Artists learn character design through Artworks workshop

 PENCIL TO PAPER: Melanie Johnson works on adding to detail to her character during the Introduction to Character Design class at Artworks. Students drew a character based on four descriptors.

PENCIL TO PAPER: Melanie Johnson works on adding to detail to her character during the Introduction to Character Design class at Artworks. Students drew a character based on four descriptors. (Pioneer photos/Emily Grove-Davis)

BIG RAPIDS  — Seated around a table Saturday morning, artists let their creative juices flow as they drew, sketched and built a character from scratch.

Seven participants took part in an Introduction to Character Design class at Artworks where the students were challenged to create a character, giving depth and detail to their designs.

“The class is focused on pushing them as artists,” said class instructor Autumn Mirkle. “To start with, each student picked out different cards — one Crayola crayon color and three adjectives  — and used those words to design their character.”

Students started off sketching ideas and were forced to use permanent marker, which is something Mirkle knew bothered some of the artists.

“I know it’s killing some of them to not be able to erase, but by doing this it helps solidify their ideas and teaches them not to be afraid to try new things,” she explained.

Mirkle went around the table, checking students’ progress and seeing what they’d come up with in the first few minutes of work. Some flipped the pages, not quite ready to show their creations, while others talked and gave details about aspects of their character.

NEXT STEP: Instructor Autumn Mirkle explains to students how to give characters depth by including various angles and drawings. Mirkle led an Introduction to Character Design class, which challenged artists to create a well-rounded character. (Pioneer photos/Emily Grove-Davis)

NEXT STEP: Instructor Autumn Mirkle explains to students how to give characters depth by including various angles and drawings. Mirkle led an Introduction to Character Design class, which challenged artists to create a well-rounded character.

Next, the students were given the chance to begin making drafts using pencil. Along with sketching the front of their character, students were instructed to draw their person or creature from various angles. They also were told to try including different expressions, outfits and other props for their character.

Once finished, the designs were presented by each student to the rest of the class, with explanations about the decisions made in drawing the character.

At the conclusion of the class, participants were able to keep their sketch pads.

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Posted by Emily Grove

Emily is the Pioneer and Herald Review crime and court reporter, covering crime in both Mecosta and Osceola counties. She can be reached by e-mail at emily@pioneergroup.com or by phone at (231) 592-8362.

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