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Developing Characters, Environments, and Story Boards

with Mary Jane Begin

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  •   01 Class Introduction

    01:21

Class duration: 3h 18m

See all 13 lessons
  • 7K students

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  • 75% recommended

    4 student reviews

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About The Class

Instructor Mary Jane Begin is an award-winning illustrator and author of children’s picture books, a Rhode Island School of Design graduate and professor in the Illustration Department.

In this course, Mary Jane will help viewers learn about the components of developing a visual narrative and learn about best practices for creating more believable characters, authentic worlds and compelling, dynamic visuals that tell a story.

She will cover the following topics

  • Creating a cast of characters
  • Developing characters through multiple iterations
  • Creating a turn-around
  • Inventing environments
  • Designing images/storyboards
  • Layout and understanding light, stylization, and overall pacing of imagery.

Mary Jane will also guide viewers through developing compositions, creating depth of field and merging real and imaginary worlds. The course will come to life through real-world projects both from Mary Jane and from other masters of the industry.


Lesson Plan

  1. 01

    Class Introduction

    01:21
  2. 02

    Start with Words and Ideas

    10:58
  3. 03

    Drawing it Out: Creating Character Shape and Gesture

    09:28
  4. 04

    Exploring Movement, Facial Expression and Costume Design

    24:50
  5. 05

    Developing a Cast of Characters with Style

    11:26
  6. 06

    Color Scripts

    10:17
  7. 07

    Developing a Style

    09:49
  8. 08

    Creating Compositions with Perspective and Dramatic POV

    16:15
  9. 09

    Storyboards, Animatics and Layouts

    12:29
  10. 10

    Creating Rhythm and Continuity Between Scenes or Pages

    09:43
  11. 11

    Consideration of Light, Stylization and Overall Pacing

    09:48
  12. 12

    Terms for Making Books

    16:09
  13. 13

    Critique of Audience-Submitted Illustrations

    56:14

Meet Your Expert

Mary Jane Begin

As an award-winning illustrator and author of children’s picture books, a Rhode Island School of Design graduate and professor in the Illustration Department at RISD…Mary Jane feels INCREDIBLY lucky; she gets to do all the things that she loves to do ... read more

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Bonus Material

Access your course materials here!

Get access to exclusive bonus content when you purchase this class.

  • pdf Character Slides Artist Reference PDF
  • pdf Character Slides PDF

75% of students recommend this class.
See what some of them have to say.

  • MikeD

    MikeD

    January 2018

    I have to say, this class and the companion class were very humbling. I assume I am not like most people who would watch this class in that I have no such artistic talent. I cannot draw at all (limited to "Spike" from TED Talks), but I had no idea such thought, imagination or ideology went into creating these designs. Professor Begin has an amazing presentation style, she is clear, concise and thoughtful. The subject matter was amazing and I can only see it helping me in evaluating my own work and taking a whole new perspective on art, light and evaluation. I highly recommend this class whatever no matter your creative bent. Thank you Creative Live for hosting this wonderful speaker.

  • Creativelive Student

    Creativelive Student

    February 2018

    This course is well organized, very informative and goes into great detail regarding the best way to develop character(s) and how they should relate to their environment. Mary Jane articulates her points through art fundamentals, color theory and the power of strong research - as well as her extensive experience in the creative industry. I highly recommend this course for anyone interested in advancing their career or pursuing a career in animation, game design, or children's book publishing.

  • Nancy Morrison

    Nancy Morrison

    February 2018

    Excellent!! This is a course that I will review over and over for there are so many great bits of information extremely well explained embedded in the broad concepts of composition and detailed illustration both in her own pieces and that of constructive critiquing her student's work. MJ is an excellent teacher! I am looking forward to her other classes! Nancy

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