Aardman Academy

Gateway to Industry

Character Design with Sylvia Bull 

21st-22nd April 2021

A two day course for artists looking to develop their skills as character designers.

FEE: £240 incl. VAT


Over two days, participants will be given an overview of designing for animation and equipped with a set of skills to design their own characters.

The course will cover the process of designing a character for animation, from a creative brief through to finished final artwork, ready to deliver on to the model making department. 

It will also cover how narrative influences the design and how to develop character in conjunction with story.

This course has been designed to work for both for junior artists eager to improve their skills as well as more intermediate artists hoping to become professional designers within the industry. 


Day one


Participants will be introduced to their tutor’s background and skills as well as each other. 

Pre-course homework will be evaluated with particular examples given feedback and discussed within the class. 

Participants will learn how design briefs work specifically within animation, followed by an example of how an Aardman character has been developed, from a brief all the way through to the final design. 

In the afternoon students will be divided into groups and using their toolbox of knowledge from the morning, they’ll work as a team to develop a character from a concise creative brief.

1-to-1 discussions with the tutor will provide advice to as many participants as possible while the drawings are being made. 

Each group will share their design with the class, and after discussion will receive feedback and notes to make improvements. This will help explain the process of how the final design is reached working with a director and pre-production team. 

Day two

Participants will be asked to implement suggested revisions and changes to their character designs before a final crit of the group. 

This will be followed by helpful hints to break into the industry and will culminate in Q&A.


The course is aimed at artists (aged 18 and above) looking to develop their skills as character designers. Participants should have basic knowledge of animation and the pre-production process, as well as strong drawing skills and an interest in becoming a designer professionally. 


This course will be run via Zoom so participants can work from home. An invite will be sent out on the day.


Participants will be asked to select a favourite character prior to the course and put them into the elevator brief. The purpose of this exercise is to encourage students to think critically about their selected character and how they would react under pressure. 

Completed homework must be submitted the week before the course begins. 



Gateway to Industry: Character Design with Sylvia Bull

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