|Nothin' Personal by Andrea Torrejon|
Character Design is an 8 week evening class taught by the very talented Andrea Torrejon, lead designer at Passion Pictures on the new Disney TV Series "101 Dalmation St".
Like all of our courses, this class is taught by a working industry professional; Andrea will guide students through the principles of character design, building up to a live industry brief.
Learning character design isn't just about drawing cool characters; it is also about learning what the industry actually needs from a character designer - turnarounds, model packs and an animation "bible".
|"101 Dalmation St"|
Character design is one of the most demanding and interesting - but also one of the most competitive - parts of the pre-production process.
Character designers work closely with the producer and director to determine the look and feel of a project. Design a character for a blockbuster project and your work can have enduring global appeal.
Our character design evening class is taught by Andrea Torrejon, who worked at Passion Pictures as in-house designer on the Disney TV Series "101 Dalmation St", working at Passion Pictures in Soho.
Prior to that, Andrea did character model sheets and turnarounds for the Angry Birds TV series, and Angry Birds: Stella. She's also a great teacher, who gets excellent reviews from our students. "Andrea was fantastic, very motivating and knowledgeable" - is a typical review of her teaching style.
Where and when
|Model pack for Angry Birds by Andrea Torrejon|
Job Opportunities for Character Designers
Character design is one of the most competitive but also one of the most rewarding parts of the pre-production process. Studios are always on the look-out for fresh talent, scouring Tumbler sites for a fresh vision and a new look.
Successful character designers are much in demand and can also often work from anywhere in the world. Entry level positions in the industry tend to focus on more junior roles, such as designing props and sets, and making model packs for the CG modeling department.
How it all works
Character design involves 8 classes of 3 hours on Monday evenings. The first hour and a half of the class is typically about the theory of character design. After that, students have a break, then they get about one hour for a practical exercise. There is also time in the first half to review the homework together.
|Designs for "Stella" by Andrea Torrejon|
There is usually one homework exercise, focused on that evening's class.
Week 1- Moodboards and the importance of research.
Week 2 - Characters from the inside, Psychology, logic and their universe.
Week 3- Characters from the outside, Silhouette, line of action
Week 4 - Body language and expressions.
Week 5 - Costume design and costume language.
Week 6 - Creature design. Fear and tenderness.
Week 7- Colour and BG. Beat boards. Light and shadow.
Week 8- Modelsheets. How to prepare a character design bible for animation, outsourcing and videogames, and a pitch for comic publishing.
|Character Designs by Andrea Torrejon|
Once the month is over, students pitch their final projects.
The skills we're looking for in prospective students
We're looking for students with a passion to draw, design and create characters. Character design necessarily includes a certain level of competence as a draughtsman, so we look for drawing skills as a good starting point.
How the course will help students in their career
We don't pretend that an evening class of 8 sessions can take a student from zero to hero, but we do believe in the importance of creating a portfolio of work that is aimed towards what studios are actually looking for. This includes the nuts and bolts of model packs, turnarounds, and a full-service approach to character design that makes a student studio-ready. Andrea is a seasoned pro who is in a position to guide our students and make sure that their work is good enough to make them hireable.
To get an idea of what's involved, watch the free video below, a brief introduction to the art and craft of character design. The webinar is about the general principles of character design, and also shines a light on the creation of the characters in Queen's Counsel, the cartoon strip that I have been writing and drawing in The Times newspaper since 1993.
To see more about the character design course, read this post. And to read an interview with Andrea, and see more of her work, follow this link.
We recommend these books
1. How to Draw and Paint Crazy Cartoon Characters: Create Original Characters with Lots of Personality Paperback – March 1, 2007 - by Vincent Woodcock
2. Creating Characters with Personality: For Film, TV, Animation, Video Games, and Graphic Novels by Tom Bancroft.
To see the official course page, follow this link.
The Escape Studios Animation Blog offers a personal view on the art of animation and visual effects. To apply for our BA/MArt in 3D Animation, follow this link. To apply for our storyboarding evening class, visit this page here. For the next 12 week animation course, click here. And to apply for the next evening class in Producing Animation, see this page.