Designing characters with personality will make your illustrations come to life.

Your favorite characters are your favorites because their creators used the perfect blend of "figurative," "symbolic," and "abstract" elements to stylize them. In this course, artist and teacher Jake Parker introduces the "style wheel" to students and uses it to deconstruct some popular characters. 

The shapes and proportions used to create characters are evaluated and Jake explains how these aspects have a huge visual and psychological impact on the personality of a stylized character. 

In addition to deconstructing dozens of different characters, you'll also watch Jake create a stylized illustration of his son Calvin bringing everything together in the final video. 

NOTE: This class is in our fundamentals series and therefore covers beginning level concepts and ideas. 

In this class you will learn:

  • How the Style Wheel is a great tool to understand three primary elements to character stylization

  • How shape and proportion are fundamental building blocks of character construction and how they contribute to a characters personality

  • How to blend figurative, abstract and symbolic approaches to create stylized body parts and human characters.

About the Instructor


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 Arizona.

Course curriculum

  1. 1
    • Introduction

    • Introduction to the Style Wheel

    • Style Wheel Application

    • Style Wheel Examples

    • Proportion

    • Shape

    • Specific Body Parts

    • Drawing from Life - Demonstration

    • Full Course PDF + Assignments

  • 8


  • 1.75


  • 3

    PDFs with Assignments

Ready to start your creative journey? 

Get the guidance you need on the path to becoming a better artist.