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Character Design Crash Course: Characters for Surface Pattern Design

Everything you need to know about designing characters for surface patterns

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Welcome to Character Design Crash Course, a series of illustration classes meant for beginning cartoonists or intermediate character artists looking for a refresher.

In this class, I cover things to consider when designing characters specifically for surface patterns. I demonstrate how simple changes can alter the expression and feel of a character, and I share my tips for creating successful characters for both repeat patterns and placement prints that can be applied to a variety of different products in a variety of different markets. I also demonstrate my personal process for creating a repeat pattern tile in Adobe Photoshop.

What You'll Learn

  • How to Create Successful Characters for SPD: I talk about certain things to keep in mind when designing characters for repeating patterns, as well as go over what makes a design more appealing to the children's market and/or adult markets.
  • Experiment with Expression: How small changes in expression can alter the look and feel of a character, even with the most simplistic of styles.
  • Building a Pattern: My entire process for creating a repeat tile in Adobe Photoshop out of watercolor painted characters!

What You'll Make

An adorable character to use in a placement print or repeating pattern!


Your Instructor


Melissa Lee
Melissa Lee

Hi! My name's Melissa Lee, and I'm a designer and online art teacher living in the forests of Northern California. I majored in Studio Art in college, but graduated with a continued thirst for learning and improving my artistic skills, but couldn't justify the high price of further brick-and-mortar education. Instead, I discovered myriads of more affordable avenues of art education online, which eventually inspired me to start teaching myself, and I haven't looked back.

I'm currently in the process of becoming a full-time freelancer and art licenser, but in the meantime, I'm cultivating my love of sharing what I know, and encouraging others to nourish their creative side. I love patterns and character art and watercolor paintings. And also bees. Always bees.


Class Curriculum


  Things to Consider When Designing Characters for Surface Patterns
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  Creating a Repeat Tile
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  Closing Thoughts
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Frequently Asked Questions


When does the course start and finish?
The course starts now and never ends! It is a completely self-paced online course - you decide when you start and when you finish.
How long do I have access to the course?
How does lifetime access sound? After enrolling, you have unlimited access to this course for as long as you like - across any and all devices you own.
What if I am unhappy with the course?
We would never want you to be unhappy! If you are unsatisfied with your purchase, contact us in the first 30 days and we will give you a full refund.

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