Visual Development for Television

Chrystin Garland
9 Lessons (7h 5m)
9 Week(s)

Two Ways to Learn


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  1. Watch Video Lessons at Your Own Pace
  2. Assignments Included
  3. Peer Feedback
  4. Switch Courses as Often as You Like
  5. Access to Schoolism Webinar Archives

LIVE Classes

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  1. Watch Video Lessons with a Planned Curriculum
  2. Scheduled Assignments with Deadlines
  3. Personalized Paint-Overs and Real-Time Feedback From The Instructors
  4. Watch Video Lessons and Peer Feedback as Often as You'd Like
  5. Ability to Contact Instructor with Questions
  6. Digital Certificate of Completion
  7. Weekly Class Meetings LIVE on Zoom
  8. Access to Schoolism Webinar Archives

Course Description

Behind every great animated TV show are the visual development artists that create and design the world in which the story takes place. In "Visual Development for Television", you will learn about the process of building a world that visually communicates a story from scratch with Chrystin Garland, visual development artist for Netflix, DreamWorks, Titmouse, and more.

Over the course of 9 weeks, Chrystin will introduce you to the vast world of visual development as it applies to television and show you how to approach tackling a new project from the beginning research stage, to creating your cast of characters, to the color design, and everything in between. Chrystin will share her tips and techniques on how she visually communicates the intended story through color theory, environment design, composition, creating characters, prop design, etc., and will also provide in-depth demos throughout.

If you're interested in visual development for television but aren't sure what it entails, Chrystin breaks down the process of creating a visual world in a way that is approachable and easy to understand for any artist!

  • Adobe Photoshop

Lesson Plan

You're hired! ...Now what? In our first lesson, I'll begin by talking about what tackling a new project entails. I'll introduce you to all things visual development and what it is, focusing on topics like doing research, influences, setting, time period, and communicating with the Art Director. I'll do some initial sketches and environment explorations as well.

Creating characters that have depth and personality is an important step that adds to the believability and intrigue of the overall story. In this lesson, we'll focus on nailing down your main character's personality, their goals and motivations, and character arc. I'll then talk about the importance of shape design and proportions, and go over the possibilities of 2D vs 3D design choices.

Now that we have our main character fleshed out, this lesson will focus on secondary/tertiary characters that live in this world, or the rest of the "cast" of the show. What are their personalities like? How do they motivate or antagonize the main character? We will also have a discussion on shape language and how that can help inform a character's personality.

Your characters need somewhere to interact with each other, so designing convincing settings is essential to carry the story of your show. Every setting needs props to make the environment feel believable, so in this lesson, we'll tackle pulling and turning props from earlier environment designs, and carry out discussions about using fonts, labels, and textures.

Continuing on with our study of environments, we can now move on to our discussion specifically on exterior environments. We will talk about how to approach designing exterior environments as we focus on topics like perspective, composition, shape design, and storytelling.

Now that we've covered the exterior environments, naturally, the next step is to move on to the interior. Again, we'll focus on perspective, composition, shape design, and storytelling, as well as how the characters interact within the space.

The initial sketches for your environments are now ready to be taken to the next stage, so in this lesson, we'll focus on how to clean up your lines while keeping the "life" from your initial sketches. I'll also discuss the process of using Inks vs. Black & White tonal flats in your work and when it's most appropriate to use each one.

It's finally time to add some color to our work! This lesson is all about color design and how it can be used to strengthen your overall story, so we'll be talking about color theory, how color can be used to establish mood/tone, cover what Color Keys are, and effective color styling for props and characters.

Working in Visual Development for television can be very fast-paced, and at times you'll have tight deadlines where you'll be asked to produce your work quickly, which can be a challenge. In our final lesson, I'll go over the different painting techniques that work for particular time restraints and varying budgets. I'll discuss how to use flats and layer masks to your advantage, and give you some tips on how to change mood and tone of your work quickly and effectively.


Chrystin Garland

Chrystin Garland is a Visual Development artist currently working at Netflix. She studied Animation at the Savannah College of Art and Design, and has since worked with several different studios including DreamWorks Animation, Titmouse, and BOOM! Studios. Chrystin has had the pleasure of working on television shows like "She-Ra and the Princesses of Power", "The Midnight Gospel", "The Mighty Ones", and the Emmy Award Winning "Niko and the Sword of Light", among many others. She is currently based in Los Angeles and enjoys watching scary movies, swing dancing, reading, and eating spicy noodles in her spare time!