Do you struggle with integrating your character into an environment you’ve drawn?

We all love designing cool characters, but they don’t exist in a void. They exist in an environment, and it’s your job to create one that is true to the story.    

In Level 2 of our curriculum, you learned how to design great characters. In Level 3, you learned how to design amazing environments. Now it’s time to bring these together in one awesome illustration! 

In this course, you will learn techniques for identifying your character’s perspective so it can match the perspective of your environment. The class also covers some principles of composition, like focal points, light on dark, and the rule of thirds. The course ends with two demos where Will will walk you through his process for building backgrounds for an existing character. 

You will finish the course with refined sketches for two compositions that you can color for assignments in the next Level 4 class, Painting Color & Light.

In this class you will learn how to:

  • Determine where to place your character in your composition (and where NOT to place it).

  • Identify your character’s perspective and design a background to match.

  • Identify your character’s value and design a background to match.

  • Establish a focal point and eye movement in your composition.

  • Create objects and elements that enhance your story and composition.

Stay on track with your art goals!

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artist rabbit holding art tools

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About the Instructor


Will Terry

Will Terry has been a freelance illustrator for 26 years. He got his start working for magazines and newspapers in the Washington D.C. area. His early clients include publications such as Time, Money, WSJ and ads for Sprint, Pizza Hut, Fed Ex, and Master Card. He has illustrated about 30 children’s books for a number of publishers, including Random House, Simon & Schuster, Scholastic, and Penguin. When he's not mountain biking, hiking, or snowboarding he works out of the office in Provo Utah. 

Course curriculum

  1. 1
    • Introduction

    • Assignment 1

    • Workbook PDF

    • Assignment 1: Adding a Background

  2. 2
    • Identify the Perspective

    • Fixing Existing Character Perspective

    • Assignment 2

    • Assignment 2: Finding the Perspective

  3. 3
    • Focal Points and Character Placement

  4. 4
    • Exterior Demo: Scarecrow Character

    • Interior Demo: Mouse Character

    • Assignment 3

    • Assignment 3: Building Backgrounds

  • 10


  • 1.25


  • 3


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