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…But what will our characters stand on?

In this second part to the Worldbuilding courses, we’ll be drawing and painting backgrounds to meet the unique needs of your story. Unlike Worldbuilding Part 1, we’ll be exploring perspective, value, shape, and even colour in this course. While the lines are the bedrock of the character design process, shape will be our primary tool in creating engaging, believable environments. On the topic of believability, research will even more important than in Worldbuilding I since we’ll be drawing different architecture, interiors, and also looking at natural shapes to deconstruct how they work, and how we can design them to work for us.

While I’ll be working digitally throughout this course, you may use whatever medium you prefer: pencil, pen, paint, marker, digital, etc.

Composition will also be much more prominent in this course. If you took Worldbuilding I, you will likely have a character design that you can place into the environments you create in this course.

I look forward to helping you develop your background designs!


Week 1 - A Study of Master Background Artists

In this introductory class, I will show you a variety of different professional background design, and deconstructing why they work so well. While we’re just getting out feet wet in this way of thinking of environments, I’ll be challenging you to find some background designs and to explain what you like about them and why. I will also sketch out the compositional elements on some of my favourite backgrounds, and you’ll be doing the same. This way, we can begin our course “standing on the shoulders of giants”.

Week 2 - Basic Perspective

In week 2, I’ll show you how perspective works, when it doesn’t work, and how you can bend the rules occasionally (especially useful for cartoon stylized designs). I’ll give you some tools that will help your drawings in perspective feel less rigid and tight, and more uninhibited and free. This is critical for many to be able to enjoy drawing environments, especially those that involve a lot of perspective such as cityscapes or scenes with a lot of geometric objects. You’ll be be creating some basic drawings using these new tools.

Week 3 - Natural Perspective

Now we’ll be moving on to draw some natural scenes, but with some knowledge of perspective and depth in mind. We’ll discuss simplifying detail, arranging compositional elements of a scene, leaving appropriate amounts of space, and stylization when appropriate. You’ll then be tasked with creating your own natural scenes.

Week 4 - Intro to Character Design

This week, we'll be switching gears slightly, as Garth will demonstrate how he begins a typical character design process, beginning with the simplest "character story sketches" to encourage believability of personality before the character may even be established yet.

It may take some time before we have "found" our characters in our sketches, but this early process of rough sketching is absolutely critical.

Week 5 - Continued Character Design

Now that we've done some simple sketches, we'll now create some basic Character Profiles sheets to imagine exactly who our characters would be. This process helps make our drawn characters real personalities, not just two dimensional cartoons of real personalities.

After this, we will continue sketching and look for how we can push their designs to encourage the simple backstories and personality traits that we wrote about them.

Week 6 - Character Poses

This week, we'll be refining our sketches to a small series of character poses. Each one of these poses should demonstrate different aspects of our character's personality, and should be chosen very intentionally. These drawings will be the most complete that we've made so far in the course. Some degree of design variation in each of the poses is still allowed at this point.

Week 7 - Character Rotation

With some different character poses that have helped solidify the personality and believability of the characters, we'll move on to create a character rotation. We'll be drawing our characters in their "resting pose" from the front, three-quarter, side, back three-quarter views, and back views.

Garth will demonstrate this sometimes technical process, and once we've completed them Garth will put them into an animation software to test their consistency by making them turn.

Week 8 - Character Emotions

In our final week we'll be completing the last piece of the puzzle for our characters: their emotional ranges. The means drawing the busts of our characters exhibiting different emotions such as happiness, sadness, anger, embarrassment, and being surprised.

This will allow us to discuss various aspects of their facial anatomy, and how to use this anatomy to push their expressiveness.

You’ll leave this course with:

  • A better understanding of the various ways stories are constructed

  • Greater understanding of the pipeline used at an animation studio, specifically to create a feature film (though this method can be applied widely)

  • A variety of different tools to begin stories and designs for a large scale project

  • Methods for research to inspire your story and characters.

  • Confidence in sketching loosely to find character personalities

  • A complete knowledge of the expectations of a character designer

  • A list of new resources and artists to look into afterwards to inspire and encourage your artistic path

There are only 20 spots available in this course! And the early bird sale will be on until April 30th 2019!

How will the course work? What materials will I need?

This is an 8-week online course, so all you’ll need is a computer with internet access to receive the lessons (desktop or laptop), a camera or cell phone to photograph your drawings, and materials to create your artwork with.

The course consists of 8 extensive video lectures demonstrating each week’s assignment, and then a live online meet up where I’ll critique the work handed in by email. At this critique you’ll have the opportunity to ask me questions.

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Worldbuilding and Character Design 8-Week Class
250.00 300.00
  • Starting Monday May 6th 2019 this class will run for 8 weeks, ending on June 24th

  • Group meet-up at 7-8 pm beginning after first week

  • Online forum to discuss course content with peers

  • Will leave course with greater visual storytelling and character design skills

  • $15 is non-refundable, but the rest is

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