Coursera: Character Design for Video Games

coursera 2

It’s official now. I completed my first online Coursera course. I wouldn’t call it an achievement; it wasn’t really so difficult. I think the only potential obstacle to breezing through the course was (is) having snobby peers who review your work. But my peers seemed to have enjoyed the characters I came up with (or perhaps they were just being easy on me!); hence the full score of 100.0% was obtained. Anyway, let me tell you what I think of this course.

Do you get your money’s worth? — Well, enrollment is free. Only if you want an official certificate is it necessary to pay some sum in money.

Would you get your time’s worth? — For those, like me initially, who look around for a course to hone their character design skills, let me say this: This particular course wasn’t so much theory-rich as it was inspiring. It probably most definitely won’t help you get better at drawing and designing (video game) characters per se. But, you will get to see some industry figureheads, like e.g. one of the Adventure Time character artists, doing their thing on video, from sketching to line drawing to coloring. And through “homework” assignments, it will help you, exhort you, out of your comfort zone and make you draw some characters in ways perhaps different from how you usually draw your characters. Of course, all this takes time. All in all, if you want to successfully complete the course, you’re looking at only an hour to a few hours a week, for four weeks — though less if you’re okay with just submitting simple pencil-sketches. So, I’d say it’s worth it!



Hollow Be Thy Name


So as you may know, I’m taking a course on video game character design, and I get these homework assignments. This week, the assignment was to take an established video game character and make it fit for another game universe.

Well, I’ve playing Dark Souls 2 a lot lately, which got me inspired to do something in that style. Then it got me thinking, What contrasting video game character could I “fit in” in such a grim, unrelenting atmosphere? I decided on Mario. Now I know, it may not be the most original choice, but I just couldn’t think of a better one than the happy go lucky, child friendly plumber we all know and love.

I didn’t want to mess too much with Mario’s original iconic design. But since Dark Souls features densely detailed characters, I had to make his design a bit more dense as well, and so I added some weapons and armory. Also, I muted the colors a bit to make the mood a bit more dark. And of course, how could I not make him look like a Hollow.

Mario, Nintendo, From Software, Dark Souls, Crossover, Popart, Medieval, Dark Ages, Hollow, Undead, Cartoon, Gerrit Rijken, Iosua, Illustration

Dino Warriors (2016)

First of all: Happy New Year! It’s only the fourth of January — it’s within the cut-off time right? Right?!

Then, here’s this week’s homework assignment for that character design course I’m taking. The assignment was: Draw two characters that are opposites, each having a congruent pose, et cetera, with their own “visual language.”

I already had some sketches toward two opposite dinosaur-like characters. With the assignment in mind I started fleshing them out, making little changes on the way, and this is how it turned out. On the left you can see the pretend-video game protagonist, one little brave and timid soul, on the right an enemy guard, stout build, strong, sluggish.

dinosaur, dino, cartoon, illustration, character design, concept art

Perhaps I could’ve, should’ve, done better on the poses… But hey, I’m still learning.


So, what’s cooking? Well uh, I started doing a course on video game character design. For my first homework assignment, I had to draw some variations of a character design. I chose to do a character I was already working on for a webcomic — which I hope to publish sometime… well, sometime next year.

Cartoon, illustration, characterdesign, character design, video game, Bumstein, webcomic, conceptart, concept art, Gerrit Rijken, Iosua

Also, I’m currently laying out the plans for a collaborative art project together with my sister who, by the way, is well on her way of becoming an airbrush master. I’m really excited about that!

And uh… of course there are still some commissioned pieces I need to finish soon.