The Creative Portfolio of Melissa K. Vassar-Belloso

 Please note:

This sampler is not a full ready-to-publish version of the book. It will have image placeholders and some of the sample chapters are only partial. Content will be subject to some degree of change between the sampler and the final published book. Please do not print,copy,redistribute,resell or otherwise steal the sampler.

Updates have been made to this sampler as of 1/15/20 to reflect the new book structure I developed in 2019. I still used pieces from the old sampler PDF though so please make a note of the following:

  • Some of the chapter markers are technically wrong  but I kept them because the section titles are correct
  • The cover title is wrong but I kept it as is because the rest of the design is still accurate
  • This new sampler is the Character Designer’s Handbook only and I currently don’t have or plan to do samplers for the other two books for a good while
  • The page numbers are wrong so ignore them and just focus on the actual page content

Thank you and I appreciate you not cluttering my inbox or comment form about the above inconsistencies. I know they exist and I left them there intentionally because I really don’t have the time to completely redo the sampler pages. Aside from the book being a slight Frankenstein project it is in fact mostly correct and I’m fine with that.

It’s easy to find books that teach you how to draw a character but memorable characters are more than just looks. The Character Designer’s Series is a book series that takes a new and unique approach to character design. The book series will teach character development from the inside out as well as cast creation,character profiling,concept development and much more!

Whether you are roleplaying,writing, or even creating the next great graphic novel this series will take your characters to the next level and teach you how to make well-rounded and carefully crafted characters for any project.

About the Project

I developed the idea for The Character Designer’s Journal because for years I noticed as a roleplayer,writer and as a creative person in general that there was always a surplus of resources for how to draw a character but never a mention of what I felt made characters pop. There was no guide to the things that are under the surface like personality,habits, and preferences. I’ve always had a passion for character design and felt the same things that made real people interesting were integral to a well designed character too.

I started actively crafting the book series in 2016. My goals were to focus less on visuals and more on creating characters inside and out so I could teach people a more full circle and holistic method to making characters. The books aren’t just aimed at artists but also at writers,roleplayers and any creative person who needs to make characters for a project.

The series contains three planned books:

  • Character Designer’s Handbook
  • Character Designer’s Workbook
  • Character Designer’s Encyclopedia

The Character Designer’s Handbook is a comprehensive guide to better character creation, containing sections on everything from improved methods of visual design to better character profiling. Unlike most books that only focus on the basic how-to-draw format, my book will focus on visual design that actually helps you make characters on your own terms that will truly stand out  inside and out.

The Character Designer’s Workbook is meant to supplement the handbook by providing complimentary exercises to really help you get the most out of the lessons in the handbook. It follows section by section and has exercises that will help you truly hone the skills and techniques needed to make great characters.

The Character Designer’s Encyclopedia is the final installment of the series and is meant to round out the book series by putting the resources you need for great character design at your fingertips. It will contain a reference section of anatomical references and body types,case studies and a number of other visual reference libraries to help cut down on the time you need to find those pesky references and ideas for your next great character.

Possible Companion Resources

In addition to the main book I do have some ideas for possible companions to it. Currently I am gauging the future of the companion projects based on the monetary goals met on the Patreon but that doesn’t mean they won’t get created at some point if funds allow.

  1. Character Designer’s Resource Kit-A CD containing different resources like character sheets,croquis,profile sheets and more!
  2. Character Designer’s Toolkit-A set of dice and cards to aid with creating a character profile
  3. Character Designer’s Journal:Pocket Edition-A smaller and more to the point version of the book for the road
  4. Character Designer’s Journal:Active Development Guide-A guide for developing a character from birth to death
  5. Character Designer’s Journal:Digital Creation Guide-A book detailing creating characters in 3d programs and digital generators
  6. Character Design Kit: The kit would contain the three books,pocket guide,toolkit and disc. Other possibilities are that it may contain a sketchbook or notebook of some kind and possibly some writing implements. I currently don’t have an estimation for what this would cost and obviously the content might be subject to change further down the road.
  7. Box Set: The box set would contain the three books and possibly a sketchbook or notebook and the pocket guide as well as the disc and maybe some sort of writing implement.This one would definitely be cheaper than the kit but I’m not sure of an actual price at the moment.


Design/Creation/Release Notes

The design goals of the book are actually to have less visual and more text but also with the idea in mind to appeal to a wide range of people. Because of this I limited hand-drawn content and plan to keep to a more generic or realistic approach. I’m a manga artist but what I didn’t want to do was make the book lean too much toward any particular style of art or isolate anyone who might want to use the book.

Graphics will be coming mainly in the form of 3D renders from the Iclone Character Creator, E-pic Character Generator and possibly some from Daz 3D and the Autodesk Character Creator. I’m currently leaning towards Dreamstime for any stock vectors needed. The visuals in the concept sketching section will probably be my own work but I haven’t dismissed the idea of hiring an artist for that. There are are also about 6 different fonts I’m considering for usage in the book that will be determined through a combination of what I like and what I see people like the most in upcoming patron surveys.

Currently the plan is to just do the main book in a physical and not an electronic form. If there is enough demand and appropriate funds I may consider an e-book edition in the future.


Support the Book

The primary way I’m working toward having the budget to produce the series is via Patreon. Part of that is that patrons get to take advantage of being an active part of the book coming to life. There will be opportunities for patrons to complete surveys and let me know their preferences in color and other visual aspects as well as what content they most want to see in the book. Because of that I can’t concretely say at this point what the book will look like when published and that’s actually kind of exciting in a way. The published book will reflect not just me, but the people I’m making the book for, and I thought that would be a pretty cool experience. The sampler mainly reflects a color scheme and layout based on my first draft so it’s not set in stone. If you’d like to support this and also my other writing projects you can find my Patreon at

Patrons can take advantage of the following opportunities:

  • Participation in surveys on visual design and book content
  • Chapter previews as the book gets made if your pledge is $12+
  • A chance to enter a character profile for the character(s) used in the concept sketching section of the Character Designer’s Handbook