Learn how to develop memorable, believable characters for all types of illustration: cartoons, comics, feature animation, gaming, kid's books, and advertising.
- Hi, I'm Mary Jane Begin, illustrator, author, and professor at Rhode Island School of Design. As an illustrator, I've discovered that most of my best ideas, stories, and images start with story-telling, and the stories always seem to start with the characters. Developing good characters for any kind of project, designing a cast of characters for animation, superheroes for comics, or lovable personalities for books all require insight into character development.
In this course, I'm going to show you how to get to the heart and soul of the character, and demonstrate the methods for bringing it to life through exploration in things like body shape, posture, facial expression, proportion, color, movement, developing backstory, examining archetypes, and reviewing the kinds of famous characters, humanoid or beast, who captured our hearts. To help you sharpen your own skills at designing characters, I'm going to bounce between several of my book projects as well as share some of the work from a star-studded cast of illustrators from all corners of the marketplace.
Your character ideas are waiting to come to life, so grab a pencil and let's get started.
Mary Jane explains how the components of good character design can be broken down into concrete elements. She shows how body shape, posture, anatomy, facial expression, costume, color, movement, and abstract aspects like archetypes and environment bring a character to life. The lessons are illustrated with examples from Mary Jane's books, as well as famous, heart-warming characters created by a group of extraordinary character designers.
- Capturing the heart and soul of a character
- Using the right tools
- Relying on archetypes
- Adding motion
- Painting shapes and silhouettes
- Understanding anatomy and proportion
- Creating easy-to-read facial expressions
- Coloring your character
- Designing a cast of characters
- Making fantasy creatures believable
- Going from 2D to 3D