Beginning Character Design Class

  • Hello All!

    I'm Anna- the instructor for the new character design class that just dropped on SVS today!
    I would love to see your character design before and after taking the class.
    If nothing else, I just want to see more of your awesome work!

    I would also love to paint the characters that I designed during the class, so I'll see you again in the next week to update this thread.

    I hope you like the class!

  • Hi Anna, I’m really excited to start this class. I just started in illustration January 2020 (more fine arty type stuff before that) so I found it hard to get my creative brain away from being married to reference photos. I’m getting there slowly! I haven’t been doing a ton of character design per se as I’ve been just working on fundamentals such as perspective and just learning digital art etc....but have thrown some characters into my art and I just finished the gesture drawing class which is helping me get into thinking about characters for sure! Here are a few from gesture drawing that I tidied up a bit more and also a few that I had in some finished pieces. And I’m starting to practice horses as well, still leaning towards realism in that lol and I find my illustrated ponies are looking a little Weird lol. I think I always drew animals and not so much people, but I felt like trying to get into picture books my people needed work so I kind of let my animals slide until recently. Trying to work on both now!
    I’m starting your course today and will try to do lots of practice as I go along.
    C11C1CFB-BA7B-415C-9859-B877A7E8C04E.jpeg 10794D65-3881-491B-B7AB-DDD7AE8D4C3B.jpeg C12EA823-0D8D-485C-8A36-58E9BC47B9FF.jpeg

  • Hey Anna!
    Really looking forward to beginning your class, and learning more about how to improve one's character design skills!

    Here's some samples of work that include characters that I've designed.


  • Hi, Anna
    I just started watching your class. It is fantastic. I am really excited to do more character design as it is one of the things I am focusing on improving at this moment.
    Here are some character sketches I did to explore a couple stories I am writing at this moment.
    Untitled_Artwork 4.jpg

    Untitled_Artwork 6.jpg

  • @AnnaDaviscourt I started this class almost as soon as it dropped, because my June contest entry had no character design whatsoever:

    So along with adding buildings I will redo the characters in that one once I do the class assignments. There will be a pretty clear before and after, something I think will help me stick to this process and do it endlessly, like you recommended.

    For the class assignment I decided to mix the shapes of flowers with the fashion of the French Revolution (the incroyables and merveilleuses, so a more rebellious version of the fashion we see in Jane Austen movies), and in the setting of a French garden. I hope you don't mind if I post my lineup for assignment 2:

    Of course they aren't quite right! But I thought it would be a good idea to post a beginning stage like this as a statement to my future self not to worry about what the beginning looks like. See, future self? nothing disastrous happened because of your bad first draft.

  • I’m finished! Sort of lol. Maybe I’ll work em over a bit later, I think maybe paint them at some point.
    Boy, did I ever learn a. Lot! Going to be doling a lot of this shape based character designs. I’m totally absolutely hooked now in a way I wasn’t before! I totally got lost in my last one, Maurice.
    So,this was work before the class ....
    I hadn’t even heard of a lineup before this class haha
    Class work....

    Maurice’s head is a bit bigger, but when I put him same size head, he was super teeny! Maybe I should shrink his head or just have him be super teeny.....of course Beast has a bigger than average head anyhoo......
    Better view Of the characters perhaps?

  • @AnnaDaviscourt This was such a brilliant class! I hardly ever do the assignments but this one I just HAD to try! I cheated a little and only did 2 characters though 😅 But the process was so great and I learned a lot, thank you!

    I chose Belle and the Beast to work on. Firstly, I struggled a lot just to get the already imprinted Disney characters out of my mind. It still shows in the final drawing, but I think it may be easier when doing original characters.

    So anyway, to get me out of the box, I switched up their genders and use the same 17th-century French era. I also didn't name the characters right at the beginning to refrain from drawing out of memory. I just called them character #1 and #2 (just like Anna did in her demo).


    The important thing was to keep referring back to the keywords with every stage.




    I also struggled with making the beast look feminine but also beastly. But I think the eyes/hair and dress helped.




    Final character sketch!


    This was a super fun assignment and the step by step process really helped. I love drawing characters but I've never built it up like this before so I'm excited to experiment with proportions and exaggerations to create more appealing characters!
    Any feedback on the steps or final sketch is welcome! 🙂

  • @xin-li Im really liking your character designs and the black and white sketches look great.

  • @Neha-Rawat omg! Belvin and Beastine they look so so adorable!! im so in love with your final character sketch! Its super fresh, funny and lovely at the same time!

  • Thank you @Freya-Chakour 🙂 It was fun to work on!

  • I pray everything is well with everyone. This class is a joy throughout my day. I figured I’d go ahead and post my first two assignments (with upcoming updates). The era is 1600-1730 and I thought it would be cool to move the beast onto a pirate ship, make him a pirate bound to his ship, and changing the wolf like beast to a sea creature beast.

    What will be challenging would be to avoid the image of Daley Jones from the pirates of the Caribbean.

    The first image is assignment #1 reference gathering. I really dig these picture, however I recognize that I could run into a problem using concept art and not actual references.


    The second image is assignment number #2. This was my first time actually doing this haha I know that’s 😜. It was a load of fun.


    Update: assignment three proportion both head and body


    Update: assignment #4 costume and character design.






    I hope you enjoy. Thank you for allowing me to share my work. Much love. ☝🏽

  • Really enjoying the techniques in this class so far. Playing with proportions isn’t something I normally push far enough if I do it at all. My comfort zone is definitely medium head, large body, small legs 😅

    Here are some older characters I have drawn: B4B78AF1-2BEB-452B-BC78-883636484202.jpeg

    And here is my classwork so far:

  • I worked on the costumes and then took a break for a little while. The circled ones were my favorites.


    Then I did a final lineup and practiced coloring with it.


    This turned out a lot better than I was expecting and I feel like this method will definitely help me in the future. Especially the proportion and shape pushing!

  • @xin-li love the black and white with rainbow colors 😍looks so fun to play with

  • @carolinebautista aaaah, the colors are so nice!

  • Untitled-1.jpg SVS character designs.jpg
    I Loved your classes!
    Here are my little characters, I feel like I got too stiff when designing them. I guess when you try any new technique it takes a while to loosen up.
    So cool to see how everyone's characters turned out so uniquely.

  • hi Anna! Really fun assignment - thank you! I’ve learnt such a lot! Here’s some of the stages my characters went through.

    Belle and the Beast character dev.jpg

    Love seeing all the different characters on here - I'm particularly fond of Belvin and Beastine! 🙂

  • Hey all!

    I'm just now getting around to posting my Beauty and the Beast character designs. @AnnaDaviscourt's class was super informative and I learned so much!

    Everyone's versions are all so great! I wish we could have all taken the course together and watched the processes as we went.

    I decided that Belle and the town folk were trolls and that she finds the beast (a human) grotesque. 🙂 You can see a few of my process drawings below and then the final version at the bottom! Left to Right - "Stony" (Gaston), Bella (Belle), Mr. Bast (the Beast), Ms. Lumin (Lumiere), Maric (Maurice) and Worthsworth (Cogsworth).


    Line-up Process_sq.png

    Character Line-up_small.png

  • Moderator

    @AnnaDaviscourt I have a character design question regarding turnarounds, or 360 views of the characters. I just finished designing 5 characters for a book dummy project. And part of the project is to provide turnarounds of the characters for the potential client. My question is how do YOU approach this step? Do you even do turnarounds and if so do you draw them straight on or do you draw them dynamically showing more of the characters personality. I drew mine straight on and they are boring as jello without whip cream on top. I thought maybe next time I do this i would draw them more dynamically, but wasn't sure what the protocol was professionally. Can you shed some light on this?

    Thank you,

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