Character and Creature Design Resource

Suitable for Years 3-6

Combining ocean science knowledge with imagination and creativity, this resource unpacks the pre-production process of designing and developing the entertaining characters and fantastical creatures from The Deep

Teacher notes

Suitable for Years 3-6, this learning resource shares interviews with creatives to explore the process of character and creature design in the children’s television program, The Deep

By working through the short learning tasks and video interviews, students discover the  character and creature design process first-hand from The Deep Producer, Avrill Stark and Creator and Art Director, James Brouwer. After students have learnt from these creatives they can research ocean creature and then use this inspiration to design their own creature for The Deep

Alternatively, you may decide to select and focus on particular videos and elements of the character and creature design process. Each video offers inspiration for students to think and design creatively. 

Australian Curriculum links: 

Student activities

Watch the video interviews with Avril and James below and then complete the following creative tasks. 

: These tasks and activities centre around science and fiction and ask you to undertake an ocean science research task, design your own creature, create a habitat and write a creative story for an episode of The Deep. Follow the links below to download worksheets and to learn more about these tasks. 

Research sea creatures

Design a creature from The Deep

Design a habitat for your creature

Creative writing

Meet The Deep Producer and Art Director

Avrill Stark is the CEO/Executive Producer and creative driver of A Stark Production. She has produced hundreds of hours of children’s content including the global hit animated series The Deep, with 4 seasons airing across 130 countries, Zigby; Zekes Pad; the adventure series Enyo; two seasons of the hilarious Erky Perky; the Woodlies; the Pop Pups and many more.

Winner of numerous global awards - the prestigious UNICEF Award at Annecy for best animated feature film, for Santa’s Apprentice; winner of the International Kids Screen Award & Golden Sparrow awards for The Deep – also nominated for a BAFTA and AACTA awards for best Children’s Television Series, The live action family feature film, H is For Happiness, was awarded Best Film at the Cinefest Oz 2019 Film Festival.

James Brouwer is a Brisbane-based artist who has worked as a pre-production, storyboard and concept artist/designer on a range of films, animated series, books, games and toys.

Moving into comic production in 2011, James illustrated the multiple award-winning series The Deep for Gestalt Comics, which was adapted into an animated television series with James filling the roles of Art Director and Executive Producer.

What is character design?

Reflect: Why do you think it’s important to create detailed character designs before animating a television show?

Watch: We asked Avrill to explain character design.

The character design process

Watch: James shares the character design process. As you are watching look closely at the amount of detail in the concept artwork that is shown in the examples. 

Finding inspiration

Reflect: Where do you think creators and art directors find inspriation for their character and creature designs. Write a list of places you might find inspiration. 

Watch: In this clip James shares some of the places they found inspiration for characters and creatures in The Deep

Case Study: Designing the Minotaur

Watch: In this next section James shares the process of designing the Minotaur from Series 2 Episode 9: 'The Maze'.

Case study: Designing the Walker

Watch: In this next section James share the process of designing the Walker from Series 4 Episode 10: ‘Walking with Fish’.

Designing for an underwater environment

Watch: We asked James how The Deep team design for an underwater environment.

Animating character and creature designs

Watch: Avrill explains how character and creasure designs translate to the animated world. 

For teachers

Teachers, for more clips and activities explore The Deep Learning Resource in your classroom.

We would would love to see what your students create! You can send in final products (with student and guardian permission) to

We welcome feedback from teachers who have delivered and adapted our resources. Please reach out to with questions, comments and suggestions.

This resource was co-developed by the ACTF, ACMI and Australian National Maritime Museum. 

This learning resource is supported by the Strategic Partnerships Program through the Victorian Department of Education. 

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