Fundamentals of Character Design

An 8-week course for building foundational skills necessary for the design of appealing characters in film, games, animation, comics, and more

Course overview Course overview

Course Overview

Design your character's personality

This is a beginning character design course with an emphasis on creating memorable characters with interesting personalities & shapes to tell a story. The goal is to visually communicate our characters from life observations, reference, and our imaginations. As we continue the course, the students will get used to the idea of iteration and refinement in designs, better serving the story and direction. Exploration, getting out of your comfort zone, and visually communicating through drawing will be major components to our class.


Course Format:   Standard
Lecture Type:   Pre-recorded
Feedback:   Individual recordings
Duration:   8 weeks
Assignment:   Due each week. Expect to spend 8-10 hrs/wk viewing lectures, q&a, and time on assignments.
Q&A:   Once a week
Materials:   Photoshop (or equivalent) and Wacom tablet (or equivalent), sketchbook, pens & pencils, and scanner or camera to scan or photograph homework assignments
Skills level:   Intermediate
Prerequisites:   Dynamic Sketching 1 & 2 and Analytical Figure Drawing, or drawing portfolio review required

Fundamentals of Character Design WHAT YOU’LL LEARN

What you'll learn

The more you know, the better.

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Tools for the class: Your Brain, your attitude, and art supplies | Sketchbook as a journal and methodology (look draw) | Brief overview of the keys to drawing with volume. | Foreshortening, placement, shading, surface, size, countour, overlap, density, horizon, shadow, You-nique, Practice, and attitude.
Character-gesture | What is a gesture, how to go about finding one, and why it’s important to your character.
The idea behind shapes | How shapes define silhouettes | Understanding how the outside shell reflects what’s inside the character.
Line Weight | Symmetry vs. Asymmetry | Flow of Lines | Busy to Simple | Balance in Contrast | Balance in Color | Actual Balance | Artist Balance
How design decisions relate to each other. | To story, to self, to shape, to page | Positive negative space, props and cloth, archetypes
Expressing yourself, hands, feet, eyes, and mouth
Finding the Values in your Art
Color Theory and design decisions for your character

Bringing out the best in talent

After asking to be a drummer to his mother at an early age, Brett Bean was handed a piece of paper and a pencil because, It was more quiet, thus starting his slow descent into the seedy underbelly known as character design and visual development. Since those fateful years he's contributed to Film, TV, games both digital and analog, pitches, manuals, and books. With a passion for travel, caffeine, volleyball, Tom Waits, and speaking in the a 3rd person vernacular, Brett currently free-lances, teaches, and lives with his wife Julie, a brilliant jewelry designer, in Pasadena, CA. His Client list Includes: Disney TV, Nickelodeon, Nerd Corps., Wizards of the Coast, Speakeasy, Space time Studios, Leap Frog, Rumble Inc., Gazillion Entertainment., Wowwee, Imagine FX and More.


July 15th!

summer TERM Registration

May 6, 2019 - Jul 22, 2019




July 15th!

Pricing & Schedule

Even though our courses are the most affordable for the quality of education.

These Finance Options allow you to focus on your goals instead of the barriers that keep you from reaching them.

Employer Reimbursement

Animation Guild CSATTF

Payment Plan

Companies that hire our students

  • Naughty Dog
  • Luma Pictures
  • Google
  • EA Games
  • DreamWorks Animation
  • Blizzard Entertainment

environment design Benefits


What makes this learning experience unique?

Personal Feedback

Receive personal individual feedback on all submitted assignments from the industries best artist.

1+ Year Access

Enjoy over 365 days of full course access. This includes all lectures, feedback, and Live Q&A recordings.

Certificate of Completion

Earn a Certificate of Completion when you complete and turn in 80% of course assignments.

Flexible Learning

Learn anywhere, anytime, and at your own pace with our online courses.

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