Using Psychology to Develop and Design Original Stories
13 week Online Course

Fall/Winter Term: Oct 31st - Mar 4th
Apply for Fall/Winter 2021
Navigating the storytelling process alone can be intimidating. Creative blocks, imposter syndrome, distractions in life, or plain 'ole confusion creep in and stall the momentum. I know the feeling. You leave them long enough, and they transform into a beast, psyching you out and standing between you and your goals. 

Art by Madeline Abatemarco

In this course, I will be your mentor in the development of your own original story. Using personality psychology as a tool, we will clarify your character's motivations, as well as your own personal motivators. With every design challenge, we will tune into what is helping or hindering your path to successful expression.

At the end of the 13 weeks, you will have a visualized story concept that you can use to start a pitch deck, level up your portfolio, or serve as a template for future projects. So whether you are an indie creator, character designer, visual development artist, costume designer, or concept artist...this course is for you!

*This course builds on my past costume design mentorship program, with an increased focus on story development and art direction.

Art by Rachel Morales
"Besides giving us an incredibly rare content with academic quality, Jessie’s mentorship took me on a personal and creative journey beyond my every expectations. As intended from the beginning, I ended these 12 weeks with a well developed original story and costume concepts for my portfolio, but we did so much more than that! I also learned many creative strategies for brainstorming, exploring ideas, and a hardly ever present self-compassionate approach during the creative process."
Art by Natalia Falciglia


Weekly Group Meetings for general feedback and a lecture. Lectures will be recorded if you can't make them or want to review.

One on One Weekly Meetings to workshop your story, discuss your progress on assignments, and troubleshoot your unique struggles.

Private Discord channel for Q&A and connecting with classmates.

WEEK 1: Story & Style Impressions

WEEK 2: Thematic Roles
WEEK 3: Character Arc


WEEK 4: Visual Research
WEEK 5: Character Concepts
WEEK 6: Environment and Prop Concepts
WEEK 7: Style Guide

WEEK 8: Supporting Cast Design
WEEK 9: Main Character #1
WEEK 10: Main Character #2
WEEK 11: Main Character #3
WEEK 12: Story Moments

WEEK 13: Workshopping Presentation & Goals
Application Deadline Oct 1st
Art by Madeline Abatemarco


Using Enneagram as a guide, we will structure your character’s thematic motivations. Complimented by an 8 beat story structure based on the Hero’s Journey, we will focus your loose ideas into a simple plot and character arc, exploring your first impressions of the tone and mood of your tale. This will help as you create a breakdown of characters, settings, and props with the potential to amplify your concept.
Art by Rachel Morales

Moving onto the next phase, we will explore your character, world, and style in more detail. This is where I will guide you through research techniques to help you clarify your vision. We’ll look at art history, fashion history, current creators, and conceptual inspiration. You’ll create research boards, and style tests that explore a chosen character, environment and prop from your breakdown. This will help you create a basic style guide to inform and streamline your designs moving forward.
Art by Natalia Falciglia

Costume is a great way to test both character personality and world design in one stroke. So, in this phase, we will develop costume concepts for supporting characters and background cast to test your art direction. Here I’ll demonstrate how you can use Myers Briggs for quick iterations or adding more depth to your characters. Depending on your previous experience with character design you can either use croquis or create your own character designs to dress. We will also dive deeper into 3 main characters, and explore story moments that test how we can use poses, color, and lighting to emphasize your characters emotional evolution. 
Art by Madeline Abatemarco

Our last week will focus on how you can leverage what you’ve created to achieve your personal goals. I will show you how you can use the developed story and designs to mockup a draft of a pitch deck, create a fresh portfolio presentation, or to workshop your career path.

As this class focuses on how to apply personality psychology to multiple stages of your process, we won’t have the chance to dive deeper into all of them during the course. However, throughout the course and afterwards, you can find me in the The Costume District discord server, where I hold live chats twice a week and you can share your wips and designs with the community for feedback and encouragement. 
Apply for Fall/Winter 2021
NOTE: This course focuses on improving your analytical approach to story and design through research, creative reasoning, and practical application. To make the most of your time on assignments, you will need at least basic anatomy, perspective, color theory, and technical drawing skills to participate in this course. Previous character design experience and familiarity with basic story structure is highly recommended

Acceptance is contingent upon application and portfolio review to assess whether this will be a good match for your goals and learning style. Payment will be required upon acceptance. For information on payment plans, email

IMPORTANT DATES:  Application Deadline for Fall/Winter term is Oct 1st. In general, there are no refunds for this course once it has started. Cancellation for a full refund must be made by October 10th. However, if you have extenuating circumstances, you can email me at and I will review each request on a case-by-case basis.  

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