Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Schoolism Character Design Course

I started the Character Design by 'Steven Silver' Schoolism course way back in March, its an online course with video lectures by the famous cartoon creator Steven Silver, each week you have to submit an assignment based on his lecture. It was nine weeks of intense course work that I didn't quite anticipate but it was definitely worth it as my character design has benefitted massively from the whole experience.

Week 1 the assignment was to draw a character on a given description. Walter Chipwither a wealthy English entrepreneur in his mid 60s complete with smoking jacket, mustache and a monocle!

Week 2 the assignment was to design silhouettes of 2 characters based on the tale of Jekyll and Hyde, I decided my character would be an Egyptologist 'Dr Jackal ' who discovers an ancient relik which curses him into transforming into a giant Anubis type creature 'Mr Hybis'! 

We continued to develop these characters the next week with rough sketches of each character, then selecting just one character to clean up, do turn arounds and then the expressions and attitudes of each character, the whole process was about 6 weeks. 

Other assignments during the course included drawing facial features both cartoon and realistic.

Week 8 dipped into memory sketching and drawing from life. Memory sketching is drawing a character from memory based on a person you have observed for say 30 seconds in the street, tube, cafe etc. This is a really good exercise and helps you to think of so many characters, I'll definitely be carrying my sketch book with me all the time now!

The final weeks assignment was to re-draw the character from the first week 'Walter Chipwither'. I impressed myself a lot with the improvement, to be able to see such a difference in 2 months... the new Walter just seems so much more alive!

 I would recommend the course to anyone looking to improve their character design especially if you haven't studied character design at school. I studied graphic design at university and moved into games and character design after so learning about shape, caricature, a strong silhouette and much much more has really helped me and I no longer feel that I missed out on classical training!

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