How to Brainstorm with Mood Boards

Creating mood boards is a fun, exciting way to gather visual inspiration for your projects. This video explores Jordan’s mood boards, created for the character designs in the series Shadow Boxers.

3 min. video

Jordan explains his process for finding visual inspiration, using Pinterest to organize the images, developing the stories behind the characters, and ultimately to the final character design.

Discussion led by Art Prof Clara Lieu and Teaching Artist Jordan McCracken-Foster.


Ashley, Triplegem, Arielle

Video Walkthrough

  • A mood board is where you collect images as inspiration to use.
  • When you see an image you like, an image from a magazine, take note and add it to your mood board.
  • Visuals like hair styles, patterns, clothing are great to collect.
  • Jordan’s Shadow Boxers project
  • Pinterest is great for building virtual mood boards.
  • What is the line between ripping off another artist and being inspired.
  • Shape language in character design.
  • Write the story for your character first, the story influences how the character will look visually.
  • Try to avoid the stereotypes of people and professions.
  • Mine from your own personal experiences to make it authentic.
  • Jordan’s characters went through a huge number of iterations.
  • Character design is an enormous exploration of a character.
  • Artists get accused of making their characters versions of themselves.
  • Mine from both contemporary and historical visuals.
  • Environments are integral to the way a character is developed.
  • Designing a world is just as important as the characters.
  • Looking at architecture and sculpture for environment inspiration.
Jordan McCracken-Foster
Jordan McCracken-Foster

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