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Character Design Crash Course: Dynamic Design in Four Steps

Learn my four-step process for designing a dynamic character. Once finished, you'll have a fully colored character to add to your portfolio.

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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 take you through my four-step process for designing a dynamic character, which includes coming up with a story and concept, creating rough thumbnail sketches, refining your design and finalizing the details, and finally, cleanup and color. I also talk about the fundamentals of character design, and the importance of using reference and learning from other artists.

What You'll Learn

  • Finding Inspiration and Learning from Other Artists: I talk about studying the styles of other artists, how it helps you build your versatility, and the importance of being influenced by more than one artist.
  • Using Reference: I talk about why using reference is key to improving your drawing skills and share some of the best ways to use it to benefit yourself.
  • Developing Your Character: from story and concept to rough sketches to more developed designs
  • Cleanup and Color: I share some cleanup tips for line art, as well as a couple of different coloring/shading techniques.

What You'll Make

Once finished, you'll have a fully colored character to add to your portfolio. :D

Note: You can do everything I'm going to demonstrate in this class traditionally, but if you do want to work digitally (I use Photoshop and Procreate in this class), some beginning knowledge and experience with the digital drawing program of your choice is likely necessary. If you want to learn more advanced digital painting techniques, I have a couple of classes on Adobe Photoshop in my channel.

What Students Are Saying

Thoroughly enjoyed this class. Instruction is excellent, references are swoon worthy. Her teaching style is wonderfully conversational and aspirational. Great class! Looking forward to the others she is going to share. Crash course away!

- Ashley Aliko

Creating a character from start to finish is made simple and easily understandable

- Alicia Koehler

The instructor has an infectious laugh and spirit and makes learning easier and more enjoyable. Highly recommended :)

- Josie M.

This was a great class! I especially loved the Fundamentals of Character Design lesson, Melissa uses some great examples. She also goes over some really great principals that I hadn't heard before.

- Brooke Glaser


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.


Course Curriculum


  Closing Thoughts + Additional Resources
Available in days
days after you enroll

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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