Forging characters through design

University of Idaho students are now able to work with their peers on projects specializing in character design through a new campus club — the Concept Design Society.

The club is a casual space for students to come together and work creatively on any projects of personal interest. There is a focus on creating characters, but if people would rather work on creating environments, then they are able to concentrate on that.

Any design background is welcome, and it is encouraged for anyone who wants to work on their design skills to join the club.

Aaron Yama, president of the newly formed group, said students from any major can join. The club meets Fridays from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. in the UI Art and Architecture building.

There isn’t a specific software someone has to use while in the club, since people have their own preferences, Yama said, but using pen and paper is encouraged.

“The scope of the club is to get together and make something. We’re focusing on making characters, so basically we want to improve in art and specifically with characters,” Yama said.

Aspyn Smith, a member of Concept Design Society, said she joined the club due to her desire to become a character designer and storyboard artist.

The group was recommended to Smith by her professor because of the growing interest from other virtual technology and design students.

“We’re trying to focus on what the members want with monthly themes … so we can do environmental design characters from a specific world or anything else that interests the members of the club,” Smith said.

Members bring the designs they have been working on and talk about future projects, Smith said. Members work on their projects outside of the formal space to present in later meetings.

During the month of October, the club hosted a month-long challenge called Inktober, challenging people to draw one illustration a day within certain parameters. The artist is given a word, such as “angular,” which they then base a drawing from.

The club hopes to move onto a bigger project, which they can work on as a whole, Yama said.

For November, the group is coming up with a theme. Smith said options include a random theme and fictional world the members want to work on or fundamentals of environmental design course. He said the club is still deciding which route they would like to take.

Clyde McCaw can be reached at


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