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Art Direction for Character Designers

An 8-week course on adapting and designing characters for unique productions; learn what it means to be art directed as a professional character designer

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Course Categories
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Course Format:
Standard
Duration:
8 weeks
Materials:
Photoshop (any), Wacom tablet or equivalent
Lecture Type:
Pre-recorded
Assignment:
Due each week. Expect to spend 8-10 hrs/wk viewing lectures, q&a, and time on assignments.
Skills Level:
Advanced
Feedback:
Individual recordings
Q&A:
Once a week
Prerequisites:
Character Design for Production
Course Format:
Standard
Duration:
8 weeks
Materials:
Photoshop (any), Wacom tablet or equivalent
Lecture Type:
Pre-recorded
Assignment:
Due each week. Expect to spend 8-10 hrs/wk viewing lectures, q&a, and time on assignments.
Skills Level:
Advanced
Feedback:
Individual recordings
Q&A:
Once a week
Prerequisites:
Character Design for Production
Course Format:
Standard
Duration:
8 weeks
Materials:
Photoshop (any), Wacom tablet or equivalent
Lecture Type:
Pre-recorded
Assignment:
Due each week. Expect to spend 8-10 hrs/wk viewing lectures, q&a, and time on assignments.
Skills Level:
Advanced
Feedback:
Individual recordings
Q&A:
Once a week
Prerequisites:
Character Design for Production
COURSE OVERVIEW
COURSE OVERVIEW
WHAT YOU'LL LEARN
EXPAND ALL COLLAPSE ALL

The more you know, the better.

Week 1 | Line, Shape, & Color

Three of the biggest elements of design are line, shape, and color and in our first lecture, we focus on using all three to create our first designs of the semester. The concept here is trying to find the balance between letting certain details of your character be only described by line, others only by shape, and allowing color to help set the mood and tone of your character’s personality.

Week 2 | Characters & Their Pets

In our 2nd lecture, we explore the concept behind owners resembling the pets that they own. This idea can be a really fun way of thinking about similarities between people and animals and finding fun design elements to build off of. We will want to focus on design elements like hair, size, and also thinking about how a similar personality can be portrayed in to different characters.

Week 3 | Make Abstract...Not Abstract

An abstract shape or piece of line work on its own can be anything you want to imagine. But designing a character around abstract elements can ground that element and make is an abstract interpretation of a character’s features. For example, a squiggly line is just a squiggly line, but if you put it around a character’s mouth, now it’s a beard. This kind of design adaptability is critical in terms of thinking about different ways to vary up your design work.

Week 4 | Make the Gross...Cute

Designing gross and creepy characters is always fun, but when you have to design the gross to be cute and sweet, while still being gross, you have a real challenge on your hands. As designers, sometimes we have to make contradicting concepts work together, and in this case, we will be focusing on making two different designs different ideas work as one single design concept.

Week 5 | Characters & Advertising

As designers for animated projects, it’s very common that at some point in our careers we may design a character that advertises a product. And the more that we can think about why a certain character might be good to advertise a certain type of product, the better our design will play alongside the product it’s advertising.

Week 6 | Animated Title Sequence

One of the coolest aspects of movie making is designing a title sequence. It’s usually stylistically bolder than the movie, but still shares the same design language. And when a title sequence showcases a stylized version of the main character from the film /TV show, then as designers we have to make sure that the character is recognizable, and the title sequence fits with the design of the film.

Week 7 | Bring Life to an UN-Living Object

In our 7th lecture, we take on the task of bringing life to an object that is not alive. And by this, we don’t mean zombies, but think about what an appliance would look like that came to life. What type of character would a fruit or vegetable be? Whatever isn’t living, it’s your challenge to make it a living, breathing character.

Week 8 | Rivals

One common element in movies, comics, & TV shows are the rivalries that exist between characters. Good vs. bad, hero vs. villain—there are hundreds of examples in thousands of movies. It’s these rivalries between the characters we love that make their stories and personalities stronger. And in many cases, it takes both characters to showcase that contrast which fuels the rivalry. In our final week of art direction for character designers, you are to design a rival for your character from Week 7.

Art Direction for Character Designers
WHAT YOU’LL LEARN
Instructor

Real heroes don't wear capes - they teach

Nate Wragg was born in Davis, CA in 1983. He took an interest in drawing and painting at an early age. After graduating high school, he studied animation and design at The California Institute of the Arts in Southern California. Since then, Wragg has gone on to work as an illustrator and designer on various projects-including Ratatouille, Toy Story 3 and Puss in Boots. He was one of the primary character designers on the Pixar Feature Toy Story 3. As well as designing characters, Nate was also the Production Designer of Pixar’s short film Your Friend the Rat and has been involved in designing several main title sequences, most notably the animated end titles for Ratatouille. Most recently he was the Production Designer on Captain Underpants.

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STUDENT INTERVIEWS
Imitation and the Art of Finding Your Style
Imitation and the Art of Finding Your Style
Embracing Change: Practicing New Styles for a Stronger Portfolio
Embracing Change: Practicing New Styles for a Stronger Portfolio
Fun With Form: Approaching New Challenges With a Pen and a Pun
Fun With Form: Approaching New Challenges With a Pen and a Pun
FALL TERM REGISTRATION
Jul 26, 2021 - Oct 11, 2021
ONLY
$699
COURSE BEGINS
January 24th

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Tegan Clancy

I liked how clear and constructive the feedback was.

Seven Jones

Nate Wragg is easily one of the best instructors I’ve ever had. He seems like a truly caring human being and a top level instructor. I would give him a 20 on a scale of 1-10.

Amber K

Nate Wragg is an incredible instructor and mentor. He has designed his courses to set his students up for success as character designers in the industry. I was hired for a job as a character designer while taking Art Direction for Character Designers, and I credit much of that to Nate’s classes and instruction.

Megan Perez

Great personality, very good at explaining things and helping us if we need it, and gives fun assignments.

Rosana Iarusso

Nate is one of the best teachers I’ve had. I really learned a lot and grew as an artist!

Bukela Campbell

He is a perfect mentor and I really enjoyed the learning path with Nate Wragg. I learned so much and he is really motivating in keeping up.

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BENEFITS
What makes this learning experience unique?
Personal Feedback

Receive personal individual feedback on all submitted assignments from the industry’s 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.

Art Direction for Character Designers
BENEFITS

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FALL TERM REGISTRATION
Jul 26, 2021 - Oct 11, 2021
ONLY
$699
COURSE BEGINS
January 24th
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