Monday, 18 June 2018

Character Design Returns on 29 October

Character Designs by Andrea Torrejon
Our popular Character Design Evening Class is returning to Escape Studios on Monday 29th October 2018.

Character Design is an 8 week evening class, running until 17th December, taught by Andrea Torrejon, veteran of Angry Birds, and in-house designer at one of London's leading boutique animation houses, Passion Pictures.

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.

Model pack for Angry Birds by Andrea Torrejon
What's this about?
Character design - one of the most demanding and interesting - but also competitive - parts of the pre-production process.

What do character designers do?
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.

Course tutor
Designs for "Stella" by Andrea Torrejon
Our character design evening class is taught by Andrea Torrejon, who (amongst many other projects) did the character model sheets and turnarounds the 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
Character Design Starts 29 October and runs until December 17th at our mid-town campus at 190 High Holborn.


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.

Course Content:

Week 1 & 2 
Introduction to Character Design.
In the first two weeks students begin with introductory exercises, exploring creativity, ideas and finding inspiration for stories. Students will also touch on gesture drawing, fast sketches, and ways to research characters.  How do students create designs which have character? And how can this character be captured in a single, still image?

Weeks 2 & 3
Industry character design process.
In weeks three and four students take a look at the work of leading character designers and also explore art Direction, and principles of design and visual development.

Weeks 5 & 6 
Character Design Technique
Weeks 5 and 6 include techniques for designing animal characters, and how to base designs on real life, including animal anatomy, staging and character. Students will look at how to design human characters, including life drawing, human anatomy, gesture drawing and character poses.

Week 7 & 8
Turnarounds and Model Packs
Character design is very much about making your work industry-ready, so that it can be used within the studio pipeline. The final weeks include character situations, the interaction of character with story, model packs and turnarounds. The final week culminates in an industry briefing, mirroring a live studio brief.

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.

Video taster
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.

Recommended Reading
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.  

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