Character Design Fundamentals
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  I: Administrative Information   II: Course Details   III: Topical Outline(s)  Printable Version
Section I: Administrative Information
  Total hours: 36.0
Credit Value: 2.5
Credit Value Notes: N/A
Effective: Winter 2015
Prerequisites: N/A
Corequisites: N/A
Pre/Co/Equiv Notes: N/A

Program(s): N/A
Program Coordinator(s): N/A
Course Leader or Contact: N/A
Status: Approved (APPR)

Section I Notes: Materials required include: H and HB pencil, Charcoal, Vinyl Eraser, Sketchbook (at least 9 x 12), Large Newsprint Pad, 11 x 17 Bristol Pad or Papers. Optional materials include: Blue Led Pencil, Technical Pens (Sakura Micron, Fabre-Castell, or Staedtler).

Section II: Course Details

Detailed Description
Students are introduced to the world of drawing graphic novel medium, focusing on character development in pencil. Students learn the basic shapes that are the building blocks for drawing dimensional forms and techniques for rendering the human form to construct well-drawn characters. Specific conventions are introduced such as working with 11 x 17 and other tools of the trade. Students learn to use and manipulate three dimensional geometric shapes, while gaining an understanding of the human anatomy and 1, 2, and 3 point perspective. In addition, students are introduced to the background world in which comic book characters are placed. Students will learn some historical aspects of the popularity of comic books as publication and cinematic reproductions.

Course Critical Performance and Learning Outcomes


By the end of this course, students will have demonstrated the ability
to create basic, well-executed, and designed characters suitable for
development in graphic novels, comic books, or animation. 


To achieve the critical performance, students will have demonstrated
the ability to:

     1  Identify the building block shapes of figurative forms
     2  Incorporate 3D drawing principles using various cinematic
        angles and hatching, to heighten the dramatic affect. 
     3  Discuss story arc practices used in various genres to 
        determine one's target audience
     4  Create character sheets selected from a given story idea
     5  Apply terminology related to anatomy for character design
     6  Analyze one's own work and that of peers critically, 
        objectively, and constructively
     7  Discuss universal themes found in various genres of 
        literature and film, in order to create your own theme
     8  Create cover art work and text that reflects character arcs 
        and two-character dynamics 
     9  Apply the fundamental techniques and mechanics of effective
        figure drawing and storytelling 
     10 Work cooperatively in large and small groups as well as 
        with partners 
Evaluation Plan
Students demonstrate their learning in the following ways:

Students demonstrate their learning in the following ways:

Assignment #1: Sketchbook (60 Poses and Expressions)        20%
Assignment #2: Cover Illustration Using Perspective         20%
Assignment #3: Action Sequence - Make Your Character Move   20%
Assignment #4: Storyboards and Written Draft                20%
Final Presentation: 6 Page Finished Comic                   20%
                                                    TOTAL   100%

Optional Assignment: Social Media Sketchbook                10%

Full participation and attendance is recommended for this course.
Students who miss a class are responsible for any information
discussed, assigned, or distributed during the missed class. 

All assignments must be handed in on the date indicated in the
requirements for each project. Projects are due at the beginning of
class unless otherwise stipulated. Late assignments will receive a
mark of 10% grade reduction. Work more than one week late will not be
graded unless a prior arrangement has been made with the instructor.
There will be no re-submission of work unless, under exceptional
circumstances, this has been agreed or suggested by the instructor.
Provincial Context
The course meets the following Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities requirements:


Essential Employability Skills
Essential Employability Skills emphasized in the course:

  Communication   Critical Thinking & Problem Solving   Interpersonal
  Numeracy   Information Management   Personal

Notes: N/A

Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition
PLAR Contact (if course is PLAR-eligible) : Office of the Registrar

Students may apply to receive credit by demonstrating achievement of the course learning outcomes through previous relevant work/life experience, service, self-study and training on the job. This course is eligible for challenge through the following method(s):

Challenge Exam Portfolio Interview Other Not Eligible for PLAR
  X X    

Notes:  Requires both for PLAR assessment.

Section III: Topical Outline
Some details of this outline may change as a result of circumstances such as weather cancellations, College and student activities, and class timetabling.
Effective term: Winter 2015
Professor: Multiple Professors



(1) Buscema, J., & Lee, S. (1984). How to Draw Comics the Marvel Way.
New York: A Fireside Book, Simon and Schuster Inc.
(2) Bridgman, G. (1990). Complete Guide to Drawing From Life. New
York: Sterling Publishing Co. 
(3) Hogarth, B. (1990). Dynamic Anatomy. New York: Watson Guptill
(4) Hogarth, B. (1990). Drawing Dynamic Hands. New York: Watson Guptill

Applicable student group(s): Continuing Education Students
Course Details:
Some details of this outline may change as a result of circumstances,
such as weather cancellations, College and student activities, and
class timetabling. 

MODULE 1: Classes 1 to 3
     - Learning Outcomes covered: 1, 2, 4, 5
     - Topics:
          - An introduction and overview of course and an overview of
            industry practice
          - Review of assignments and materials needed
          - An introduction to character development: facial features
            and age
          - An introduction to lines, shapes, and shading
          - Assignment #1: 20% due on class 3 

MODULE 2: Classes 4 to 6
     - Learning Outcomes covered: 1, 2, 4, 5, 9
     - Topics:
          - Continuation of character development, including male and
            female differences
          - Life drawing practice: male and female
          - Continuation of the use of lines and shapes to create 
            different types of bodies
          - Introduction to dynamic anatomy
          - Introduction of the 'floating camera': rendering the body
            from different angles
          - Assignment #2: 20% due on class 6

MODULE 3: Classes 7 to 9
     - Learning Outcomes covered: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 9
     - Topics:
          - Introduction to non-human character development: animal, 
            monster, and creature
          - Introduction to the psychology of design to create 
            different moods and expressions
          - Continued use of more complex shades
          - Introduction to character sheets
          - Introduction to creating backgrounds using 1, 2, or 3
            point perspective
          - Assignment #3: 20% due on class 9

MODULE 4: Classes 10 to 12
     - Learning Outcomes covered: 1 - 10 
     - Topics:
          - Introduction to different styles: Marvel / DC, Manga, 
          - Introduction to more complex character sheets
          - Introduction to different genres and how to use them
          - Putting it altogether: producing the character sheet
            complete with props and labeling
          - Completion of character sheet including backgrounds, 
            backdrops, and architectural features
          - Assignment #4: 20% due on class 12
          - Final Presentations: 20%

Sheridan Policies

All Sheridan policies can be viewed on the Sheridan policy website.

Academic Integrity: The principle of academic integrity requires that all work submitted for evaluation and course credit be the original, unassisted work of the student. Cheating or plagiarism including borrowing, copying, purchasing or collaborating on work, except for group projects arranged and approved by the professor, or otherwise submitting work that is not the student's own, violates this principle and will not be tolerated. Students who have any questions regarding whether or not specific circumstances involve a breach of academic integrity are advised to review the Academic Integrity Policy and procedure and/or discuss them with the professor.

Copyright: A majority of the course lectures and materials provided in class and posted in SLATE are protected by copyright. Use of these materials must comply with the Acceptable Use Policy, Use of Copyright Protected Work Policy and Student Code of Conduct. Students may use, copy and share these materials for learning and/or research purposes provided that the use complies with fair dealing or an exception in the Copyright Act. Permission from the rights holder would be necessary otherwise. Please note that it is prohibited to reproduce and/or post a work that is not your own on third-party commercial websites including but not limited to Course Hero or OneNote. It is also prohibited to reproduce and/or post a work that is not your own or your own work with the intent to assist others in cheating on third-party commercial websites including but not limited to Course Hero or OneNote.

Intellectual Property: Sheridan's Intellectual Property Policy generally applies such that students own their own work. Please be advised that students working with external research and/or industry collaborators may be asked to sign agreements that waive or modify their IP rights. Please refer to Sheridan's IP Policy and Procedure.

Respectful Behaviour: Sheridan is committed to provide a learning environment that supports academic achievement by respecting the dignity, self-esteem and fair treatment of every person engaged in the learning process. Behaviour which is inconsistent with this principle will not be tolerated. Details of Sheridan's policy on Harassment and Discrimination, Academic Integrity and other academic policies are available on the Sheridan policy website.

Accessible Learning: Accessible Learning coordinates academic accommodations for students with disabilities. For more information or to register, please see the Accessible Learning website (Statement added September 2016)

Course Outline Changes: The information contained in this Course Outline including but not limited to faculty and program information and course description is subject to change without notice. Any changes to course curriculum and/or assessment shall adhere to approved Sheridan protocol. Nothing in this Course Outline should be viewed as a representation, offer and/or warranty. Students are responsible for reading the Important Notice and Disclaimer which applies to Programs and Courses.

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