Art of Animation 101: Introduction to Character Design
Be a character designer for comics, video-games or film!
This is where it all really begins. Every animated or illustrated story begins with a character. It is your character’s journey that pulls your viewer in and resonates with your audience. As such, designing great characters is essential to any animated or illustrated project (and many live action projects as well).
Developed by Andy Schmidt and Owen Welsh (Sims 2, Sims 3, MySims 3, Hellgate London, Halus), this six-week intensive class for character designers teaches you all the fundamental elements for not only designing characters but how to lay them out on a model sheets.
You’ll learn how to build unique, expressive, and powerful characters using the techniques that professional animators use.
You’ll get access to all the tools of the trade, tips on how to break in, and you’ll be working with Owen on your model sheets for the class. During the course, you will design a single character, including a turn-around model sheet and an expression sheet—and rework them with the instructor’s advice. If you’ve ever dreamt of designing your own characters, this class is for you!
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- It meets between 9 and 11 pm ET, for six weeks.
- You will learn from professional character designer Owen Welsh (Sims 2, Sims 3, MySims 3, Hellgate London, Halus).
- You’ll get Owens’s lessons and lectures and discussions!
- You will pencil 2 two model sheets, Turn Around & Expression.
- You will keep a sketch thread throughout the course to practice the skills discussed in class and provide a place for further instruction and critiques.
- You’ll watch in real time as Owen draws 3/4ths view of the character for the turnaround sheet and how to draw facial expressions.
- You also get exclusive access to a dedicated class member-only online forum.
- You’ll have access to recordings of any class in the series for the duration of the class and a few weeks after its conclusion—so you never have to miss a class!
- Class size is limited to keep it awesome!
Owen Welsh has been working in the video game industry for the past 13 years for companies like EA, Flagship Studios and Qalang. He is most known for his character models on the Sims 2, Sims 3 and MySims franchises. Upon completing his B.A.S in Digital Visual Media at Expression college he immediately began working on properties for Electronic Arts.
During his tenure he has explored concept art, character design, 3D modeling, animation, visual effects and UI. Recently he’s completed a comic book and video game for Qalang called Halus & Hotstone. Additionally he’s contributed visual effects to Don Bluth’s Dragon’s Lair feature film pitch. Currently he’s working on a new comic for Qalang and a children’s book.
Along with his digital graphics career, Owen has studied under master animator and draughtsman Don Bluth participating in workshops, short films and master classes. Combining his apprenticeship in traditional animation and professional experience, Owen began mentoring artists and offering private teaching classes which led to some artists behind hired at Qalang. Following Qalang, Owen joined Intel Studios to develop film VFX on the largest volumetric capture dome in the world.
Now, Comics Experience is pleased to be able to pass this special knowledge on to you!
The single best character design course on Earth! Or so we believe. Owen Welsh and Andy Schmidt co-developed this class to make sure you could learn everything we can possibly cram into six weeks.
Character Design is great, but what if I don’t know anything about drawing?
Have no fear, our courses are geared for the beginner as well as the experienced artist. Owen will take you through all the “foundational elements” upon which great character designers build their careers. And that starts with the principles of character design; understanding how the principles relate to each other is monumentally important.
If you feel you’d like to strengthen your illustration skills, feel free to check out our Illustration courses that are great for beginners and pros alike.
Wanting to work in comics, video games or animation is great, but what if I don’t know how to go about landing that job?
Our courses are geared for this exact purpose. No matter where you are on the spectrum, beginner as well as experienced artist, learning from someone who has achieved these same goals and can personally guide you is invaluable!
What do we do in this course?
Every student will be tasked with developing a brand new character. This begins with writing a character profile, then gathering research material and finally a character model sheet and expression sheet. While you can bring in characters you have already developed to the course and share them, the emphasis of the course is to develop a new character using the tools, principles and processes provided to prepare you for a professional career in pre-visual development.
And best of all, by the end of the course, you’ll wind up with model sheet and have a convention-ready portfolio geared specifically for the kind of work you want!
What if I don’t know Photoshop?
Don’t worry! This entire course can be completed with pencil, paper, ruler, erasers and some tape.
Do I need to know a whole lot about animation, comics, or video games?
Absolutely not. All Introduction courses are designed for total beginners and those seeking to improve their craft. The class has a quick pace, so if you’re very new, be prepared to work, but one thing we pride ourselves on at Comics and Screen Experience is our ability to teach to an individual’s skill level.
These courses aren’t about the instructor, and that’s why we keep them small. We have an excellent track record with our students, and it’s our top aim to keep it that way. So, new to animation? Come on in, we’d love to show you around! Old pro? Let’s sharpen those skills and learn a few new tricks! Everyone’s welcome, and the group learning will help everyone improve!
Do I need a light box?
If you are going to work traditionally with paper and pencil a light box can help you when you create your turn around sheet. It is possible to create a turn-around model sheet without a light box however it will be more difficult. If you have access to photoshop, that will help you greatly as well.
What if I miss a class?
All of our classes are recorded and available to view via streaming link for the duration of the course. And on top of that, you’ll have exclusive access to the Comics Experience forum set up just for the class. You’ll be able to interact with the rest of your class all week long at any time!
If I don’t live in the United States, can I still take the course?
You bet. We’ve had students jump in from Europe, Asia, Australia, and South America. Not Africa or Antarctica yet, but give us time! Some of these students have not been able to attend live, but they’ve viewed the recordings and interacted with their classmates online!
Learning about character design is great, but do we get any practical industry advice?
You’ll get a LOT of practical industry advice. Networking is one of our main topics in all of our introductory courses. It’s, simply put, essential for anyone who wants a career in comics. We discuss relationship building and ways to get your foot in the door and where to go to meet the right people and so on.
If I don’t want a career in animation, and just like making shorts or even just want to learn more about the art form I love, is this class right for me?
Sure it is! How better to expand your knowledge and understanding of animation than by engaging with creators? And that’s what most of our students are—they’re creators. It’s a great place to learn just for fun if you wish too. We’d love to have you!
How do I sign up?
Click on the Paypal button and you’ll get an email confirmation and instructions within two business days giving you everything you need to get started with the course.
There simply is no better Character Design course offered—on the Internet or live. This is the best—period. If you want to make comics for fun or become a pro, your comics career starts here. Go ahead and reserve your spot today! Space is limited.
To participate in our live online sessions you will need:
- A computer or mobile device that meets Go To Meeting’s minimum requirements
- to agree to the terms included in Comics Experience’s User Agreement.
- High-speed Internet access
- Headphones/ear buds with microphone (optional, but strongly suggested)
- A mind like a sponge!
In order to complete the work, the following system requirements are recommended:
If you are going to work traditionally (pencil and paper), then you will need the following:
- Flatbed Scanner: EXAMPLE
The darker the pencil lines the better your test will look. I like 2b pencils and Tombows have a nice dark lead.
- Kneaded Eraser (recommended for erasing pencils lines)
If you are going to work digitally (drawing in the computer), then you will need the following:
- Drawing Software: Photoshop CC (Creative Cloud) or TVPaint, etc. (need just one)
- At least a mouse, preferably a pressure sensitive tablet
- 1 Gigabyte of RAM