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Animal Sketching for Animation

A 10 week course where you learn the essential tools and techniques required to sketch animals for the animation medium

Teacher Artwork by Mike Wiesmeier

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Teacher Artwork by Mike Wiesmeier

Animal Sketching for Animation

Former Disney animator Mike Wiesmeier, will introduce you to the essential principles and techniques required to sketch animals for the animation medium.

In this class, you will acquire the skills required to simplify quadruped structures into volumetric forms. You will learn the contrasting differences between human and quadruped anatomy and muscular structure without compromising on the looseness and free flow of animation.

Through master studies, you will gain the skills required to draw expressions and traits that best depict your character’s personality. You will become proficient in using line, tone, texture, and composition to add depth and value to your sketches. Finally you will learn how to incorporate dynamic sketching techniques into your drawing so you can exaggerate your character’s gestures and improve the overall design.

By the end of this course, you will have the ability to draw animals for animation from reference and imagination.

  • Course Type Online Animation Classes
  • Duration 10 weeks
  • Skill Level
    Level 2
    Level 2

    Second level classes are for students who have a good foundation in the basics of realistic drawing (such as perspective, proportion, shading and colour theory) and already know how to use Photoshop, but need more in-depth knowledge to create professional and complex artwork.

    This level is about expanding knowledge, strengthening skills, and transitioning to the world of concept art and illustration.

  • Language English

Our Classes fill up on a First-come, First-served basis so register now to secure your spot!

$xxx (save $zzz!!) $yyy USD CAD
Register Now


Note: This class will be offered online only

Class Timings: Fridays from 10:30 AM to 1:30 PM, Eastern Daylight Time (EDT or UTC-4h)

Date of first class: January 13th

Duration: 10 weeks

If you are unable to attend the class during the times listed above, you will still have access to video recordings of the class lectures and will still receive personalized feedback from your instructor.




Skill requirements 

To enroll in this course you should have: 

  • A foundation in the basics of realistic drawing, such as basic perspective, proportions and shading.
  • Ideally completed our Foundations of Drawing class or have equivalent practice/experience.

If you are unsure of your skill level, please contact [email protected] for additional guidance.



Language and age requirements

You should have at least intermediate level English to take this class. Please note that Syn Studio’s classes are targeted towards adults and students should be 16 years or older to enroll. 

Required Materials

You may draw with traditional materials (pencil, paper, eraser, marker, etc.) or digital materials (Photoshop, Procreate, etc.) or whatever you feel most comfortable with.

Tech Requirements for Attending Syn Studio Online Classes

Minimum Requirements

  • A strong uninterrupted broadband wired or wireless (3G or 4G/LTE) connection with a minimum 600kbps bandwidth (up/down).
  • A Laptop/Desktop computer equipped with a single core processor (at least 1 GHZ processing speed) or a smartphone/tablet with equivalent processing capabilities
  • Good speakers/earphones to listen to the classes 
  • Browser - IE7+, Safari 5+, Firefox, Chrome 
  • Operating System - Windows XP, Mac OS 10.6, Linux distro based on 3.0 kernel, Android 5.0, iOS 10


Syn Studio Recommendations

  • A strong uninterrupted broadband wired or wireless (3G or 4G/LTE) connection with a minimum 1.5Mbps bandwidth (up/down). You can also connect to the internet directly using your ethernet cable to improve your experience.
  • Laptop/Desktop computer equipped with a dual core processor with at least 2 GHZ processing speed and a 4 GB RAM
  • High Quality speakers/earphones to listen to the classes
  • Browser & Operating System - We recommend using the latest version of the browser and operating system for an optimal online classroom experience.

Course Outline

In this course you will learn to accurately and spontaneously draw the natural world. Each animal drawing class begins with a short presentation on anatomical features and behaviour. This is followed by a series of sketches to study anatomy, movement, skin textures (fur, scales, feathers) and explore different drawing techniques while receiving personalized feedback and correction from the instructor. Each species studied will be completed with a final drawing to be presented the following week.

*Please note that the following outline is subject to change slightly at the teacher's discretion.

Weeks 1 and 2: 

Introduction to the animation medium and essential animation principles. Learning to think and observe animals from the perspective of an animation artist and use the animation principles to sketch new creatures.

Gain proficiency in drawing volumetric forms and applying these forms to sketch simple animals. Learn to combine gesture with your volumetric forms to create exaggerated dynamic sketches


Weeks 3 to 5

Learn to simplify any quadruped structure into 5 volumetric forms so you can break any quadruped of different proportions into it's simplest form and build loose sketches.

Gain a thorough understanding of the contrasting features between the human and quadruped anatomy so you can represent the skeletal and muscular structures along with their typical rhythmic gestures with a high degree of precision.


Week 6

Master study using examples from Marc Davis and Walt Stanchfield - become proficient in connecting action and form to your design so you can add dynamic gestures and actions that best represent your character’s personality.


Weeks 7 and 8

Acquire the skills required to sketch birds for animation and add gestures and structures so you can accurately depict their unique characteristics and behaviour.

Learn to effectively use line, tone, texture and value to add a sense of depth and authenticity to your sketches


Weeks 9 and 10

Master study using examples of Heinrich Klay - Learn all about dynamic sketching so you can add exaggerated gestures to your sketches that will enhance the design and elevate your storytelling

Become proficient sketching several animal figures for the animation medium from both reference and imagination.

Review of student work and wrap up!


Check out the entire outline


Our Classes fill up on a First-come, First-served basis so register now to secure your spot!

This class is being offered at
for a limited period of time (save $xxx!!)
*All Prices Shown are in US Dollars *All Prices Shown are in CAD Dollars
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