There is a series of books for mastering Chinese characters that takes an unusual approach and is often called the Heisig method because the author's name is Heisig. The books were first published as Remembering the Kanji and now there are Hanzi editions for Simplified and Traditional Chinese.
If you are not familiar, you can find some good posts to explain it such as this one. My post is not to explain the method but rather to clarify one of the misconceptions; one which the author himself has led everyone to believe.
The first book in the series is subtitled, How Not to Forget the Meaning and Writing of Japanese Characters, and this is where the misconception begins. The book does not have the meanings of the characters. What people think are the meanings are called keywords and they are in English.
Chinese characters do not have English meanings. They are not used in the English language. They are only used in Chinese and Japanese, and formerly Korean and Vietnamese too. A word's meaning in one language does not encompass the exact same meaning in another. Even between the Japanese and Chinese languages, some or many of the same characters have different meanings! In English, the characters have no meanings. Just ask any English speaker at random.
You are not learning the basic meaning or base meaning of each character with the Heisig method. So what are you learning besides writing individual characters? This is the other misconception that I would like to clarify.
Instead of learning a meaning for each character, you are in fact, learning a character for an English keyword until you know 1500, 2042, or 3000 characters. Let me put it another way: You are not answering the question, "What is the meaning of 通?" Instead, you are answering, "What is the character for 'traffic'?"
What this means is that when you finish volume 1, it is a fallacy to say, "I know the meaning of all the characters." What you can say is, "I know a character for 2042 English words and I can write them too." You still have yet to learn the meanings.
A person saying that he knows the meaning of a character but is only able to give you an English word for that character is analogous to saying you know the meaning of a Japanese word via a translation.
It's OK to be able to write a few thousand Chinese characters assigned to English keywords. I'm not sure what good that is, however. For a beginner studying the language it is just a distraction. Heisig did it before he started studying Japanese.
A word of caution: If you are thinking about acquiring Chinese through the TV method, don't learn the characters first. Most Chinese programs are subtitled with hard-coded subs and those characters will be a big distraction. You're better off not understanding a single character so that you can easily ignore those subtitles. Don't say I didn't warn you!