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Character Design for Beginners (Online Short Course)

Character Design for Beginners (Online Short Course)

Central Saint Martins
Taught by
Francesco de Manincor


This online course will show you how illustrators and animators create static or animated characters with distinctive and memorable personalities and looks, for use in comics, books, video games and animations. You will gain a fascinating insight into the process, covering drawing and design techniques as well as the commercial considerations involved in designing a winning character.

Each week you will develop your skills with practical assignments covering the main techniques of character design. You will learn by researching and analysing existing characters, and developing your own. You will approach drawing and creating your own character with fresh eyes, learning how to express the traits, personality and emotions of your new creation.


  • Brief history of character design
  • Case studies: traditional and contemporary character design
  • Principles and fundamentals
  • Anatomy and construction
  • Breaking down the shapes
  • Drawing and experimentation
  • Visual impact
  • Line quality and styles
  • Develop character personality
  • Character appeal
  • Draw for your audience
  • Character turnaround
  • Posture and lines of action
  • Facial expressions
  • Harmony, balance and dynamism

Course Outcomes:
By the end of the course you will have;

  • A broad understanding of character design principles
  • Experimented with a range of techniques and drawing exercises
  • Improved your skills by drawing a range of character sketches
  • Created your own character and worked on character's personality and description
  • Explored and designed characters from different angles

Who is Character Design for Beginners (Online Short Course) for
This course ideal is for anyone who is interested in creating and developing characters for books, comics, games or the screen. Participants should have some basic drawing skills because the assignments are practical. The course can be useful for portfolio preparation.

Level: Beginner

Why choose a CSM Online Short Course
Our online learning short courses allow you to experience Central Saint Martins wherever you are in the world. Additionally all CSM Online Short Courses include
  • Live sessions with expert
  • Lesson recordings
  • Practical assignments
  • Personal feedback
  • VLE with course content
  • Forums for support
  • 3 months online access
  • CSM Certificate upon completion

Visit Frequently Asked Questions for further details about preparing for your online course, including any equipment you need.

Please note that all courses are taught in UK time. To compare times, please check World Time Buddy.

Please note: This course is for students aged 18 and older
Please note that Online courses are closed to all new bookings 48 hours prior to the course starting.

Tutor Description

Francesco de Manincor is a character designer, animator and illustrator with a broad experience in visual storytelling, from storyboarding to animation. After studying Fine Arts and Art Direction, and working in comics, illustration and visual communication in his native Italy, Francesco moved to London and for the past 15 years has worked on commercial projects and taught digital media, design and animation, creating visual content, illustrations and concept art, editing videos, motion graphics, and designing characters for print and product applications.

Francesco likes to start by exploring ideas drawing on paper, to then complete production and post-production using digital tools, for the unbounded possibilities that these offer. He believes that it's all about realising our vision, about storytelling, to captivate and engage the viewer and create that little bit of magic.


Online Short Course Materials

To take part in the Online sessions you will need:

  • An up-to-date version of the Google Chrome web browser
  • Microphone and headphones (a headset with a microphone function is recommended)
  • Webcam
  • Strong Internet connection via WiFi or ethernet; 2G, 3G or 4G will not be sufficient

Course Specific Materials

Please bring with you to the first session:

  • HB or B pencils
  • A4 photocopy paper or equivalent (at least 30 sheets per session)
  • Pencil Sharpener
  • Eraser

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.