From facial features to figures, learn how to draw female characters that convey strength, wisdom, and diversity with these top illustration courses for beginners
The female body has been a source of inspiration for artists all over the world and across cultures for millennia. From the Paleolithic Venus of Willendorf figurine to Frida Kahlo’s honest portrayal of the female form, the attributes we associate with female bodies have changed and challenged over time as societies evolve and transform.
It's become a symbol of strength, beauty, motherhood, eroticism, sisterhood, wisdom, and more. But how do you capture all of that in a drawing?
To help you get started, here we’re sharing 11 character design courses where you’ll learn how to research and draw female faces and bodies in different styles, and represent the diversity of the female form.
Digital illustration courses using Procreate or Photoshop
1. Powerful Female Characters: Illustrating Confidence and Diversity, a course by Eunice Adeyi
If you've always wanted to learn how to draw female characters that project confidence, draw inspiration from the work of Eunice Adeyi (@eunicifyart). The UK-based Nigerian artist has collaborated with brands like Refinery29, and specializes in creating portraits that champion the diversity of female bodies and their expressive nature.
In this course on illustrating powerful female characters, she teaches you how to find inspiration in your daily life. Starting from the beginning, she explains how to build a mood board, and shares tips on creating harmonious compositions that tell stories. Next, she shows you how to transfer your sketches to Procreate before adding color to create her signature dream-like atmosphere.
2. Illustration of Stylish Female Characters in Photoshop, a course by Joana Neves
Drawing inspiration from Disney cartoons and Sailor Moon, editorial illustrator Joana Neves (@joananeves) knew she wanted to become an artist from a very young age. While studying graphic design at university, she taught herself illustration and built up a portfolio that would open the doors to working with Netflix, Google, Amazon, and Boom Studios!
You'll start by identifying the lines and proportions that characterize a woman's body, exploring the basic notions of human anatomy and how the body moves, before composing your own characters. Joana also shares some top tips to share your work online.
3. Female Cartoon Character Design with Procreate, a course by Isabella Agosti
Using the popular digital illustration app, you will learn how to capture the essence of the people around you and transform them into digitally illustrated heroines ready for their own fantastic adventure.
4. Female Character Portraits in Procreate, a course by Natália Dias
It’s safe to say that Procreate has become a go-to app for many creatives, allowing you to draw directly onto an iPad screen as if it were a sheet of paper. It also offers multiple tools for creating digital pieces that incorporate analog elements and paint-like finishes, a combination that many illustrators are drawn to.
In this course, Brazilian artist Natália Dias (@nataliadsw) teaches you how to draw female character portraits in Procreate. Thanks to some Procreate tricks that she’ll teach you along the way, you’ll learn how to create drawings that are full of life, and explore how little touches can make a difference—for example, how the angle and the movement of the hair can inject life into your illustration.
5. Stylish Character Illustration in Procreate, a course by Josephine Rais
Learn to create eye-catching and evocative digital illustrations of female characters in this course by freelance illustrator Josephine Rais (@josephinerais). Recognized for her vibrant color palettes, Josephine’s work has been featured on book covers, packaging, puzzles, and more.
In her course, Josephine teaches you how to illustrate dynamic characters using Procreate. You will learn techniques to compose powerful characters with digital techniques, play around with different perspectives, and tell captivating stories.
6. Digital Fantasy Portraits with Photoshop, a course by Karmen Loh
A digital fantasy illustrator with over a decade of experience and over 500,000 followers on Instagram, Karmen Loh’s (aka Bearbrickjia) work is defined by her dream-like style, and “delicate, feminine touch”.
In her first Domestika course, she teaches you how to create digital fantasy portraits with Photoshop. From collecting references and devising a mood board to adding the final touches that make your artwork pop, you’ll learn the skills for creating soft, digital fantasy portraits that narrate an ethereal atmosphere.
7. Illustrated Portraits with Procreate, a course by Elena Garnu
Illustrator and graphic designer Elena Garnu's (@elena_garnu) digital illustrations have been defined as "visual poetry"; she superimposes flowers, plants, natural motifs, and female faces to create ethereal compositions full of expression. She draws inspiration from women who communicate both strength and vulnerability through their gaze.
In the course, Illustrated Portraits with Procreate, Elena will teach you how to draw female characters from a reference image. As well as teaching you the basics of the Procreate interface, step-by-step, Emma will guide you through the process of creating a digital illustration with analog effects and textures.
8. Digital Illustration with Manga Influence, a course by Akimaro
Manga comics have attracted many readers all over the world thanks to their stirring stories and striking images. While the characters' exaggerated eyes, elongated proportions, and delicate features make this style easily recognizable, Japanese manga is constantly evolving—as Mexican artist Akimaro (@akimaro) explains in her manga-inspired digital illustration course.
Under her guidance, you will learn how to challenge clichés and create female characters whose features represent your own culture, while still taking inspiration from manga aesthetics. She will also help you choose the base colors for your character and teach you how to create textures with paper and crayon that you can then digitize to give your illustration an organic touch.
Traditional illustration techniques
9. Female Character Design for Comics, a course by Marcio Takara
Inspired by the likes of Wonder Woman, Storm, or Harley Quinn? Learn how to draw your own female superheroes (or villains!) in this comic art illustration course by Marcio Takara (@marciotakara).
A comic book artist with experience drawing comics for Marvel and DC, in his course on female character design for comics, Marcio teaches you traditional techniques to draw powerful superheroes.
Starting with the basics, you’ll learn how to craft action lines and composition, before discovering techniques to add volume, movement, balance, and expression to your creations.
10. Fan Art Drawing with Watercolor and Colored Pencils, a course by Ana Ilustra
Learn how to create drawings based on female icons from movies and TV with designer and illustrator Ana Paula Azevedo, better known as Ana Ilustra (@anaailustra).
In her fan art drawing course, Ana teaches you how to use watercolor paints and colored pencils to reinterpret famous characters in your own style. Discover techniques to perfect your lines and brush strokes, as you learn to compose an original illustration based on your favorite female characters.
Ana also shares tips to digitize your composition, and how to add finishing touches in Adobe Photoshop before sharing your work on social media.
11. Realistic Oil Painting: Explore Your Artistic Spirit, a course by Pati Rigon
Oil painting is one of the most versatile mediums in fine art. With this material, you can add layers, make infinite color mixtures, and replicate almost any texture: from a beetle’s wing to human skin.
Award-winning Brazilian artist Pati Rigon (@patirigon) considers oil painting her favorite medium to work with when creating portraits of women. In her realistic oil portraits course, she teaches you a range of explorative oil painting techniques to practice color transitions, create volume, and more.
More resources to inspire your character design and illustrations