2D Character Design (Evening - 8 weeks)

Course details


Live online

Start date

21st October 2024


8 weeks

Mode of study

Part time (Monday evening: 7pm-10pm)



Top 10 Rookies award for creative schools in the UK

Course overview

Do you want to make your characters come to life? 

2D Character Design is one of the most rewarding parts of our industry and also one of the most competitive. As with everything we do here at Escape Studios, the class will be based on industry-standard briefs. 

The course is very hands-on – you’ll be set a project and have various tasks to complete in your own time before each class. Covering anatomy, colour theory, gesture drawing, expressions and more, you’ll learn how to create a suite of contrasting characters for a same narrative. 

The course has been designed after consultation with industry, with individual classes being delivered by character designers working in the animation industry, such as the very talented Steven Sole.

See more student work

Why choose this course

  • Based in London - home to some of the best animation and visual effects studios in the world 

  • Industry briefs - work on industry-standard briefs and experience real-life scenarios, just like in a professional studio

  • Professional input - our advisory board of experts, from the likes of DNEG (Avengers: Endgame and Oscar-winning Dune) and MPC (The Lion King and 1917), help keep this course relevant

  • Successful alumni - join our community of thousands of Escapees, many of whom have gone on to work at some of the world’s top studios. 47 Escapees worked on Avengers: Endgame, 36 on No Time to Die and 16 on Stranger Things

  • Industry-standard facilities - study in a studio environment that mirrors current industry practice, using professional software and techniques 

  • Online mentoring and individual feedback will be provided by your tutor for a further 8 weeks after the course. You'll be set a series of projects 

  • Fast-track learning - studying a short course allows you to learn new skills quickly, in a fast-paced environment, so you can start applying for jobs as soon as you’ve completed the programme 

  • Intensive training - we pack a lot into a few evening classes, and we recommend that you work outside of classes for an extra few hours per week to complete your assignments 

  • Flexibility - study live online and in the evening to fit the course around your professional and personal life and other commitments 

  • Strong portfolio - along with an Escape Studios Certificate of Completion, you'll leave with strong creative and technical skills and great pieces for your portfolio 

  • Small class sizes - a convivial environment allows students to assist and inspire one another and benefit from personalised feedback from tutors.

Course modules

  • Introduction to main project 

  • Course goals 

  • Introductory exercises 

  • The importance of research and references 

  • The role of a Character Artist within the animation pipeline 

  • Using simple succinct design, shape language, ‘cognitive bias’ and colour theory to create a character’s 'hero pose' 

  • Principles of life drawing 

  • Understanding anatomy to subvert it well for design 

  • Highlighting a character's weight and volumes 

  • Carry a character’s specifics onto a turnaround

  • The importance of a solid line of action drawn through the pose 

  • Using contour lines for a clean and clear silhouette

  • The basics of colour theory

  • Finding the right colour and tone to best reflect the personality of our characters 

  • Tips and tricks 

  • Expression sheets 

  • ‘The Mask’ technique

  • Identifying angles of the skull to place the head in space 

  • Eyebrows (not a makeup lesson)

You’ve now established a style for one of your characters. See how this treatment can be employed in a new character from the same narrative and place the two together in a situation, employing many of the skills learned earlier in the course.

  • Presenting your character pack 

  • Discussing your own character-based project

Online mentoring will continue for a further 8 weeks via the Discord group introduced in week one. You will utilise techniques taught across the previous lessons in order to explore your own ideas and flesh out your portfolio.

More information

  • Photoshop

To apply, complete the relevant online application form linked below:

Our Admissions Team will get in touch to take you through the next steps.

If you have any questions about your application or our entry requirements, get in touch!

As part of the application process, you will need to agree to our terms and conditions for your place on the course to be secured.

Minimum requirements

We welcome and encourage applications from students with a variety of backgrounds, experiences and perspectives.

To study this short course, you must:

  • Be over 18

  • Have a good understanding of written and spoken English

  • Feel comfortable using a computer.

If you’d like to discuss your circumstances before applying, contact us!

Non-UK students

We accept international students for our short courses, with no difference in course fees or administration costs. 

The Standard Visitor visa allows students to come to the UK to study for a course of up to six months at an accredited institution. Depending on your nationality, you may need to apply for a standard visitor visa prior to departure from your home country. For more information visit:  

Contact us on or +44 (0)203 441 1303 for any questions.

We can provide remote access to our workstations during teaching time. Due to availability restrictions, we highly advise you to have your own set up at home to study in your own time.

More things you’ll need:

  • A strong internet connection

  • An external hard drive (minimum 2TB) to back up your work during the course

  • A three-button mouse (or optionally graphics tablet)

  • A computer microphone (and optionally a webcam)

  • Note-taking materials

If you have any questions about learning online or if you need help with what to buy, get in touch at


Live online: £825

Payment plans

We offer a range of payment plan options for all courses. Following an initial deposit at registration stage, your chosen payment plan will break down your remaining fees into up to six equal instalments, to be paid over the course length.

Contact us or visit our admissions page for any questions about fees, funding and payment plans.

You’ll leave with an Escape Studios Certificate of Achievement, along with strong creative and technical skills and some great pieces of work for your portfolio. Ready to apply for jobs in the industry!

In addition to the soft skills that you will learn and enhance, working in a professional studio environment will give you the edge when applying for jobs in a highly competitive industry. 

Some of the opportunities you can consider once you’ve finished your studies include: 

  • Animator 

  • Illustrator

  • Concept Artist 

  • Designer 

Our students have gone to work in many areas of the industry, including animation, films, TV, video games and visual effects, at companies including Pixar, Blue Zoo and Framestore. Read some of our Escapee success stories.

Check out our Careers Guide for more information about career opportunities and progression routes.

We pack a lot into each class of our evening courses, to be able to offer a learning option that is more flexible and fits in with your personal and work life. This means that contact time with your tutors will be intense learning and hands on. To make the most of this course, we recommend that you spend at least 10 hours working on your projects or practising your new skills in your own time each week. 

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Meet our industry-experienced tutors

They all have industry experience and are experts in their fields, including certified trainers for Unreal Engine, Autodesk and Houdini. They've worked at studios such as Walt Disney, EA and Framestore, on credits including Doctor Strange, Kingsman and Bond: Spectre.

Meet your tutors