Our Early Registration Discount is available until Wednesday the 29th of May at 11:59 PM.

Intro to Character Design

Learn a step-by-step method for developing unique and memorable character concepts with personality!

Student Artwork by Sida Guo

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Intro to Character Design

In this introductory class, you will learn a step-by-step method for developing distinct and memorable character concepts that draw your audience into the narrative while integrating seamlessly with the overall art direction of your project.

In the early weeks of the term, your instructor will guide you through the character design process, starting with efficiently gathering images and creating your own reference boards so you can generate ideas and draw inspiration for your characters. You will also cover the thumbnailing process which will allow you to create a multitude of design variations for your characters so you can work out the direction you want to visually take your project and confidently develop the best iteration of your character.

You will cover essential design principles, becoming proficient in shape language, body-language, and colour theory so you can effectively establish your character’s qualities and personality traits through these elements. You will also learn to customize your character to suit any era, genre or timeline by altering their costumes, accessories and physical features.

By the end of this course, you will have learned a set of techniques and work process that will allow you to work within constraints and follow art direction while still creating original and iconic characters that can fit into any story and will strike an immediate chord with your audience. What's more, you will also have portfolio-worthy character designs that you can be proud of!

  • Course Type Online Concept Art Classes
  • Duration 10 weeks
  • Skill Level
    Level 3
    Level 3

    These courses are for people who can already draw and paint realistically and can create complete digital illustrations.

    Level 3 classes will help students to give a new edge to their images, properly render their digital work, and bring them closer to a professional level.

  • Language English

You can now combine 3, 4 or 5 classes to avail a 5, 10 or 15% discount on your purchase and get a free spot in a webinar this term!

$429 (save USD $50.00 ) $379 USD
Register Now


Note: This class will be offered online only

Term: Summer 2024

Class Timings: Mondays from 6:30 PM to 9:30 PM, Eastern Daylight Time (EDT or UTC-4h)

Date of first class: July 1st

Duration: 10 weeks

If you are unable to attend the class during the times listed above, you will still have access to video recordings of the class lectures and will still receive personalized feedback from your instructor.


*Please note that this class' duration is subject to change (to either 1.5 hours or 2 hours) depending on the number of enrolled students.

These shorter class formats (offered up to a maximum of 6 students for the 2-hour format) are conducted with more of a personalized mentorship style, allowing students to have more time devoted to their assignments' critiques and the ability to ask more questions in class, while still maintaining all of the theory and planned curriculum for the regular class length.



Skill requirements 

To enroll in this course you should have: 

  • Some intermediate drawing and basic digital painting skills (use of proper perspective, proportions, shading and colour).
  • Proficiency in all basic Photoshop tools.
  • Ideally completed our Intro to Digital Painting and Analytical Sketching classes or have equivalent practice/experience.

If you are unsure of your skill level, please contact [email protected] for additional guidance.


Language and age requirements

You should have at least intermediate level English to take this class. Please also note that Syn Studio’s classes are targeted towards adults and students should be 16 years or older to enroll. 

Required Materials

You also need to have a laptop with Photoshop installed and a tablet sensitive to pen pressure (such as a Wacom tablet). Or you need a tablet-computer with Photoshop installed that is sensitive to pen pressure (such as the Cintiq Companion). And you need to have some basic skills in Photoshop and be comfortable drawing and painting in Photoshop and know how to use layers and the basic tools (all things you can learn quickly with free tutorials online).


Tech Requirements for Attending Syn Studio Online Classes

Minimum Requirements

  • A strong uninterrupted broadband wired or wireless (3G or 4G/LTE) connection with a minimum 600kbps bandwidth (up/down).
  • A Laptop/Desktop computer equipped with a single core processor (at least 1 GHZ processing speed) or a smartphone/tablet with equivalent processing capabilities
  • Good speakers/earphones to listen to the classes
  • Browser - IE7+, Safari 5+, Firefox, Chrome
  • Operating System - Windows XP, Mac OS 10.6, Linux distro based on 3.0 kernel, Android 5.0, iOS 10


Syn Studio Recommendations

  • A strong uninterrupted broadband wired or wireless (3G or 4G/LTE) connection with a minimum 1.5Mbps bandwidth (up/down). You can also connect to the internet directly using your ethernet cable to improve your experience.
  • Laptop/Desktop computer equipped with a dual core processor with at least 2 GHZ processing speed and a 4 GB RAM
  • High Quality speakers/earphones to listen to the classes
  • Browser & Operating System - We recommend using the latest version of the browser and operating system for an optimal online classroom experience.

Course Outline

*Please note that the following outline is subject to change slightly at the teacher's discretion.

Week 1: Learn the essential character design principles of cohesiveness, balance, contrast, visual rhythm and sizing so you create high quality, vibrant and engaging characters. Become proficient in efficiently gathering reference material and creating your reference boards so you can generate ideas and use them for guidance and inspiration during your character design process.

Week 2: Gain a deeper understanding of all the steps involved in the character design process. Learn how to quickly create multiple interesting silhouette and 3-tone studies of your character so you can choose the best option for your art director and develop it further.

Week 3: Learn how to transform the key shapes and forms from your reference into into actual features on your character such as body shape, clothing, tools, weapons, etc., by using the correct values to create the desired forms so you can depict believable characters with multiple attributes.

Weeks 4 to 6: Become proficient in colour theory and posing so you can design multiple vibrant colour variations, establish the signature pose and add subtle personality traits for your title character. Learn to properly indicate material textures so your character looks realistic and believable.

Weeks 7 and 8: Gain the skills essential in indicating the timeline, styling and behavioral traits of your character so you can design characters for all eras and genres. Learn how to compile an effective visual library that can be used as a reference to establish and refine all aspects of your character’s look, signature pose and unique personality.

Weeks 9 and 10: Learn to create professional character sheets and turnarounds for your concept so it can be properly integrated into an entertainment product. Become proficient in rendering, polishing and adding the finishing touches to your character concept, paying special attention to values, edges, colours and details of materials. Finally, combine all that you have learned to complete a stunning portfolio piece and learn how to present it in a professional way so you can showcase your skills and get noticed.

Check out the entire outline


You can now combine 3, 4 or 5 classes to avail a 5, 10 or 15% discount on your purchase and get a free spot in a webinar this term!

This class is being offered at
USD $379.00
(save $xxx!!)
*All Prices Shown are in USD Dollars
Choose your section:
Register Now

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Please bring a photo ID for the first day of class.

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Questions and Assistance

Feel free to send us an email at [email protected] or give us a call at 514-998-7625

Please consult our FAQ; most of the commonly asked questions are answered in detail there. If you cannot find the answer to your question, please feel free to fill out the form below, or, send an email to [email protected]

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