Illustrator, Jonatan Cantero
"Create stand-out characters that serve as
an impressive piece of any project."
Want to learn the principles of character design
and bring your characters to life?
Learn the basics of translating complex volumes
into simple shapes, and acquire an understanding
of caricature, shape language, exaggerated poses,
Length: 21 videos (Duration 8h 13m)
Adobe Photoshop CC
Jonatan Cantero's Profile & Portfolio
Hi, my name is Jonatan Cantero.
I'm a Spanish illustrator,
focused on character design and visual development.
I've worked with notable clients like
Cartoon Network and Rovio,
and have also garnered experience
through my work as a comic artist
and on children's book illustration.
When you think of your favorite animation shows,
video games, comics, or illustrated books
the first thing that comes to mind
is usually the characters.
That's why I chose to cover how to create
compelling and unique characters,
as they are highly valued in this industry.
Freelance Illustrator & Character Designer (2013 - Present)
Character Design and Illustration Lecturer at Joso School and Iboix School (2016 - Present)
2D Animator and Character Design at Plug-In-Media Ltd (2019 - 2020)
Projects & Awards
2D Artist at 5 Ants (2010 - 2013)
Character Designer for Rovio, Cartoon
Network, Baobab, and Studio Poink
Silver Award in Japan International Manga
Award (2020) - Korokke and The girl who said no
Korokke And The Girl Who Said No (2019)
Korokke and the Spirit Beneath the Mountain (2022)
9 Class Exercises
Translate Complex Volumes into Simple Shapes
Deep Understanding of Caricature and Exaggeration
Using Rhythm to Guide
the Viewer's Eyes
How Modifying Face Traits Define Personality
Create Exaggerated Poses
Create Different Characters That Fit in the Same Universe
Build an Appealing Non-humanoid Body Structure
Psychology of Color
Push the Limits of the Human Figure For Expressive Designs
What are the boundaries of a "human body" in character design? Learn the breadth of what is considered a human body and what is not, and how to modify characters to make them more expressive and unique. After taking this class, you will be able to achieve this while also creating characters that exude an aura of relatability.
Bring Your Characters to Life
A compelling character needs to have a resounding sense of movement and life to them. Learn how to implement facial expressions and gestures that help make your characters more persuasive, as if they have a life of their own.
Create Compelling Final Art of Your Character
Character art is not just about creating cool looking characters. They need to convey the inner workings of a character. You'll learn tips and tricks to visually show how they fit into a story.
Explore the Main Tools
of Character DesignBuild a strong understanding of contrast, exaggeration, shape language, rhythm, and other pillars of this art.
Create Clear and
Credible ExpressionsYou will get to learn how to demonstrate different expressions and exaggerate them through your work.
Learn How to Create
a Great SilhouetteImprove your ability to create compelling and easy to read body poses and silhouettes.
It's Not All About
HumansDevelop animals, creatures, and even animated objects while still keeping them as relatable and expressive as people.
Create Compelling Final Art
for Your CharacterLearn how to finish your characters in quick but resolutive ways that fit the fast turnaround time that this industry demands.
Learn How to Land a Role in the Character Design IndustryDiscover how to advance your career as a character artist, the different kinds of jobs you can get into, and how to make your work stand out from the rest.
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SECTION 01. OT
- Introducing your instructor
- What you will learn
- Helpful websites and software
SECTION 02. Introduction to Character Design
02. Exploring the Basic Principles of Character Design
- History of character design in animation
- The relevance of appeal
- Broad explanations of character design principles
03. Fundamentals of Drawing
- Observation of reality and understanding simple shapes inside them
- Proportions and human anatomy
SECTION 03. Creating Expressive Characters
04. Contrast and Exaggeration
- Understanding the figure in simple shapes
- Modifying those shapes to create appealing figures
05. Shape Language
- What the 3 basic shapes are and their psychological connotations
- Shape Insights: Combine them and use them to subvert expectations
- Shape Psychology: Wide-thin, stable-unstable, compact-loose, etc
- The relevance of an easy to read silhouette
- Repetition and variety
07. Let's Move It
- Line of action
- Gesture drawing
- The expressivity of different parts of the body
- Straight lines and curves in postures
09. Designing an Appealing Face
- Anatomy of the face
- Exaggeration, contrast, and shape language applied to faces
- Using facial features to modify personality
10. Facial Expressions
- Basic emotions and how facial muscles move
- Eyes: The main tools of expression and empathy
- Exaggerating expressions for greater clarity
11. Synthesizing to Create Simple but Interesting Figures
- History of UPA style, a character style that pushes simplicity
- How to push simplicity to different levels
12. Improving Volume
- Understanding character volume so you think on It as 3D
- Tools used to add volume in drawing: Overlap and surface lines
SECTION 04. Giving a Character Personality Through Their Design
13. The Creative Process: Create Compelling and Unique Characters
- Things to keep in mind when getting ready to design your characters
- Practice how to train creativity and overcome art block
14. Characterization: Clothes, Hair, and Props
- Things to keep in mind when adding accessories
- Designing props
15. Telling a Story With Your Design
- Designing from keywords (objectives, adjectives, feelings, etc)
- Symmetry and asymmetry
- Showing backstory through your design
16. Creating a Group of Characters
- Creating 2 characters that function together so they define each other by contrast
- The lineup: Creating a common style for different characters in a project, but at the same time making them distinguishable
SECTION 05. Create Appealing Non-Human Characters
17. Animal Characters
- Understanding volume and shapes of non-human bodies
- Use of exaggeration and contrast
- Making them expressive and relatable
18. Monsters and Animated Object
- Creating clear and expressive creatures even with non-anthropomorphic characters
- Making them relatable: Line of action, face, etc
SECTION 06. Cleaning Up the Design
19. Introduction to Color
- Basic color theory
- Value: Use of light and darkness
- Color schemes and how to use them for contrast and rhythm
- Color Psychology
- Developing a palette that fits the character and project
20. Creating a Compelling Final Art Style
- Using different line art and color styles for expressive reasons
- Example of a clean up style and color process that keeps the focus on the shape
SECTION 07. Conclusion
21. Starting a Career in Character Design
- Personal tips on work discipline, routines, and attitude
- Tips on developing a portfolio for the animation industry
- Goodbye and good luck
*The release date of this class, curriculum images, and associated content can be changed without prior notice.
with Illustrator Jonatan Cantero
Is There a Specific Reason Why You Chose This Specific Topic/Themes?
I've worked in a variety of fields in the art industry, but I've always known that the best hook for an art product is a great character. That's why I focused my career on creating them and teaching aspiring artists.
What Makes Your Class Different From Other Classes?
Throughout this class, you will learn the principles of character design. But also we'll focus on something I think is not explained often: How to give your character a soul, and designs that look like they are alive.
Please Share Your Thoughts on the Job Market of the Industry
Character designer is one of the most important roles in movies, TV shows and video games. You go into them by their aesthetics, but fall in love with the characters. Also, being all about creativity, it's very rewarding and you will always have room to explore and keep learning.
Please Share Anything You Would Like to Add to Your Students.
I hope this class will help you to experiment with designing different shapes and colors of characters.
This course will use Photoshop (Adobe Photoshop 2021 recommended, but Photoshop CC 2015 and up also work).
Please purchase and install these program(s) for an optimized lecture experience.
*These programs and/or materials will not be provided with the lecture.
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