Environment Design

Nathan Fowkes
9 Lessons (11h 9m)
9 Week(s)
English French Portuguese

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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

The goal of this course is to give entertainment artists and students the ability to engage their audience through the design of extraordinary locations. The class will be a serious exploration of designing space, landscape and architecture as well as composing presentation art to best convey the mood, story and history of each location. During our time together I'll take you step by step through the practical application of:

- The design and development process: taking an environment from concept to a polished finish.

- The creation of mood, environment and story through location design.

- Designing with 3D space in landscape and architecture.

- Theatrical scene composition to create compelling presentation art.

- Step by step photoshop painting ideas.

- Numerous photoshop demonstrations, screen captured live to show you the process in action.

- Building your concept art portfolio.

Additionally, I'll show you how the production pipeline works at an entertainment design studio and the role of the art department in the design and development process. We'll go through the entire process of developing an idea by taking it through the stages of thumbnail comp, tonal rough, color rough and final color.

➡︎ For the ‘Critiqued Sessions’, students will meet up with Nathan Fowkes LIVE once per week on Tuesdays at 9:30am PT / 12:30pm ET.

  • Adobe Photoshop

Lesson Plan

In my first lecture I'll give an introduction and class overview that will put you squarely on the path to engage your audience through the design of compelling environments. I'll take you through the entire design and development process and show you how art departments and individual artists can create extraordinary places that thrill their audience.

As a concept artist, you'll be required to find artistry and clarity within challenging and complicated subject matter. Whether it's sophisticated architecture, busy foliage or a landscape filled with dozens of characters, one of your core skills must be the ability to effectively deal with complexity. In this lesson I'll show how designing and structuring the values of light and dark can be your best and most potent solution to complexity challenges.

The design of shape and line can create a surprisingly rich visual language that your audience will inherently understand. In this lesson I'll show you how to employ shape and line to give a sense of emotional character and story to landscape, architecture and props.

From deep canvas action to enclosed quiet moments, the design of space can give the audience a powerful sense of emotion and storytelling. In lesson 4 we'll explore the design of space to create a potent emotional experience for the audience.

In this demonstration I'll apply the concepts taught in the previous lessons in a series of demonstrations to show how value, shape language and space can work together effectively. I'll also review how the addition of color and light will enhance the subject.

Architecture can be much more than a construction, it can be designed to show the character and history of the people who live there. In this lesson I'll show you how the principles of shape language and space design apply to architecture. You'll learn how to give architecture an emotional characterization as well as a sense of history and a strong presence within a story.

Now that we've covered the critical big picture elements of visual communication it's time to discuss the nuances. Modelling, set dressing and texturing can give a location a compelling believability that will draw in the audience and bring your work to life.

For this lesson I'll demonstrate the staging of space, landscape and architecture to create illustrations that best convey the mood, story and history of the environment.

Success as an artist requires us to be able to emotionally connect with our audience in a way that gives them an experience that they value. We can learn to design a variety of moments such as an action packed conflict, a scene of potent drama or a voyage of discovery. My final lecture will combine principles from all the previous weeks as I show you how to use the design of environment and theatrical staging to create presentation concept art that will put you on the map.


Nathan Fowkes

Nathan Fowkes is a veteran entertainment industry artist with credits on 12 animated feature films including DreamWorks Animation’s The Prince of Egypt, Spirit, several projects within the Shrek Universe, How to Train Your Dragon, Blue Sky’s Rio 2, Ferdinand and Wonder Park from Paramount Animation and development art for Disney’s Raya and the Last Dragon.

Additionally, Nathan has been sought after as a consultant for game studios to enhance the quality of their theatrical presentation. He has worked with numerous clients including Riot Games, Ubisoft, Blizzard Entertainment, King, Disney Interactive, Rovio, Supercell and many others.

Nathan is also well known as a teacher of color, light, design and traditional drawing and painting. He is a regular guest lecturer at Art Center College of Design and has taught at The Los Angeles Academy of Figurative Art and the Laguna College of Art and Design. He's the author of the bestselling How to Draw Portraits in Charcoal and How to Paint Landscapes in Watercolor and Gouache. His work can be seen at nathanfowkes.com