I'm a young girl and I love to draw, especially characters. I started drawing people when I was much younger. I love character design.

I would like to have a job that involves drawing people in different poses and backgrounds. It could be for games or motion pictures. What college major would be best for me, and what should I focus on now to set myself up for the this sort of career path?

  • I don't know if there's a US equivalent, but in the UK, art schools do 1-year "foundation" courses to do before starting college that are about trying lots of disciplines to find your ideal speciality, and learning the basics that are common to all disciplines like creative thinking, developing ideas, giving and receiving criticism etc. Quite a lot of people from overseas do them as international students (this is probably quite expensive though) Aug 31, 2013 at 9:04

3 Answers 3


I realize that I'm "begging the issue" with my answer; but, I think it's valid here.

Strive for a well-rounded general education at this point. Keep your options open by avoiding a specialization too soon, academically.

The biggest problem (that have teachers talking to themselves as they bang their heads against the wall, weeping and gnashing their teeth) is poor reading and writing skills. Grammar and spelling is sub-standard. Getting communication skills right, immediately gives you an advantage.

Thinking skills suffer overall, too. The school subjects best able to develop thinking and reasoning skill is geometry and algebra, I've found.

Follow your heart, professionally, though.

I'll advise you, "When you are doing something you love, the worst days are okay. When you're doing something you hate, the best days are difficult."

  • I go to a tech school. When school starts again ill be doing multi media, graphic design and advertising. I am also a very good student. So no need to worry about that.
    – Andreia
    Aug 31, 2013 at 17:43

Draw every day. Take a sculpture class so you can get skilled at creating maquettes of your characters. These will be useful as reference for you to draw them from all angles. Study birds and fish for skill in rendering texture and form, and movement. Since art school is expensive, help offset the cost by building a portfolio now. Take art classes, photograph your best work, and as your skills increase cull your portfolio. Art schools look at your portfolio for merit-based scholarships. Go to portfolio reviews and recruiting events. Listen to critiques and figure out what they are looking for, before you are in the hot seat yourself. Post your work online and join artist communities. Start a webcomic featuring your characters. And start looking at schools that have these specialized minors, like SCAD, and find their students on tumblr to see if it seems like you would be happy there based on their experiences.

Don't close off any avenues yet. Taking physics might seem irrelevant now, but the more well-rounded you are, the more you will stand out at admission time, and later in your career it will be easier to talk with and collaborate with people in other fields, to make cool things happen, especially if you go into game design.

Good luck to you, and have fun! Also, if your family is not super supportive of an art career, just remind them that everything needs to be designed before it is made. And that means art jobs are everywhere.

  • 1
    Thank you ! :) I've been posting my work on deviant art and instagram. And I try todraw every day. Sometimes i have major art block tho
    – Andreia
    Aug 31, 2013 at 17:44
  • 1
    That's great. You are doing what you should. On those art block days, try something different. Sketch animals at the zoo, pick up some clay or yarn, re-draw some older work. It"s good you"re already in the habit of drawing daily. :) Sep 1, 2013 at 4:03

So for those who are interested in this path:

Games and movies are a good target industry for character design. You should know it's very competitive, and in reality you probably need to know how to do more than just character design - look into the very related fields of 3d modeling, visual development/concept design, and animation.

Colleges: In the US, there are many good schools with reputations for producing great illustration/animation grads: Art Center, RISD, Savanna School of Art and Design, and even San Jose State is known for it's art department. I'm sure there's more I missed. PS San Francisco's Academy of Art is a for-profit real-estate scheme masquerading as an art school.

These schools teach solid fundamental drawing skills, which you will need absolutely if you want to be good a character design. Don't get stuck drawing the same anime character over and over. You will need to be able to draw anything, realistically, and develop good observational drawing skills. Figure drawing is a must, and if you start practicing analytical figure drawing early, you'll have an edge over others who didn't.

If you look at the work of some of the great character designers in the West, you will see that they have excellent drawing skills that go beyond whatever style the character is drawn in. Check out Claire Wendling, Enrique Fernandez, the artists of Pixar, any "art of" books from Pixar, Dreamworks, or Disney.

Good luck to you.

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