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Character Driven Illustrations

with Kenneth Anderson
4.8 (34)
Learn the detailed process of creating an engaging story illustration from start to finish.
English French, 1 more English [Auto]
3+
hours
22
lessons
intermediate
level
Kenneth Anderson

Your Instructor

Kenneth is a professional freelance illustrator and has worked with big companies like the BBC, Disney and others. His specialties are story-driven, character-based illustrations and designs for a variety of mediums, in particular children’s television.

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3+
hours
22
lessons
intermediate
level
English French
  • English [Auto]

Requirements

  • This course is not software specific – the principles and ideas would apply in any software or medium. (Kenneth uses Photoshop in his teaching)
  • A basic knowledge of art principles and drawing experience is recommended to get the most of our this course
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Description

Illustration is the art of conveying an idea or a story moment in a one single image. Without the help of time, dialogue or sound effects like in an animated film, an artist needs to focus on the elements at their disposal to successfully convey their idea.

You will learn exactly how to tackle these elements with Kenneth’s help to create fascinating scenes that make viewers want to dive right in! He will lead you through each stage of his illustration process, break it down clearly for those who are entirely new to character design. You’ll be creating your own fantasy worlds in no time!

In this course, you will learn the essential principles that will transform your art into dynamic illustrations that come alive, as well as discover useful tricks which professional artists use to come up with ideas, save time while drawing and use lighting and color to set the tone and create drama.

If you’d like to have a sneak peek of what’s in store, click on the preview buttons below and watch Kenneth do his magic.

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What you’ll learn

  • Develop an illustration out of a key story moment
  • Use reference as an aid to develop your idea
  • Sketch thumbnails to map out and decide on the design
  • Learn to create unique characters and good character interactions for visual interest
  • Use lighting and color to set the mood and create drama
  • How to create focal points and lead the eye to key parts of the illustration
  • Discover the different types of light sources and when to use them
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Who is this course for

  • For beginner level to experienced artists who want to learn the essential elements of illustration and discover helpful methods to streamline their workflow
  • For those who want to create dynamic artwork for comics, video games or animated feature films.
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This course includes

Lesson Plan

with Kenneth Anderson
Expand all sections
01

Introduction

05:43

In these tutorials, you’ll get a behind-the-scenes look at the personal art process of the character design master, Kenneth Anderson (aka Kenny)!

To him, drawing is really all about storytelling — grabbing a specific moment in a story and capturing it in an illustration. How does one do that? Keep watching and find out! 😉

02

The Idea

11:45

Kenny discusses what things to consider and questions to ask yourself when coming up with ideas for an illustration. All your design choices should aid in communicating the story moment, so having clarity about what that moment actually is will make every else down the line much, much easier!

03

Research

13:19

Research fills in gaps in our knowledge and opens us up to new ideas. It’s the key to starting off right. Learn about Kenny’s checklists to make reference gathering easier, where he goes to find it all and why a mood board is such a great idea!

04

Thumbnails

30:35

Why create thumbnails? Crafting the perfect story scene for an idea isn’t easy, even for the pros, but thumbnails help tremendously in exploring an idea on paper and will go a long way in saving you from frustration and wasted time later. Kenny discusses important factors, such as canvas ratios, lighting sources, color options and perspectives for his piece.


4.1
Thumbnails
16:47
4.2
Refining Thumbnails
13:46
05

Characters

24:05

Kenny explains his process for creating engaging characters in this tutorial, discussing the 3 main facets: their personalities, current mood and current desire or motivations. He delves into how to make characters unique and keep things interesting with different poses.


5.1
Characters
14:58
5.2
Reviewing Thumbnails
09:06
06

Mood

19:24

Learn in detail how to convey an emotion to the audience through lighting and color and follow along as Kenny explains the decisions he makes regarding these important aspects.

07

The Block-In

33:55

All the major design choices have been made, so now it is time to paint the image and bring to completion! This stage just deals with flat local colors, concentrating on color palattes. You’ll discover tips on canvas size, resolution, what order to do your block-in and how to use layers.


7.1
Block In
13:56
7.2
The Ghost
03:38
7.3
The Kids
13:24
7.4
Final Tweaks
02:54
08

Painting

38:23

Building on the steps before, Kenny refines the image further with shadows, lighting, detail and some cool effects.  He explains the importance of defining key areas, and not over-rendering everything in the illustration.


8.1
Painting
13:04
8.2
Checking Values
12:28
8.3
Lighting Effects
12:48
09

Polishing

29:05

We are almost done! At this stage, Kenny likes to take a step back and evaluate the
image, tweaking it as necessary. You’ll discover the exact thought process of a pro and get valuable insight on what is or isn’t working and why. 


9.1
Polish
05:10
9.2
Background
04:08
9.3
Characters
08:32
9.4
Chandelier
01:52
9.5
Hockey Girl
03:03
9.6
Overlays
01:18
9.7
Finished
04:55

Student Feedback

34 customer reviews & ratings

4.8

Course rating

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5 star
89 %
4 star
6 %
3 star
3 %
2 star
3 %
1 star
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Best Suited for
Intermediate
The level is determined by a majority opinion of students who have reviewed this class. The teacher's recommendation is shown until at least 5 student responses are collected.

(Based on 34 reviews)

Most Liked
Clarity of Inspiring 32
Clarity of Instruction 29
Great step-by-step process 29
Showing 10 reviews of 34 reviews & ratings
JC
James Caputo

2 months ago

Verified Purchase
A tremendous course with a fun illustration that's loaded with easy to learn techniques due to detailed instructions. Every aspect of the illustration is covered from inception to completion. I watched every minute and learned a great deal. Thank you Mr. Anderson!
I recommend it for All levels
NR
Nicolas Rudnitzky

2 months ago

Verified Purchase
I really enjoyed taking this course, it was very inspiring =)
I recommend it for Advanced
ED
Elizabeth D Coburn

2 months ago

Verified Purchase
Kenneth is very transparent about his process, which is distinct and comprehensive. His tone and pacing is calming and comforting.
I recommend it for Intermediate
SA
Sheyla Aliyeva Newham

3 months ago

Verified Purchase
really useful tips. it was great
I recommend it for All levels
A
Artee

3 months ago

Verified Purchase
Very engaging instructor and his artwork is top notch! I would recommend this for more advanced artists, as a lot of the techniques are used for subtlety. Otherwise many of the core principles of illustration are applied here, and very helpful in building a great illustration. Pay close attention
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and you will get fantastic results.
I recommend it for Advanced
CL
Claudia Lei

3 months ago

Verified Purchase
Really nice tutorial for the process!!! I recommended for intermedia to advance. Maybe some of the photoshop steps bit slow can help better to understand the process. I love it, will help me with my new children book illustrations.
I recommend it for Advanced
JJ
Joe Johnson

4 months ago

Verified Purchase
I recommend it for All levels
M
M

4 months ago

Verified Purchase
I chanced upon this course when I finished the procreate classes. Ended up this became the video i liked most. Very detailed and well explained process.
I recommend it for All levels
Y
Yuejuan

5 months ago

Verified Purchase
Very good course, Anderson is such a great illustrator and he's very clear with the paining steps, and his creating is very inspiring. I love the concepts introduced in the course, very good thinking points for ambitious beginner level illustrator like me.
I recommend it for Intermediate
LT
Liane Tancock

5 months ago

Verified Purchase
I recommend it for Intermediate
See more reviews

About the Instructor

Kenneth Anderson
Illustrator & Character Designer 5 courses

Kenneth is a professional freelance character designer with 14+ years experience. Based in the UK, he has worked with companies like the BBC, Disney, Tandem films and Axis Animation. He also worked on Sylvain Chomet’s Oscar nominated film “The Illusionist” and the French feature Titeuf: Le film.  His specialties are story-driven character-based illustration and design for a variety of mediums, in particular children’s television. In his spare time, he enjoys creating characters, illustrating magazines and making games.

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