I am in my third week of the Character Design Workshop with artist Stephen Silver (watch the trailer for the class here) who is responsible for many great character designs for shows such as Danny Phantom and Kim Possible. I always really adored the design of Kim Possible, so doing this schoolism workshop has been a dream of mine for over a year. A half year ago, I finally felt I was able to afford it, and it started this January. (Character Designs below © Stephen Silver)
The class consists of around nine one-hour videos on the subject matter of character designs, plus a few homeworks. In the cheaper version of the course, the artists receives no feedback. The more expensive version of the course gets you a 5-10 minute video feedback, in which Silver directly goes over your art and gives you feedback and suggestions. I personally think one should try to afford the more expensive version, as personal feedback from a professional like him is worth a lot. As far as I can tell from watching the feedbacks of my classmates (which all course attendees have access to) he adapts to all levels with his feedback.
So far, the course is great. Silver points out aspects that I have either not paid to attention to so far, or he talks about topics that I maybe already heard about, but needed well explained to me again. He talks about shapes, the importance of diversity, the usage of everyday objects as inspiration, consistency and clarity of shapes - but he also will tell you if you are sloppy with anatomy, volume, hands and feet, etc. (which is usually my big problem). This is week 3 of the course, and I can't wait what else is coming!
The first homework was just about drawing a few character designs for "Walter Chipwhitter", a rich entrepreneur with a jolly personality. Those are a few sketches I came up with:
And this is how a feedback can look like: Silver draws over my final version of the character and points out the positive sides he sees as well what can be improved - he totally got my on my big weaknesses here: I created some tangents in my design, was sloppy with consistency with some facial parts and the arms, created some parallel lines right next to each other (which isn't a big mistake, but can take away from the diversity of the design) and my character's body lacked a bit in 3-dimensionality:
I can't wait for my other assignments, lessons and feedback. This painfully reminds me of my strongest weaknesses as an artist, but also of my strengths. This workshop will face me with my fears of drawing certain things and I am pretty sure I will evolve trough it. Yo I recommend it to you if you want to invest in your future as an artist. I know it's a lot of money, but if you manage to improve trough the workshop, you will get the money back trough work later :-D
You should also check out Stephen Silver's youtube channel, he talks a lot of smart stuff on artist's rights, protecting your art career, giving art away fro free, etc.
I will write more about this workshop soon!