Digital Painting, Info
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Online Character Design and Visual Development Courses

Hi Guys!

A bit of a different post for today!

In case this is helpful to anyone visiting this site (thanks very much by the way! :), I thought I’d take a moment to mention some of the places around the web that I have used as a resource to improve my own work. It’s quite possible that you guys have already discovered these places through search engines etc…

I’m essentially a self-taught Character Designer and Vis-Dev artist , and these courses/resources were a big help to me personally.

1. First off the bat are the courses over at ( . They do 8 week long courses on topics ranging from fundamentals like perspective drawing and digital painting, to more specific courses on things like mech design. All the courses are taught by industry professionals who provide video lectures and personalized feedback for students on homework assignments e.g. James Paick ( teaches the Environment Design courses.

So far I’ve taken 3 courses here (Digital Painting, Dynamic Sketching 1 and Fundamentals of Character Design) and found they were all really, really helpful in improving my workflow and my approach. The Fundamentals of Character Design course in particular really had a big impact on how I approach characters.

These are some of the designs I did for Fundamentals of Character Design:

Poultry Persuasionbarbarianwomanlargebarbarian

Unfortunately though, CGMA courses clock-in at $599 a pop (about £365 give or take), which makes them the priciest courses that I’ve taken. Also, due to living in the UK, I couldn’t participate in the weekly Q&A sessions with the instructor as the time difference meant staying up until 4 in the morning…

2. Next up, and we are sticking with CGMA for the moment, are the Workshops that CGMA provide. These are different from their main courses are they are just a 1-2 hour video lecture/interview with artists. They cover a wide range of subjects, and some are almost a taster for the more expensive 8 weeks courses.

One workshop costs $39.99 (about £24), and if you purchase more than one you get a bit of a discount.

I’ve checked out a few of these and find them useful, but not always so good in terms of value- because there are so many similar videos out there on the web that give you the same sort of thing for free.

Sometimes though, when they post new workshops up, they provide a live Q&A with the artist during the 2 hour session- so those in particular are worth looking out for.

3. Next is the School of Visual Storytelling ( This site also has courses taught by industry professionals like Will Terry ( and Tyler Carter ( The prices here range from $20- $325 ( approx £12- £200).

4. One course I’ve just recently joined to try and improve some areas of my painting is The Magic Box over at Chris Oatleys art site ( This site is an awesome resource for all manner of interviews and insights into the industry. It also has an art course that you pay by subscription, called The Magic Box, where classes and lectures unlock month by month. It costs $18 ( £11) a month, and lasts for 18 months, after which it stops charging you.

So far I’ve been a part of this for one month and I personally think it’s excellent value for money. You can do the homework at your own pace and post WIPs to the forum page, where you can get feedback from other artists on the course as well as Chris Oatley himself.

These are the main places I’ve used online to get training in Character Design and Environment Painting. There are lots of other videos and tutorials I’ve used and found helpful- I’ll try to search these out and post them up in the future. I also tweet about interesting interviews over on Twitter.

Sorry for the super long post, but I thought it was time to give a nod to these sites for their help! I hope this post has been useful to anyone wondering about online courses and training! 🙂


  1. Don’t worry about the “super long post”. I’ve enjoyed every single line. I was about to enroll in the CGMA class, which is unfortunatelly quite expensive. Thank you so much for showing others so interesting options like
    Let me ask you just one thing. I’m a Brazilian illustrator and although I speak english in high intermediate level, sometimes I still have doubts about pronunciation. I suppose there is no subtitled lectures at right ? Will I be able to watch the video whenever I want ? Several times ?Because I’m not a native english speaker, I may have some difficulties to understand everything on the spot.
    Thank you again for the awesome post and congratulations for your work as an Artist.

    • itineranthand says

      Hi! Thanks so much for the kind words! I’m so pleased the information was helpful to you!

      The Magic Box over at is a subscription model where the lessons unlock gradually month by month. Once they have unlocked, all the videos for that lesson are available to watch as many times as you want- provided you are still subscribed to the course. Unfortunately I don’t believe that there is a subtitles option on the videos…This is the link to the enrolment page for The Magic Box To get an idea of the video format I found a link to part of an old set of videos Chris Oatley did, where he painted The Hulk vs Wolverine. Unfortunately, this was the only one I could find- I think it’s part 4 out of 5? I hope this helps!

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