Digital Art & Animation: Character Design Course
Autumn Clubs The cove
The Cove @ Edge, Musselburgh
August 31st - November 2nd
Weekly for 10 weeks
This plan below details the weekly sessions of the 10-week, 1 hour 30-minute character design workshop programme.
Session total: 1hr 30min
WEEK 1: Introductory Session
• Students introduction to tutors.
• Showcasing some of tutor’s own work and background.
• Introductory presentation on character design, briefly outlining what character design is, its uses and what character designers do- character turnarounds, expression sheets, exploration sheets. Also discussing its importance within all facets of animation/comic/film/television.
• Introduce students to a few character design icebreakers, get them playing exquisite corpse, drawing within the shapes to create characters, etc
• Overview of what will be happening during subsequent weeks.
• Ask students to think of a story or game they would want to make a character for, think about a character that they could create for this. This could perhaps include an existing game/film/animated world.
(Students will be given an optional brief at this stage, to help generate ideas for characters)
WEEK 2: Initial Character Creation
• During this session, we will be looking at the techniques of using shapes, proportions, and clear silhouettes within character designs.
• Then we shall look at the work of an individual character designer who utilizes these techniques in their work, looking at examples also.
• The students will be asked to complete an exercise involving said topic, producing several different characters using only shapes.
• Time in the second half of the session will be given to the students to begin to design their individual characters.
• Each student will be asked to make a small list outlining their characters background- what/who are they? Where do they come from? Do they have any powers/weapons? Are they good, evil, happy, or sad? E.c.t.
• The rest of the session will be spent letting the students sketch/thumbnail out their initial character designs.
WEEK 3: Character Reference and Research
• This week will be discussing the importance of using reference to inform a character design as well as drawing from life.
• Students will be given the task of choosing a reference image of an animal of their choice, drawing this animal, and then utilizing design elements of the real animal within a character design of an alien.
• The rest of session will be spent focusing on student’s individual characters.
• Students will be asked to begin to create mood boards, collecting and research their characters backgrounds, really any images/pictures/videos that relate to their characters- i.e., if a character is a crab, collect pictures of real life and fictional crabs- then draw that crab!
WEEK 4: Exploring the Style and Design of a Character
• This week session will be focusing on getting the students to try different styles and mediums when producing their character designs.
• Firstly, we will look at examples of different ways to draw characters, referencing multiple different characters and character designers.
• An exercise involving drawing different styles of the same object or character will be given.
• Then we will move onto looking at the use of minimalist pallets, different line types, reference/photographs, and using textures within a character design.
• This will be followed by a brief activity involving said techniques, as students will be asked to redraw their individual character design 3 times, each will be drawn using a different style and medium.
• The rest of the student’s session time will be spent further developing and finishing up their own characters design.
WEEK 5/6: Character Turnarounds
• In these sessions we will be introducing students to character turn arounds using their own characters.
• A presentation will be given discussing why these are important, what they are used for and how they are made, referring to various examples.
• Students will be asked to produce their own turn arounds with the characters they have made.
WEEK 7/8: Character Pose Sheets
• Over the course of weeks 7 and 8, we shall be looking at different ways to create a character pose sheet, also focusing on utilizing the important techniques of a characters “line of action” and posing.
• Students will be given a presentation on what character pose sheets are, what they are used for, and given examples of how they are used. Sessions time will be spent letting students create their pose sheets with their individual characters.
WEEK 9: Character Expression Sheets
• In this week we will be looking at expression sheets, explaining what they are, why they are useful and allowing students to create their own for their characters.
• A presentation will be given looking at different types of expression sheets and examples of how they are laid out.
• Examples of expressions as prompts for students own characters will be given.
WEEK 10: Character Review
• The initial portion of this session will be spent allowing students to finish up any part of their character sheets they need to finish.
• A final presentation will be given, looking at each student’s individual work and allowing for discussion about how they found the process. (This can be done either individually or as a group.)
• Students will be given away further character design resources at the end of the session.
What student will take away from this course:
• The ability to design their own unique characters and have the knowledge and steps required to present these in a professional manner.
• Have a character that is fully realized and is accompanied by a character mood board, turnaround, pose, and expression sheets, that can be used as part of a portfolio or application.
• Have key knowledge of a range of various important character designers and know how to reference and collect images/videos/designs for the creation of mood boards to develop a character.
• Be able to challenge their own initial character designs and try new mediums and styles, as well as apply techniques that will allow for the creation of cleaner and more cohesive designs.
Every week you will be given your own tablet to work from within the session.
Travel to and from The Cove.
Just bring your creativity and banter.
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