CDQ: Behind the cover of vol. 06

Jan 19, 2020
7 min read

The creative magazine for digital artists

Character Design Quarterly is a lively, creative magazine bringing inspiration, expert insights, and leading techniques to professional illustrators, artists, and character design enthusiasts worldwide.


Title Content
Behind the cover art: Lois van Baarle Loish discusses freelance success and the impact of the internet on her career.
Designing for children's books Julia Christians explores different ways to make characters stand out.
Gone fishing! Hollie Mengert shows how to create both contrast and cohesion at once.
Meet the artist: James A. Castillo Discover what it takes to be an Art Director, plus advice on finding inspiration.
Transforming a character Luis Gadea transforms a human character into a bird with the same personality
Meet the artist: Floriane Marchix The visual developer explains what it is like to work on feature animated films
Gallery Featuring Marion Bulot, Nathanna Erica, Eloise Girard, and Ting Xue (Tin X).
Open and closed poses Use body language effectively with Victoria Kosheleva's quick tips
Plump tiger, sliding dragon Comic illustrator Ivan Shavrin creates contrasting characters in conflict
Meet the artist: Amanda MacFarlane Find out about the ideas behind Amanda's enthralling character designs
The rhythm of life Tata Che demonstrates designing characters through life's changes

Why did I start from vol 6?

Well, I wasn't there in the beginning, so I started to buy CDQ from number six. I was looking for some books for digital artists, and that's how I did find 3dtotalPublishing. It is hard to get the previous issues as I usually see them in "sold out" status. But I was already thinking to reach out to them if there is any chance to get them still or maybe I will find it by someone selling it on the internet as I would like to have a complete collection.

How to get mine?

There are two options. You can either buy a single magazine, or you can subscribe yearly/quarterly. You can even give a subscription as a gift (one year only). Be aware that you would be ordering from the UK. So count on some shipping fees and possibly customs (if applicable). We here in the Netherlands are lucky as we can (pre-)order on

Behind the cover: Vol. 6


I was so excited about seeing the cover art by Loish (Lois van Baarle). I'm following her for some time already as I love her painting style (for the ones who don't know, she created the character design for Aloy from Horizon: Zero Dawn by Guerrilla Games; more about the process below). Loish also recently started her own Patreon page for her fans. There are six pages of an interview about Loish, her artwork and her life as a freelancer artist followed by pictures of her art.

Julia Christians

Julia Christians will show us how to design characters for children with examples of drawings and sketches on 2 pages to present the world that you can handle your characters in any situation. Julia is a German artist and has adorable and sweet characters in her portfolio.

  • using all body parts
  • trying new emotions
  • accessorizing
  • practising repetition
  • creating a variety
  • making adjustments

Hollie Mengert

Following Hollie on a 8 pages tutorial creating a band of animal characters that are on a fishing trip together. Her tutorial is from sketching, creating silhouettes and shapes, following proportions, scales and posing until finalizing details and colour cohesion. Hollie is an artist from Seattle, US. Hollie's characters are charming, and you will immediately feel like being a part of an animated fairytale.

James A. Castillo

The interview with James is fascinating. James grew up in Madrid, and now he is based in London. He is a character designer and an art director. You will uncover his route into the industry, get tips on how to observe the world around you to find inspiration and find out what he thinks about the future of the animation industry. His characters have a very unique aesthetic.

Luis Gadea

5 pages of an exercise playing with an idea of a character that can transform into a bird. You will read how to analyze and assess the character, how not to fall in love with your design to be able to draw a character even 600 times if necessary and not to stick with one precious design and how to choose values and colours. Luis is a character designer and animator, who was born in Canada and grew up in Costa Rica. He is also a part of Masters of anatomy books.

Floriane Marchix

Floriane explains on 6 pages what are the pros and cons to working as a visual developer. She shares her experience working for top film companies (DreamWorks Animation and Aardman Animation). She reveals the approach she used to capture emotions in the relationship with her daughter in short stories. Floriane comes from France, but she decided to settle down in California.

Featuring Marion Bulot, Nathanna Erica, Eloise Girard, and Ting Xue (Tin X)

In the Gallery, you can find 8 pages of a quick peak with superb character designs and character-based artwork from a selection of talented professional artists.

Victoria Kosheleva

Victoria explains how to use open and closed poses in character design as both their personality and mood must be easily readable trough pose. Two pages with pose examples and tips how&when. Victoria is a freelance illustrator and character designer from Siberia and her characters are full of emotions and fantastic colour harmony.

Ivan Shavrin

In Ivan's tutorial, we will get a peek on the approach to how he creates characters for comic illustrations with a focus of creating opposing characters. Two characters and their interaction - a knight and a monster in confrontation. 7 pages focused on the details, accessories, texture, the story of the characters and the final battle scene. Ivan is a comic artist and illustrator from Russia. He created 3 covers for Marvel comics: Guardians of Galaxy, Spider girls and X-Factor, vol.4.

Amanda MacFarlane

In the interview, we meet Amanda - a self-taught artist with a passion for creating spirited characters. Amanda discusses her charismatic style, shares tips on how to become a successful character designer without formal training. She is running her freelance business, The Animated Life; from home. She was working on several projects of impressive clients, including Warner Bros. There is a living memory of classic animations like 101 dalmatians, Robin Hood and Sleeping beauty in her imagination process.

Tata Che

Tata Che takes us trough 16 pages how to show changes in age on single characters using the five most significant periods:

  • infancy
  • childhood
  • teen years
  • adulthood
  • old age
    It's not so obvious, but we all know it. With age come weight change, wrinkles, hairs, different self-expression etc. The evolution of a character is one big story including physical, social and psychological changes; and the exciting part , working on a character that needs to evolve trough lifetime could explore different ways you can achieve with your design.
There is so much to learn for a digital artist. Every issue of CDQ is full of inspiration and interviews with professionals from all over the world. So what are you waiting for, did you grab [yours]already?

Sneak peek on CDQ 6 in pictures

I'm not affiliate with 3dtotal publishing and everything I write about is from my own effort and interest.

Subscribe to our Newsletter and stay up to date!

Subscribe to our newsletter for the latest news and work updates straight to your inbox.

Oops! There was an error sending the email, please try again.

Awesome! Now check your inbox and click the link to confirm your subscription.