Course Description

Offered in Summer, Fall, and Spring.

CalArts' Character Design Portfolio Development Workshop is an eight-week online intensive designed to help you incorporate techniques in character design to enhance your application portfolio for college animation programs.

Each week, the instructor will introduce different character design styles from comic book, animation, live action, and video game examples to inspire new work and teach you about visual composition and storytelling through character design. Weekly assignments based on these resources give you the opportunity to produce work that integrates costume, gesture, shape, story, and character.

Portfolio Development Workshop class sessions and critiques are not live streamed. You are free to access the class materials each week at your convenience. You will work on your assignments on your own time and upload them to the class module on Access, a CalArts online learning platform, by a set deadline. At the end of the week, the instructor will give you direct feedback on submitted assignments with video critiques. Lectures and video critiques are pre-recorded.

Application Instructions

The demand for portfolio development workshops is very high, and you are strongly advised to submit your application materials as soon as possible. Please be advised that in the event that a class reaches capacity we will cease reviewing applications, which can happen at any time. Materials submitted after the deadline—or when application reviews are ceased—will be considered only if space remains or becomes available.

Enrollment in the this workshop is based on the instructors' review of:

  • Five examples of your work, which must include:
    • One life drawing of a plant
    • Two life drawings of whatever you wish to draw
    • Two other work samples of your choice 

Life drawing work samples should be drawn from real life, not a photograph or mirror. For more information on what we are looking for, click here.

Applications must be accompanied by a $10 fee.


  • You must be 14 years old or older to take part in this workshop.
Enroll Now - Select a section to enroll in
Section Title
Portfolio Development Workshop in Character Design
Sep 27, 2021 to Nov 26, 2021
Delivery Options
Course Fee(s)
Tuition non-credit $1,000.00 Click here to get more information
Section Notes
To complete your work in this class you will also need:
  • A computer with an internet connection
  • A scanner or decent digital camera
  • Adobe Photoshop is a plus, but not essential
  • Drawing pens (no ballpoint pens; no pencils or erasers)
  • A sketchbook
  • A pad of large drawing paper
  • Any small watercolor set
  • A bottle of water proof black or India ink
  • Two paint brushes suitable for watercolors or ink: one small, one medium size
  • Chalk pastels (optional)
  • A three-ring binder with 100 plastic sleeves