Prop design is an often overlooked skill. This course covers the basics, from proportions to design harmony. By the end you’ll feel confident designing any prop for your stories.

When you experience any visual story, whether it's animation, video games, children's books, or comics, your mind has been trained to emotionally bond with the character and the situation they are in. The story focuses on who the characters are, where they are, and what they need to accomplish. Props are there to support all of that, and in some cases be central to the story. Props help sell the characters and situations. Even if they're a background garnish, thought and care needs to be taken in their design to enhance the overall experience of the story.

The purpose of this course is to teach you the thought process and craft of designing a prop from start to finish. So that by the end of this course you can confidently design a set of props that support a story and feel like they belong together. 

Through this course Jake will demonstrate the principles he teaches by designing a series of props for his character Skull Chaser.

Students will finish this course with a finished prop sheet of at least 5 props. 

In this class you will learn:

  • The different categories of props

  • Difference between a hero prop and background prop

  • How to use and gather reference

  • How to use shape language to your advantage in prop design

  • The importance of harmony and contrast and how they apply to props

  • How to design props with interesting proportions

  • Jake’s step-by-step drawing and rendering process

  • How to draw props that feel like they exist in 3 dimensional space

  • How to design a series of props that belong together

Subscribe now to get access to this course

Plus 80+ other SVSLearn courses

  • $198.00 / year

    $198.00 / yearAnnual Subscription

    Save $101.88 annually compared the to Monthly Subscription
    Subscribe Now
  • $24.99 / month

    $24.99 / monthMonthly Subscription

    Subscribe Now

About the Instructor

Illustrator/Cartoonist

Jake Parker

For the last 19 years Jake has worked on everything from animated films to comics to picture books. For several years he worked for Reel FX and Blue Sky Studios on such projects as Horton Hears a Who, Rio, and Epic. He is the creator of the popular Inktober drawing challenge. Jake currently works as an illustrator and cartoonist on children's books and comics. He works out of his home studio in Utah.

Who should take this course:

This course is part of the Level 2 Foundations Curriculum. The following Level 1 courses are recommended prerequisites:

Course curriculum

  • 1

    Course Introduction

    • Introduction

    • Basic Prop Categories

    • Why Prop Design?

  • 2

    Concept

    • Asking the Right Questions

    • Questions you need to answer about your prop

    • Gathering Reference

    • Introduction to Reference Assignment

    • Assignment 1: Make a Reference Folder

  • 3

    Design

    • Fundamental Shapes

    • Proportions

    • Harmony & Contrast

  • 4

    Drawing

    • Drawing Process

    • Drawing Demonstration

    • Assignment 2

  • 5

    Structure

    • Structure

    • Structure Demonstration

    • Assignment 3

  • 6

    Rendering

    • Rendering Process and Demonstration

    • Assignment 4

  • 7

    The Prop Ensemble

    • Ensemble Design

    • Ensemble Demonstration: Silhouettes

    • Ensemble Demonstration: Detail Sketch

    • Ensemble Demonstration: Structure

    • Ensemble Demonstration: Rendering

  • 8

    Conclusion

    • Introduction to Final Assignment and Course Conclusion

    • Final Assignment

  • 3

    Over 3 hours of video lectures and demonstrations

  • 5

    Assignments to help you start mastering the skills taught in this course

Reviews

The best prop design course I've ever taken

Kalina Koleva

I love it !!! Why? Because we hear the terms "harmony and contrast" and "proportions all the time, but he actually explains how to put it in use. I love that...

Read More

I love it !!! Why? Because we hear the terms "harmony and contrast" and "proportions all the time, but he actually explains how to put it in use. I love that about Jake, that he is always very practical. My prop designs have gotten a lot better since the beginning of this course.

Read Less

So Simple, Yet So Brilliant

Veeran Bhana

You can't expect anything else than the best from SVS. Jake breaks down everything from gathering references through to the drawing and rendering phase to cr...

Read More

You can't expect anything else than the best from SVS. Jake breaks down everything from gathering references through to the drawing and rendering phase to create a finished selection of props. Excited to work through the assignments for this.

Read Less

interesting and stimulating

martina d'angiò

I was glued to the screen and managed to complete all the assignments! I really enjoyed this

I was glued to the screen and managed to complete all the assignments! I really enjoyed this

Read Less

Great tutorial on drawing objects from multiple directions

Rick Mercer

I thought it was a very course on teaching how to draw objects for every angle. I think if you combine this with the perspective class then you could pretty ...

Read More

I thought it was a very course on teaching how to draw objects for every angle. I think if you combine this with the perspective class then you could pretty much draw anything you want from any angle.

Read Less

Absolutely Love it, new portfolio piece at the end

Aleksey Nisenboym

Seeing Jake's process and the "oops"moments during the demo provides me great relief and helps reinforce that it's ok to make mistakes even as a pro, they ar...

Read More

Seeing Jake's process and the "oops"moments during the demo provides me great relief and helps reinforce that it's ok to make mistakes even as a pro, they are fixable. It's also really helpful to see the techniques Jake uses and his explanations on how to do them so we can too. He also recommends SVSlearn classes that this is building on top of. I would love to see a more advanced version of what its like designing props in a professional setting so I have no idea what to put in my portfolio and how it's supposed to look. This has definitely provided a lot of guidance and makes me want to learn about other kinds of props like consumables. Especially if I'm thinking of applying to board/video/card game.

Read Less

Cool stuff

karin Østergaard-Jensen

Clear and simple approach. Good assignments.

Clear and simple approach. Good assignments.

Read Less

Very good!

Maria Claudia Minervino

I love so much, thank you!

I love so much, thank you!

Read Less

really good!

Sidselmarie Wintherdam

I could really use everything in this course. Thanks.

I could really use everything in this course. Thanks.

Read Less

Great course!

Tina Vi

Subscribe to SVSLearn and we will show you how. 

Our videos are custom made to show you how to get the skills necessary to break into the dynamic field of illustration.

Learn More