Manga, Superheroes and Fantasy Figures Artwork – Character Design and Development

Character Design and Development

Proportion, anatomy, costume design, action, and character interaction are the focus of this class, taught by professional illustrators. Both instructor and student artwork are combined in this Gallery.

PLEASE NOTE: Instructors Mick Kaufer and Lilliah campagna head our Character Design and Development Classes. They have also been Art Academy students since they were teenagers. When you view their work you see how skills develop through our programs. The same is true of guest instructor Eliza Baker. When other students are showcased in this Gallery, their ages are always listed.

Pencil Starts

First lessons in Character Design are done in pencil, non-photo blue pencil, brown pencil, or red pencil. Some of the samples show the use of digital tablets.

Pen & Ink Character Studies

Developing Pen & Ink skills is essential to create dynamic characters. Our examples include traditional and digital inking methods.

DWitt's Inktober

Throughout October, 2014, instructor David Witt created a Halloween tribute and spoofed many popular cartoon, comic, and film characters. We publish this homage as a celebration of David's commitment to perfect his inking skills, which he demonstrates to our students.

Color Character Studies

After students learn how to create characters in black & white they are encouraged to explore designs in color.

Character Design – Portraits

First we teach students to draw the rudimentary features of the human head; then they learn to manipulate those shapes to produce a variety of characters.

Creative Anatomy

Character Design demands that artists have fun with anatomic forms. Then new and exciting creatures develop.

Character Design Sheets

Characterization all comes together when students create Character Design Sheets.

Costume Design and Costume Variations

After students create a Character Design Sheet they also learn how to use reference material to model costume and clothing pattern changes.

Emotion and Expression Studies

It is one thing to create a character. It is another to give LIFE to that creation. That's where emotion and expression comes into play.


A personality is not filled with life merely through facial expression. Rather, It flows through every movement of a characters body.

Character Interaction 

Finally, there is the challenge to create multiple characters and weave scenarios so they interact in convincing ways. Then it becomes easy for students to compose captivating pictures. View examples of those compositions in our Visual Storytelling through Comics and Graphic Novels and Digital Art and Composition Galleries.