where the character driven industries meet

Characters Engage introduces the first article of a new category. Characters Academy will bring you news and articles about the educational sector in the character-driven industries and introduce educators, courses and online educational resources such as tutorials and webinars.

Characters Academy is proud to present Mark McDonnell as our first featured character educator.

Mark McDonnell is an Animation Professional who, for the last 9 years, has worn many hats in the industry. Originally beginning his career as a layout artist (the background drawing that is later painted) he went onto a number of other responsibilities, before finally settling down with his first love, Character Design.


As a character designer Mark has worked for studios such as: Walt Disney Feature Animation, Disney Toon Studios, The Walt Disney Television Animation Company, Pixar, Miramax, Fox, H.I.T. Entertainment, New Line, Mattel, Sony, Hasbro and Legendary Pictures to name a few.


He is currently working as a freelance designer and as a development character designer for many of these studios.


In the evenings Mark instructs at Disney, Dreamworks, LAAFA, The American Animation Institute (The Union) and 3Kicks Studios due to his widely successful first book, The Art and Feel of Making It Real: Gesture Drawing for the Animation and Entertainment Industry. He has recently published his second book, Mark McDonnell's Cre8tivemarks Sketchbook - Volume 01.

To buy Mark's books, please click the link below:



His personal passion is finding the character and life of whatever the subject matter might be. It's a simple statement, but a lifelong passion...

Starting on the 19th of October, Mark will be instructing a Character Design class at the Los Angeles Academy of Figurative Art (LAAFA). The course will focus on creating unique and iconic characters in various styles to suit the fast paced world of the Animation and Entertainment Industry. Each session of this 8-week class will concentrate on capturing a specific, new style in order to prepare students for what it takes to confidently design with a tight deadline. This is the first time Mark has taught this class outside of Disney and he will most likely not do so again, given the fact that this is a very demanding subject matter.

Space is limited, so please sign up early to secure a spot. For more information, click the link below:


Characters Engage Showcase

Brett Bean

Brett drew on everything from his homework margins to the living room walls, thus starting his slow descent into the underbelly of visual design and illustration.

cold war kidbean

Since those fateful years, he has worked on video games, card games, books, and film.


He has just published his 4th art book, instructing young minds in character designs at Gnomon school of visual FX, and continues freelancing in Pasadena, California.


Please find him at his website www.2dbean.com and blog at www.2dbean.blogspot.com

lil vikingbean

To suggest books, email...


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