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Game Character Design and Animation for 11 to 13 Year Olds Short Course

Course description

In this exciting five-day course, students will look at popular characters in computer games and cartoons - such as Roblox, Toca Life, Fortnite, Sonic the Hedgehog and Cupheads, as well as Bugs Bunny and Mister Magoo.

Under the tuition of an experienced 2D Animator, you will experiment with designing and illustrating a character of your own. Using traditional (paper) animation techniques at the core of principles used today, you will learn how to animate your character and bring it to life.

As well as learning about Animation/Cartoon History, Shape Theory in Character Design and other considerations central to character design, students will also complete an animated walk cycle (loop) of their character, learning first-hand about animating traditionally.

Who should attend?

This course is designed for 11 to 13 year olds with an interest in character design, cartoon and animation more broadly. Students should have an interest in drawing but practical experience of animation is not required.

Level: Beginners

Course outcomes

By the end of the course you will:

  • Have developed confidence in your capabilities
  • Have an understanding of character design drawn animation principles and processes such as character turnarounds/model sheets, pose sheets, incorporating/combining geometric shapes in design, rough sketches, construction lines, place and trace, ‘key’ drawings and inbetweening
  • Have an idea of how you may input your designs into computer software
  • Have produced work which may be useful for building a portfolio to pursue future study or creative development

Clear, easy to understand lessons:

  • Our tutors will explain things in easy to understand, accessible English. If they need to use any special terminology they will make sure they explain what they mean.
  • New methods will be shown to students through live demonstrations, in a way that’s clear and easy to understand.

Experience life on campus

  • Network and share ideas with students from across the globe
  • Access the technology and materials relevant to your discipline
  • Shop in our college shops for any materials you might need
  • Ask questions of your tutor in real time
  • Receive feedback and critique on your assignments
  • Experience the many sights of London on your down time

A certificate of completion

  • You've put the work in so we want to make sure you have something to show for it!
  • As long as you attend a minimum of 80% of your classes, we will provide you with a certificate of attendance.
  • We always recommend you attend all of the classes so that you get the most out of the experience!
  • Certificates are great to complement your CV

This course is scheduled to run on campus in a face to face delivery format. Please note that due to the ongoing pandemic situation this course may be adapted in line with UK government guidance or other operational requirements. This may include changing course location (to another UAL site), cancellation of the course, or moving part or all of the course online. In the event of any changes being required we will inform you as soon as possible and support you in any changes required. Please bear this in mind when making any travel, visa, or accommodation arrangements.

Available dates

If no dates are showing then please sign up to our mailing list to find out about upcoming dates and new course developments.


Students will be encouraged to work on their tasks at home where possible throughout the week. An email featuring links to material discussed in class (clips/films etc.) will be sent out to students after the course for future reference.

Topics covered:

  • Introduction to character design/cartooning
  • Intersecting core shapes
  • Thumbnail sketches
  • Rough sketching
  • Construction lines
  • Place ‘n’ trace
  • Repositioning drawings
  • Layers/separation
  • Inbetweening
  • The 12 rules of animation
  • Field guides/framing


Please bring a notepad and pen/pencil.

The following materials will be provided:

  • 2 boxes 12field (punched) Animation paper
  • B & HB pencils
  • Electric pencil sharpeners (accessible in the MA Animation studio)
  • Erasers
  • Access to the MA Animation studio line-testing equipment, or line-testing software
  • Access to the MA Animation studio lightboxes
  • Animation and Character Design worksheets (with the principles outlined in the course)
Meet the Tutor:

Through a combination of group work and one-to-one tuition with an experienced 2D animator, you will learn how to design a character and animate a one second walk cycle featuring your character. Over the course, you will develop an understanding of animation and cartoon history, shape theory and character design.

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