comic books, video games, cartoons, and animated movies were born from the imaginative minds of creative people—like you! Anybody can illustrate their own unique, original characters once the fundamentals of anatomy, shape, gesture, expression, personality, and silhouette are understood. 

Whether you are a professional illustrator or are just getting started and are looking to expand your skills, this class will ensure that you acquire the necessary expertise in order to begin bringing your original characters to life on paper. You will learn what it takes to guarantee your story's cast is interesting and diverse, as well as the do's and don't's of designing a successful character. 

Rai will teach you the following:

  • The basics of anatomy and proportion, and how to simplify it for successful stylization of features
  • How to make your characters exude personality through expression and gesture
  • Tips on how to keep your cast of characters diverse through shape and silhouette
  • How to construct character sheets, expression sheets, and cast sheets

You will leave this class not only confident in your ability to conceptualize characters for your own original stories, but also being able to distinguish what makes a character in media successful or not.

For more information about each what each section of this class will be teaching, check out this Class Outline!

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Class Project

Your job is to design 4 diverse characters based on any 4 planets in our solar system. Sounds cool, right?

Use the properties of your chosen planets—environment, temperature, size, color, etc—to inspire your designs and diversify your characters.

In order for you to create a successful cast, it is important to challenge yourself to make each of your characters' silhouettes and personalities unique. Highlighted in this Google Doc is a step by step process on how to craft your characters, from listing out features, to thumbnailing your ideas, to finalizing your designs on character sheets.

You may also find it helpful to search for character design examples online, or information about the planets you are using. There are no limits! Just create and have fun.

Deliverables

  • 4 separate character sheets of each character you have designed based off the planets
  • 1 character cast sheet showing all 4 characters standing beside one another to showcase their differences
  • You may also post sketches of your process, expression sheets, and other experiments regarding this project! Note that asking for critique and feedback is essential to developing a successful character.

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Recommended Books

  • Anatomy for the Artist by Sarah Simblet
  • Bridgman's Life Drawing by George B. Bridgman
  • Constructive Anatomy by George B. Bridgman
  • Making Comics by Scott McCloud (this book highlights the importance of expression in characters!)
  • Concept Art books (Disney, Pixar, Dreamworks, and even specifics like Big Hero 6 and The Legend of Korra concept art books are exceptional, and give insight to many of the steps their characters took through their development.)

Examples of Character Design Artists

Helpful Images

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Disney's Aladdin

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Disney's Big Hero 6

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Pixar's Ratatouille

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Greg Weisman's Young Justice

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Disney's Big Hero 6

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