Intro to Character Design

Concept Art and Illustration > Intro to Character Design

    Teacher Information

    Christophe Young is a concept artist and illustrator who specializes in creating stunning, unique and sometimes terrifying characters that create a strong emotional resonance with the audience. During his freelance career, Christophe has produced artwork for a variety of clients, including for board games and novel covers, most notably the Tales of Terror series. Christophe currently works as a concept artist at Behaviour Interactive where designs the iconic characters for the wildly popular multiplayer horror survival game Dead by Daylight.

    Course Outline

    Week 1 - Learn the essential character design principles of cohesiveness, balance, contrast, visual rhythm and sizing so you create high quality, vibrant and engaging characters. Become proficient in efficiently gathering reference material and creating your reference boards so you can generate ideas and use them for guidance and inspiration during your character design process.

    Week 2 - Gain a deeper understanding of all the steps involved in the character design process. Learn how to quickly create multiple interesting silhouette and 3-tone studies of your character so you can choose the best option for your art director and develop it further.

    Week 3 - Learn how to transform the key shapes and forms from your reference into into actual features on your character such as body shape, clothing, tools, weapons, etc., by using the correct values to create the desired forms so you can depict believable characters with multiple attributes.

    Weeks 4 - 6 - Become proficient in colour theory and posing so you can design multiple vibrant colour variations, establish the signature pose and add subtle personality traits for your title character. Learn to properly indicate material textures so your character looks realistic and believable.

    Weeks 7 - 8 - Gain the skills essential in indicating the timeline, styling and behavioral traits of your character so you can design characters for all eras and genres. Learn how to compile an effective visual library that can be used as a reference to establish and refine all aspects of your character’s look, signature pose and unique personality.

    Weeks 9 - 10 - Learn to create professional character sheets and turnarounds for your concept so it can be properly integrated into an entertainment product. Become proficient in rendering, polishing and adding the finishing touches to your character concept, paying special attention to values, edges, colours and details of materials. Finally, combine all that you have learned to complete a stunning portfolio piece and learn how to present it in a professional way so you can showcase your skills and get noticed.


    Thursdays from 6:30 PM to 9:30 PM

    Date of first class: January 17th

    Duration: 10 weeks

    Language: English

    You can register at the bottom left of this page.

    This class is full. Please send an email to [email protected] to be on the waiting list.
    You can also check out our Character RenderingProp and Vehicle DesignIntro to Environment Design and Composition, Lighting and Illustration classes.


    Do you feel your characters lack personality? Do you wish to create characters that are distinct and believable? Top concept artists create iconic and convincing characters that enhance the storyline and strike an immediate chord with the audience.

    In this introductory class, you will learn a step-by-step method for developing top quality character concepts that evoke the desired emotions while integrating seamlessly with the overall art direction. At every step, you will receive feedback from the instructor to help refine your character design process.

    You will gain expertise in applying essential design principles in your workflow so you can create characters that are of the highest quality. Reference boards act as a source of idea generation and inspiration during any artwork creation process. You will develop the skills required to efficiently gather your own references and create your own reference boards so you can continue to generate more ideas and use it to guide you as you design your characters. You will acquire the skills required to create thumbnails to explore multiple compelling options for your characters so you can arrive at the best possible final version of your concept.

    Shape language plays an important role in determining your character’s physical and personality traits. You will become proficient in shape language so you can determine and effectively communicate your character’s personality to the audience in the most efficient manner. You will also gain expertise in creating multiple interesting colour variations so your characters can appear vibrant and stunning. In addition, you will develop an in depth understanding of posing so you can establish your character’s signature pose, qualities and personality traits. Finally, you will gain expertise in modifying behavioural traits, costumes and accessories and physical features so you can customize your character to suit any era, genre or timeline.

    By the end of this course, you will have learned a powerful set of methods and techniques that will allow you to create original, iconic and convincing characters to fit any story. Furthermore, you will learn to work within constraints and follow art direction like a pro in addition to creating portfolio worthy character designs that you can be proud of!


    This class is for people with some experience in realistic style drawing and painting and basic skill in Photoshop. 

    You should have completed at least some intermediate level drawing and basic painting courses (or have equivalent experience in drawing and painting realistically through the use of proper perspective, proportions, shading and colour). If you do not have the required skill in drawing and painting, it is suggested that you take our Foundations of Painting class and some intermediate level drawing classes such as Analytical Sketching and Drawing the Human Form.

    This is a class designed for people who have already taken our Digital Painting course or are aware of advanced photoshop techniques.

    You also need to have a laptop with Photoshop installed and a tablet sensitive to pen pressure (such as a Wacom tablet). Or you need a tablet-computer with Photoshop installed that is sensitive to pen pressure (such as the Cintiq Companion). And you need to have some basic skills in Photoshop and be comfortable drawing and painting in Photoshop and know how to use layers and the basic tools (all things you can learn quickly with free tutorials online).

    Language requirements: You need at least intermediate level English to take this class (the teacher will use many visual examples and there will usually be students in the class who speak French and can help you if you don't understand something)


    Due to popular demand, we expect this class to fill up very fast! $470  $430

    Late registration still available for this class if there is a "Register Now" button below.


    • Learn a powerful step by step method to develop quality character concepts that evoke the desired emotions from the audience
    • Gain expertise in shape language so you can efficiently communicate your character’s personality
    • Become proficient in essential thumbnail creation techniques so you can visualize multiple variations of your characters and arrive at the best possible version

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