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Character Concept Design for Beginners

Design Characters for Games, Comics and illustration.
4.7 (28 ratings)
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587 students enrolled
Created by Rich Graysonn
Last updated 9/2016
$10 $125 92% off
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  • 16.5 hours on-demand video
  • 3 Supplemental Resources
  • Full lifetime access
  • Access on mobile and TV
  • Certificate of Completion
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This is the course for those of you that want to learn concept character design. This is not another “watch me draw” tutorial that does not help you  learn the process of character concept design. If you want to make games or comics or manga then you will need to learn how to design characters.

  • This is the course that you need if you want to learn to create characters for videogames and comics and animation. This is not an illustration course although you will be drawing a lot.
  • If you are ready to learn a process and workflow for designing  characters, then you can’t afford to pass up this course.
  • When you are finished with this course you will not only have a solid workflow and new skills , you will have the confidence to get things done.
  • Rather than trying to sell you, just take a look at what the course has to offer. I’m sure you will see the time and care that was taken to create this course for you. 
Who is the target audience?
  • This course is for any artist who wants to learn Character concept design
  • This course is also for any Graphic designer who wants to learn to create characters
  • This course is for anyone who is coming back to art after time away and wants to make characters
  • Any artist who wants to make their own game characters
  • Anyone with the desire to create their own comic book or graphic novel or manga characters
  • This is NOT for any artist or person looking for a quick tutorial. This is a concise course.
  • This is NOT for anyone that does not like to draw. You will be drawing a lot in this course.
  • This NOT an Anatomy course
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What Will I Learn?
Generate ideas for Characters
Quickly create thumbnails
Learn methods to refine designs
Create Turnarounds for presentation
Learn to design Scifi Armor
Learn to design Fantasy Armor
Learn to draw wrinkles and folds in clothing
Have a consistent workflow that will produce results in character design
View Curriculum
  • There needs to be some artistic ability of anyone taking this course.
  • Basic knowledge of create figures is helpful but not necessary
  • At some point you will need to have access to some art software.
  • A drawing tablet is very helpful at some point you need one.
  • You cannot draw with a mouse.
Curriculum For This Course
Expand All 98 Lectures Collapse All 98 Lectures 16:36:35
Introduction to Character concept Design
1 Lecture 09:05

This is an Introduction.

Preview 09:05
Before you Draw
7 Lectures 01:06:00

Is this for a Game or a comic? What is the setting? Is it fantasy or Sci Fi?  In this lecture I will get you to know exactly the what and why you are drawing these characters for.

Preview 13:31

In this section I will show you how to make a mind map to generate character ideas. It's easy and fun and is the first step to taking the pressure off of you so you can just design at the very height of your creativity. 

Brainstorming using a mindmap

We will refine the ideas and narrow down who the character is. You may already have a great idea for your main characters so I would suggest that you do this process for a secondary character or make a brand new one. 

refining the ideas

Use the character sheet provided in the section to finalize your character.

Using the Character Sheet.

The turnaround is an important part of knowing your character from front to back, literally. I will show you how to create a turnaround .


The colors you character wears can say volumes about their personality and  alignment. Do not overlook this part of your design.

Color Thoery/Meaning and Character

This is the assignment to end this section and see how far you have come. Good luck.

Assignment 1
Using and Understanding Basic Shapes in Design
5 Lectures 29:48

Drawing a villain? Circle may not be you first choice. I will show you some of the characteristics to keep in mind. 

The Circle

The Square is a common used shape for a strong and steady character. This lecture will explore that. 

The Square

Almost always associated with the dark side. Let explore the triangle.

The Triangle

Sometimes shapes can be used as "language". They do not have to be traditional but can be a hybrid of shapes and even more organic to get the feel of a character.  

Abstract Shapes

This is the assignment to end this section and see how far you have come. Good luck.

Assignment 2
8 Lectures 59:54

In this we will discuss the different traits of the Heroic male character.

Protagonist Male

The heroic female is slightly different form her male counterpart. That difference can be vast or very slight. 

Protagonist Female

A male villain can be a very broad category. So in this I will discuss some of the attributes to keep in mind when designing you villain.  

Antagonist Male

Villain femle characters operate on a different level that males do. In this lecture I will give you some things to thing about. 

Antagonist Female

The mentor is a very popular character in countless stories. He or She is the guide and teacher usually someone older. 


Not every story has a sidekick. If you dont want your hero to go it alone then having that other person can be a welcome edition to your story.  


All good villians should have them. they come in all shapes and sizes. Ill show you how to create your own.  


This is the assignment to end this section and see how far you have come. Good luck.

Assignment 3
7 Lectures 01:17:17

You will learn what is a thumbnail and its function in your design pipeline.

Preview 06:55

You will have an overview of the most common approaches to thumb nailing. 

Styles to Use

I will show you a linear approach.

Using Lines to thumbnail

Here we will discuss using a silhouette. 

Starting with a Silhouette

I will demonstrate a more painterly approach.

Painterly approach

I show you how to use the symmetry tools in Sketch book pro and Manga studio.

Symmetry Tool for Thumbnailing

This is the assignment to end this section and see how far you have come. Good luck.

Assignment 4
How to Use Reference
4 Lectures 28:47

Places to go and some useful tools to gather reference. 

How to Gather reference

Some tips on organizing your images.

Where to keep and organize your reference.

This is a very important concept. You will learn to understand what you are referencing without copying. 

Understanding vs. Copying

This is the assignment to end this section and see how far you have come. Good luck.

Assignment 5
Refining Your Thumbnails
6 Lectures 01:17:53

This is an overview and introduction to just what it means to refine or "tighten" the thumbnails you create.

Intro to Refining your Thumbnails

If you are using silhouettes as your base, this is one of the many ways you can add detail to make something workable. Part one of three.   

Refining Silhouette Thumbnails part One

Part two of three.

Refining Silhouette Thumbnails part Two

Part three of three.

Refining Silhouette Thumbnails part Three

If using lines is how you create thumbnails then I will show you a process on how to tighten thumbnails until you get a workable design. 

Refining Linear Thumbnails

This is the assignment to end this section and see how far you have come. Good luck.

Assignment 6
8 Lectures 01:17:51

Turnarounds can be presented in many different ways. In this section you will learn the basics. 

Introduction to Turnarounds

For those who prefer traditional media. 

Traditional Turnaround 1

For those who prefer traditional media part 2.

Traditional Turnaround 2

Working digital . The initial sketch.

Digital Turnaround Sketch

Working digital . We will ink. 

Digital Turnaround Inks

Adding color.

Digital Turnaround Color

Time to use a different technique. See if you enjoy it. 

Digital Turnaround 3D model

This is the assignment to end this section and see how far you have come. Good luck.

Assignment 7
Background players NPC's
3 Lectures 28:51

Sho by the time you get here you will have a few rejected thumbnails. In this section I will show you how to leverage them.

Start with what you have

Time to use some reference to jot down some quick ideas.

Look at time Periods

More than just background noise and crowds. NPC's have jobs . I will show you how to build a library of them using what you already know.

Give them Jobs
How to Draw Wrinkles and Folds
6 Lectures 01:03:53

Ill go over some techniques in drawing wrinkles. Very Important in drawing clothing.

Drawing Wrinkles Intro

The basics of the fold. 

Simple Fold

Not all material is the same. I will give you some pointers on drawing a few different materials.

Drop Fold

A demonstration of the diaper or cape fold.

"Diaper" fold

The basics of the spiral fold.

Spiral Fold

The Basics on the Z or Zigzag fold.

Zig Zag Fold
5 More Sections
About the Instructor
4.6 Average rating
463 Reviews
4,375 Students
6 Courses
Illustrator Designer

Aside from being an artist as long as I can remember I started offering a few tutorials on Youtube. Little did I know that by teaching people the fundamentals of art and anatomy i'd begin a new dimension to my career. Being a working freelance illustrator with a youtube channel is hard work, and I wouldn't change a thing. I steadily expanded my work from clients who needed branding to doing work on indie games and apps. i enjoy helping artists and non artist achieve that next level. The road to artistic expression and freedom is paved with hard work and dedication. There are setbacks and monsters to slay , but the rewards are great.

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