Design Characters That Shine!

Learn How to Make a Character from Beginning to End


  • How to Design a Character that Readers Love
  • How to Capture Expressions
  • How to Draw Bodies
  • How to Dress Your Character
  • How to Draw Your Character with Consistency
  • Poses & Movement
  • How to Use Color & Texture


Vanessa Newton was born during the Civil Rights movement and attended school in Newark, NJ. Being part of a diverse, tight-knit community during such turbulent times, Vanessa learned the importance of acceptance and empowerment in shaping a young person's life. When she read The Snowy Day, by Ezra Jack Keats, it was the first time she saw herself in a children's book. It was a defining moment in her life, and has made her into the artist she is today.

As an illustrator, she includes children of all ethnic backgrounds in her stories and artwork. She wants all children to see their unique experiences reflected in the books they read, so they can feel the same sense of empowerment and recognition she experienced as young reader. 

Vanessa Newton


Published Books


Course Details

In this 9-week course, you will learn how to design a unique character and a character model sheet that includes a variety of poses and expressions.

Module 1:
Birthing a Character

Lesson 1: How to Birth a Character
Lesson 2: Vanessa's Characters, Sketchbooks & Supplies
Lesson 3: Drawing Demos - Character Model Demo

Module 2:
What & Who Your Character Is

Lesson 1: Who Is Your Character?
Lesson 2: How to Draw Character Expressions
Lesson 3: Drawing Demos - How to Draw the Body

Module 3:
Make Your Character Stand Out - Dressing & Accessorizing

Lesson 1: What Does Your Character Wear
Lesson 2: Drawing Demos
Lesson 3: Dress Your Character Demo

Module 4:
Character Consistency

Lesson 1: How to Draw Your Character with Consistency
Lesson 2: Light Box Demo

Module 5:
Movement & Action

Lesson 1: The Wooden Model
Lesson 2: Using Minimal Strokes
Lesson 3: Mood Boards

Module 6:
Make Your Character Shine

Lesson 1: Color & Research
Lesson 2: Texture & Details
Lesson 3: Finishing Artwork

Everyone Has a Story to Tell

Hear from Amy Flynn

Hear from Kristy Nuttal

Hear from Brian Song

Hear from Grace Nall

Hear from Ann Gronvold

Who Should Take This Class?

Just Starting...

Learn the basics of character design. Vanessa's drawing demonstrations are easy to follow and will give you confidence as you start inventing.

Intermediate Storytellers

Learn how to create a well-rounded character with a biography and a character model sheet. You'll learn how to draw your character with consistency in a variety of poses.

Advanced Writers

If you want to flesh out and/or draw your own characters, Vanessa's demonstrations will inspire you to ask the necessary questions and start drawing.

Advanced Illustrators

If you're already an experienced illustrator, you can learn how to make your characters shine through color, texture, and details.

Frequently Asked Questions

You do not need to be an experienced illustrator to take this course. This course is designed for beginners and intermediate illustrators. Vanessa will walk you through the design process for making characters, as well as teaching you how to draw them with consistency.

You don't need software or a computer to take this course. You can use traditional media, pens, ink, and paper. 

If you are part of the workshop, you will need to upload your work via the computer for review.

Vanessa uses Corel Draw and Photoshop in the course. These programs are not required. All of the coursework can be done with traditional media.

Yes! Vanessa will be showing you how to simplify and dress your characters. You will also explore color palettes and build mood boards.

Yes! Vanessa teaches you how to draw a character turnaround. Vanessa also shows you how to design facial expressions in different angles.

In this class, you will be designing a character from scratch and building a character biography and model sheet. The character model sheet is a perfect addition to your portfolio!

This class is 6 hours of video training, and there are assignments to complete. Each assignment will take 1-2 hours to complete. 

To fully understand and apply the material, you should allow 7 days if you are working full time on the class and 21 days if you are working on the class part time.

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