Introduction to Character Design is for those who are new or at an intermediate level in terms of character design knowledge.  Produce three characters (and their three variants) that fit together in the same world, based on classic archetypes.  Allowing for a significant amount of freedom, the instructor will act as an Art Director to help make your work coherent and imaginative.  This class is structured to help you produce three or more portfolio worthy images showing competent character design.

BIO: Eric Ryan is a concept artist with over 11 years’ experience in the film, television and video game industry. He has worked for renowned studios such as Sony Pictures Animation, Cinovation Studios and Sony Santa Monica, SCEA. His work can be seen in Men in Black 3, God of War: Ascension and many other film, television and game assets.


Course Curriculum

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Introduction to Character Design | Preview 00:05:00
Preview for Introduction to Character Design with Eric Ryan
Section 1
Creating Thumbnails 00:52:00
Welcome to Introduction to Character Design with Eric Ryan. The goal for the first class will be to create 10 thumbnails for 3 different characters. The in-class assignment will be to sketch 10 thumbnails for one of the three characters.
In-class Assignment Critique 00:40:00
There will be a critique in each class to guide the character design process. Today, Eric will visit with each student to critique and guide their decision making in creating character variants.
Critique & Homework 00:38:00
The critique will continue with the remaining student's work. Eric will discuss what is expected for the first weeks homework assignment.
Section 2
Thumbnail Critique 01:19:00
Each class will begin with a critique of the previous weeks homework assignment. Eric will help guide students in creating variations in characters, and finally choosing designs to develop further. The next homework assignment will be discussed, which will be to develop rough versions of 3 different characters.
Rough Design 00:45:00
A thumbnail will be chosen to develop into a rough design. Eric will show the first step in adding detail & lighting to a character in its early stages.
Design Process FREE 00:41:00
A demonstration will be done to show how to use overlays and selection masks in photoshop, for lighting a character. Developing an image library is encouraged to aid the next stage in designing your character.
Section 3
Rough Design Critique 01:07:00
Todays class will begin with a critique of last weeks homework assignment. There will be paint over demos on student work to help guide the development process.
Lighting 00:32:00
Todays lecture will include a demo on how to use three point lighting in a design. Reference images and small diagrams will be used to aid the process.
Homework & Reference 01:09:00
This weeks homework assignment will be to develop the characters to completion. Eric will discuss the process of doing research to aid in the designing of material and costumes.
Section 4
Design Critique 01:03:00
Eric will visit with each student to help guide their designs.
Color 00:45:00
Overlays and selection masks will be used to paint color over a design. A lecture and demo will show how to use color harmony & color vibration to create focal points.
Color Ratio 00:50:00
A demonstration will show how to apply color ratios when painting a character. The homework assignment will be to begin the three variants for the second character using 1 point lighting.
Section 5
Week 5 | Critique 01:11:00
This weeks class will begin with a critique of last weeks homework assignment.
Color Demo Part 1 01:12:00
This weeks class will begin with a critique of last weeks homework assignment.
Color Demo Part 2 00:45:00
Eric will discuss the fundamental process of painting with color. This weeks homework will be to use 3 point lighting for the three variants for the second character.
Section 6
Week 6 | Critique 00:51:00
The class will begin with a critique of last weeks homework assignment. Eric will answer questions about form and the video game industry.
Paint Over Demo Part 1 00:59:00
A paint over demonstration will be done on a student's character design assignment. Eric will give insight into his design process.
Paint Over Demo Part 2 00:57:00
Suggestions for modifying and adjusting design elements will help make the character look more believable. This weeks homework assignment will be to work on the one point lighting for the third character.
Section 7
Character 3 Critique 00:34:00
Adjustments will be made to help develop more dynamic characters designs.
Face Demo 00:55:00
Reference images will be used to aid a paint over demo of a face. The demo will focus on developing form and physical characteristics.
Process & Material Demo 00:45:00
Eric will refresh students on the layout process for designing characters. A demo will show how to render material to create clear forms for costumes.
Hand Demo 00:35:00
The homework will be to do three point lighting for the three variations of the third character. The class will end with a demo on how to render hands.
Section 8
Final Critique 00:28:00
A final critique and discussion of student designs will be made on the third character.
Q & A 00:58:00
Eric will answer questions about his design process, and designing for the video game industry.

Course Reviews


2 ratings
  • 5 stars3
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  • 3 stars0
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  1. Amazing


    Eric has been AMAZING over the entire 8 week course. He taught us how to think about character design and break down the whole process into very manageable steps. I felt like everybody in the class was able to get the attention the needed and Eric worked with each of us to help improve our own personal weaknesses. I HIGHLY recommend his course to anyone looking to improve their character design skills.

  2. great learning experience


    I am very happy I have taken Eric’s class. He explained things very clearly. More important , he gave the right direction of character design, from the very beginning of thumnails to the final render and his critic is very useful to improve your design. I recommend his course to anyone who want to go further in character design. You can learn A LOT of the RIGHT things of character design.

  3. Very Knowledgable


    Eric Ryan’s class was interesting and engaging. He is very knowledgeable about the industry and had advice for the students on lots of different aspects of character art. The project we were assigned was a great challenge, and one that we were able to build our skills on. We started with the basics of character design and moved into nuanced specifics, with Eric’s critique and advice along the way in the live class. He has a unique perspective on entertainment art and was more than willing to share relevant information and anecdotes with us. I enjoyed the class and hope to take more classes with Eric.

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