I attended a character design workshop with Dan Haskett at SVA this past week.
First we were asked to design a character that we connected to emotionally, or at least appealed to us in some way. I didn't manage to come up with anything that I really loved, but over time I developed a "loser knight" character that sort of encapsulates what I draw.
We were asked to draw Mickey Mouse, and everyone failed miserably. I think my redesign is way cooler than the Disney version.
Other than that, I just doodled a lot while Dan regaled us with stories of the animation industry, past and present.
I really liked drawing this skull spaceman/deep sea diver.
It's too soon to tell how much or how little I learned from this workshop. It occurred to me that when I'm designing characters, I don't consider how well they work for animation. Basically Dan said round, simple characters work best for fluid animation, but I think ideas like that can be limiting. It would be terrible if everything looked like a Disney film just because that's what moved best. Animation is an art like anything else - the more diverse the better. Even if I didn't agree with everything Dan said, he had a lot of great insight from years of experience, and though the change is subtle, I'm definitely thinking about my drawings differently.