A Complete Guide To Comic Book Character Design

Create Bad-Ass Designs for Your Comic Book Characters & Stop Wasting Time on Dud Ideas

What kind of reaction do you get when you show other people your characters? Are they blown away by your mad skills, indifferent, or do they simply dismiss all your hard work with uninvited criticism?

Before I started learning about character design – most people just didn’t care either way. My family and friends would pat me on the back for the effort which was fine, but when I shared my characters online no one noticed them. They got no likes, comments or acknowledgement whatsoever.

It’s hard to make a character stand out. So how do you do it?      

I did what you’ve been doing. I went out there and found as much information as I could on character creation and practiced it like crazy! I read books, took courses, and studied from the best of the best.

Progress was slow at first, but overtime I figured out what worked and what didn’t by opening myself up to scrutiny and getting the feedback I needed from pros who did this stuff for a living.

They weren’t too harsh, but they weren’t blown away by my ideas either – and that was almost worse. Sometimes I’d score a win, and knock out a character that looked absolutely killer! But more often than not, they just didn’t look that great.

 

I knew I had potential, but my consistency was still way off.

But then something happened that changed everything.

 

The year after I graduated from my games design course in 2010, I had somehow found myself filling in for a teacher who had up and left. I wasn’t even qualified to teach half the classes I’d just been thrust into, but the opportunity was too great to pass up. So I totally winged it and hoped for the best.

Well, you guessed it – one of those subjects happened to be character design, and it was by far my favorite subject to teach. Back them I knew the basics, but I still had a lot to learn myself. What I didn’t realize is that helping my students overcome their obstacles would highlight my own weaknesses.

In a class of over 20 students, I was seeing 20 times the number mistakes being made that I could have made on my own – and through those mistakes I learned how to master my abilities 20 times faster. My students taught me exactly what I needed to avoid as I helped them overcome one challenge after another – and together we leveled up our abilities.

After eight years of teaching in the class room, I’ve seen just about every way you could fail at character design. I’ve seen the best, and worst, learned what works and what doesn’t, and perfected my approach as a teacher to give my students a repeatable process they can apply and see real results with.

That’s what I’m offering you in this course.

 

I’m going to give you the complete workflow I’ve taught to my student’s year in and year out, so that you can apply it yourself and create jaw-dropping characters that capture people’s attention.

For the last five years I’ve taken what I’ve taught in the class room, and compiled it into downloadable courses that anyone, anywhere in the world can access to level up their comic art skill-set.

The beauty of that is, you can watch and recap on these lessons as many times as you need to fully absorb every gem of insight.

What’s really special about this course though is that it not only shows you how to draw and design a character, but it also teaches you how to ink and color them up as well. So when I say that this course gives you the ‘complete’ production workflow for creating a full comic book character designs from start to finish – I mean it.

You still might be wondering whether or not this course is for you, so lets break down exactly what’s in it. Here’s the full course outline and what you’re going to learn when you enroll:

Course Outline

Foundations

 

Give your character design the best chance of success right from the start by establishing a solid foundation that upholds the fundamental principles every well drawn character is built upon – proportions, pose and placement. You’ll see how the same figure (and head shot) is constructed from multiple points of view so that you know how to draw them from the front and back three quarter angles.

Character Design

 

Once we’ve got a sturdy foundation to build our character upon, we’ll sketch in their anatomy and pencil out the design draft on top. This is my favorite part of the whole course because it’s where we really get to exercise our creativity and come up with a character design that’s captivating and most importantly – memorable. You’ll also learn how to create consistency from one view point to the next, so that you know exactly how they’re going to look no matter what angle you’re drawing them on.

Inking

 

After we’re done with the rough draft it’s time to cement our idea in ink, using sharp, slick, energetic line art. We’ll begin by outlining the primary contours that define the character design, applying line weight variation for a more dynamic, visually appealing contour.

Next we’ll drop in the shadows to suggest the overall lighting scheme, describe form and create contrast between the various materials featured throughout the character design. This step is key to breaking them up with varying levels of dark and light value, creating a greater level of readability and impact on the page.

Then we’ll push the depth of the character even further using fine-lined hatches to render out the forms, materials and textures for added definition – completing the inking stage and leaving us with a crystal clean line art presentation for our character design.

Coloring

 

The final portion of the course is dedicated to coloring, and in the remaining lessons, you’ll learn how to compose an appealing color scheme for your character that compliments their design. We’ll discuss color theory and psychology, along with the technical considerations such as the layer hierarchy, brushes and settings used throughout the process.

I’ll share my favorite methods for rendering forms and materials with realistic shading and lighting, using adjustment layers and blending modes to create a vivid presentation that makes the character pop right off of the page.

Project Files and Digital Art Brushes

 

Along with the lessons themselves, you’ll also receive the PSD files and digital art brushes featured throughout the demonstration, so that you can go back through these documents for yourself to see how everything was organized and composed.

And as I mentioned already, you’ll also get accompanying assignments for you to complete as you go through the course, so that by the end you’ve got a complete comic book character design sitting right there in front of you – that you can use in a portfolio, gallery display or comic book.

The great thing is you can watch these lessons on your desktop, mac, or portable device of your choosing, at your own pace and convenience. You can go back through each chapter and recap on the information given throughout the course as many times as you need to make sure you don’t miss a second of insight.

Here’s a few other things you’ll learn along the way

  • Establish the proportions, pose and placement of your characters with the mannequin model. 

  • Draw the underlying anatomy of your character so that you can accurately define the shape of their body and fit the costuming around it.

  • Present the same character consistently from multiple angles.

  • Establish a lighting scheme so that you can shade the forms throughout your character correctly.

  • Where to drop in shadows throughout your character design.

  • Use fine-lined hatches to render form.

  • Use contrast to emphasise key areas of interest.

  • Properly render a variety of materials so that they look distinct from one another.

  • Ink the contours of your character design with slick, sharp and energetic line art.

  • Enhance the readability of your design with tonal values and contrast

  • Compose a pleasing color scheme

  • Build up the forms within your character using multiple lighting passes to give them increased depth and dimension.

  • Use base colors as selection masks.

  • Use adjustment layers to tweak the hue, contrast, saturation and brightness of your colors

  • Add warm and cool tones to your lighting so that it comes across as more realistic.

  • Use reference images to inform the design and make your characters look more convincing.

  • Energize your drawings with gestural line work that creates a sense of movement.

What You Need Before You Start

  • A base level understanding of drawing (form, shape, perspective)

  • A base level understanding of figure drawing (proportions, anatomy, gesture)

  • Beginner level understanding of Photoshop and Manga Studio

  • Clip Studio Paint (Manga Studio), Photoshop and Tablet

Who This Course Is For

  • Comic Artists

  • Character Designers

  • Concept Artists

  • Comic Book Inkers

  • Comic Book Colorists

And being a 6 hour + Course that stretches over 19 Lessons, you can be that’s just a fraction of what you’ll learn. My aim here is shorten your learning curve, as I’ve done for so many others, by giving you a clear guide that’ll reveal what it takes to create a complete comic book character concept.

The demonstration you’ll watch throughout these lessons gives you an inside look into the making of ‘E’ an original character I created for an apocalyptic/scifi action comic. Every aspect of her design was carefully crafted, each line intricately inked in with attention to detail, colored and rendered to present her with maximum depth and dimension. This course shows you how her entire process unfolds.

Throughout it you’ll see the implementation of a very specific workflow that I follow every time to create compelling comic book characters which are captivating and memorable. I’d like to share that with you in this course so that you can use it to create your own.

Why You Can Actually Do This!

 

Now, at this point you’re probably thinking this sounds like a great deal – BUT there’s no way in the world you’re going to be able to pull off a character with the same level of quality.

It’s intimidating, I get it.

You’re right. At least for now. Learning how to produce a character to the standard you’ll see demonstrated in this course is going to take time, practice and dedication. You won’t magically be a pro just from watching a few videos. But when you take this course, make no mistake – you will know how it’s done. You’ll know what the process entails.

All you got to do then is implement it.

The rest is up to you. Unfortunately I can’t force you to put what you’re going to learn here into action. I can’t make you practice it over and over again until you’ve processed all that knowledge and fully integrated it into your approach to character creation.

But I can promise that if you do – the kind of characters you’re illustrating a couple months from now will be on a whole new level to the character’s you’re able to create today.

I know that for a fact – because I started out the same as you.

Did I Mention I Have No Talent?

 

I wasn’t born with a natural talent; I had to learn this stuff just like you. That’s not a humble brag, it’s the truth. When I was coming up in the game, there were no courses out there that gave you the full scoop on how to draw, ink and color a complete comic book character. I had to put those pieces together myself, and I sucked at it at first.

Want proof? Just take a look at these characters I created back in the day...

As you can see, overtime I gradually improved.

 

The incredible thing about honing your skills as a comic book artist is that you can be as good as you want to be. It all comes down to how much time you’re willing to put in. And if you care enough about mastering that which you’re most passionate about, you’ll do whatever it takes.

Your learning doesn’t stop with the content in this course. 80% of the success you’re going to see after taking it will come directly from you – as long as you do something with it.

So to help you apply all the techniques and methods I’ll be sharing with you, I’ve included assignments that you’ll complete along the way so that by the end, you’ll have produced a full color character design you can be proud of.

Are You Ready For This?

 

If you’re ready to take you’re comic art abilities to the next level, and commit to truly honing your skill-set –what are you waiting for?

After you’ve purchased the course you’ll have immediate access to all the video lessons, assignments and projects files inside. You can stream the lessons online on your PC, Mac or portable media device – or you can download the whole course and keep it on your hard drive.

Risk Free Money Back Guarantee

If you buy the course, watch the lessons and don’t see a significant improvement in your work after completing the assignments within the first month, just e-mail me within 30 days of purchase and I’ll refund your money straight away – no questions asked. And you can keep the course lessons and files that you download. So worst case scenario is you get a free course.

This is the fairest way I know to back the value I’m offering you in this course. If this course isn’t for you, it wasn’t what you were hoping for or it doesn’t deliver on what’s promised, I don’t want to keep your money.

 

That’s how confident I am in the value this course has to offer. I’m putting my money where my mouth is here to make sure this is a 100% risk free investment for you – there’s nothing to lose on your end and everything to gain.

When You Get This Course You’ll Receive:

  • Access to 19 downloadable Video Lectures (6.5 hours of learning material)

  • All project files and brushes used throughout the course demonstration

  • 30 day money back guarantee if you feel I haven’t delivered above and beyond in this course

What you’re going to get in this course has costed my students thousands of dollars to learn in the classroom, and it’s taken years for them to learn it.

You’ll be able to begin watching these lessons for a fraction of the price. This won’t cost you $1000, $100 or even $50. You’ll spend a mere $35 to get access to years of learning that’s been curated, compiled and packaged into a definitive guide on comic book character creation.

I bet that’s less than you payed for the last video game you bought.

Couldn’t You Learn All of This On Youtube For Free?

Of course you could. A lot of what I learned, I learned on Youtube too. You might have even subscribed to my Youtube channel already and taken away a ton of value from the videos I’ve put out. We’re incredibly lucky to have so much information on any topic we’re interested in right there at our finger tips.

But here’s the big difference between this course, and anything you’ll find on Youtube. Everything you need to know is packaged into one place and carefully structured to give you a comprehensive volume of character creation know-how.

 

That’s 5 hours of curated content that’s purpose built to give you a no BS approach to creating your own comic book characters.

Contrast that with Youtube – and you’re looking at 10-15 minute videos that are scattered all over the place, often taught by different instructors of varying degrees of teaching ability, which don’t give you anywhere near the same level of depth or explanation you’re going to get out of this course.

Not to mention I’ll be giving you assignments the whole way through that give you the opportunity to implement what you’re learning.

Plus, I don’t know about you, but the one thing I try to stay away from when I’m learning something new is Youtube. Because it’s incredibly distracting.

 

Chances are, when you do watch those free tutorials, you’ve got a bunch of other tabs open at the same time that you’re switching between – dividing your attention and sabotaging your learning experience.

 

Youtube is built to entertain, excite and indulge, before it’s meant to educate.

So while you could learn this stuff elsewhere, you really have to weigh up whether or not it makes sense to save your time sifting through all the subpar content on Youtube to find a few reasonably well put together videos – or if it’s better just to get this course now, knowing that you can get started right away with everything you need to know being there all in one place.

The choice is entirely up to you. And like I said, I have a ton of free Youtube videos on my own channel that delve into the topic of comic book illustration which you’re more than welcome to check out if you’d like to get a feel for my style of teaching.

That said, we’ve got a lot of ground to cover in this course and I can’t wait to share my character creation process along with all the techniques, methods and tactics it entails.

Here's What to do Next

Click the button below to enroll now and begin designing memorable comic book characters today. I’ll see you in the first lesson in just a few short moments.

-Clayton

 

Q&A

 

 

Will the construction of the characters be in real-time?

 

The lessons are all time-lapsed. Here's why that's a good thing for you! 

In the full course, I cover how to pencil, ink and color three full characters, and most of the lessons go for 40-50 mins. Inking and coloring are quite simple and repetitive tasks once you understand the basics, but they're also very time consuming. So in putting this course together I realised the most important things you would need to know is the process, and how to execute that process. So I trimmed the lessons down to just those elements, so that you could get the most important information you needed, in the shortest amount of time possible, without having to sit through 30-50+ hours of footage to find what you're looking for.

 

I find courses that long are just too overwhelming for students to get into, and are usually never completed by the student just because it goes on for so long. I myself have many courses I haven't completed just because I don't have the time to.

Because the Superheroine lessons are time-lapsed, you're able to get a more wholesome overview of the entire process, rather than getting lost, or bored in the many hours it would take you to get through the real-time demonstration. You still get all the information you need, with a full understanding of how everything works, but it's delivered to you in the most optimized way possible.

 

Combined with the carefully scripted dialogue, assignments, and the Virtual Comic Art Classroom, I believe this course will truly help you to upgrade your skills in a reasonable amount of time- but most importantly there will be a greater chance of you completing it in it's entirety without getting bored or overwhelmed by the amount of content.

If you're worried or concerned about missing out on any aspect of my process due to the time-lapse - don't be. I can assure you, everything you need to know is covered in detail. Remember, you'll see the drawing, inking and coloring process demonstrated 3 times over on three separate characters. So the content is quite thorough. But if you still feel you didn't get what you were looking for out of the course, I'm more than happy to refund your copy of the course within 30 days of purchase. So you really have nothing to lose, and everything to gain. 

Inquiries


Contact me at claytonbarton@howtodrawcomics.net if you have any questions or concerns about Character Creator: Superheroines - And I’ll be happy to answer them for you!

 

-Clayton

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