Make sure to Enroll Today!

Dynamic Animal Sketching

Dynamic Animal Sketching

An 8-week course focused on introducing participants to the main principles of animation, and to how to apply them to dynamic animal sketching.
cover image

Accenting the Action in Your Animal Sketches

Accenting the Action in Your Animal Sketches
This course introduces participants to the main principles of animation, and to how to apply them to dynamic animal sketching. Introduction to the general approach that animators use when making drawings, which emphasizes strength of the gesture and the use of simple volumetric forms to construct the figure, and a focus on performance. Disney animation legends will be presented in order to illustrate the development of the art form at the Disney studio.
Registration Now Open
Registration Period
Apr 24, 2024 - Jul 15, 2024
Course Start
Jul 08, 2024

Course Format


Skills Level



8 weeks


Once a week


Individual recordings

Lecture Type

Due each week. Expect to spend 8-10 hrs/wk viewing lectures, Q&A, and time on assignments.
Some previous experience with sketching the animal or human figure.
General drawing software (such as Photoshop, ClipStudio, etc.) or basic traditional drawing materials.

The more you know, the better.

Overview of the course content by week | Introducing the 12 Animation Principles and some of the key animators who developed them | Thinking about sketching the animal figure through the lens of the Animation Principles | Dynamic animal sketching: loose gesture combined with solid structure using the volumetric forms | Practice sketching loose gestures and the volumetric forms (boxes, spheres, cylinders)
Introduction to Walt Stanchfield and his role and importance to the development and training of Disney artists | Thinking of verbs and adverbs as we sketch the gesture (instead of nouns) and developing the ‘kinesthetic sense’ | Introduction to applying the volumetric forms to begin giving three-dimensional believability to simple animal figures | Combining volumetric forms to create perspective and rounded volume simultaneously in the animal figure | Examples of use of the volumetric forms in animation drawing
Simplifying the quadruped structure into five volumetric forms; applying the quadruped ‘template’ structure to quadrupeds of various proportions | Staying loose as we construct the animal figure using the volumetric forms
The importance of thinking about as well as sketching the rhythmic flow of the skeletal anatomy | Comparison and contrast between the human/primate and quadruped skeletal structure
Thinking about the muscular structure in a simplified way: muscle groupings | The importance of thinking about and sketching the anatomy in a dynamic way by thinking about the rhythmic gestures within the muscular connections and by asking ‘where the effort is being made?’
Introduction to Marc Davis and Milt Kahl: their roles and importance to Disney Animation and Imagineering | Applying Animation Principle #1 (Squash and Stretch) – using straight against curve to get interesting and dynamic design in our animal figure sketches | Applying Animation Principle #12 – Appeal – to our animal sketches; defining appeal: the importance of corners to creating appealing design
The relationship between bird action/gesture and structure | Thinking design: straights against curves – starting out simple and then breaking that up into smaller planes; the importance of straights in a drawing | Walt Stanchfield’s idea about the importance of ‘getting out of the way’…focusing on the process of sketching instead on being worried about the ‘product’ of your efforts
Introduction to Walt Disney’s implementation of the artist training program at his studio in the 1930’s and its history up through the 1990’s | Introduction to Heinrich Kley and the important impact the study of his work had on Disney animation | Introduction to Heinrich Kley’s animal sketches and analysis of the Animation Principles they demonstrate

Bringing out the best in talent

LECTURES BY Mike Wiesmeier
Course Start: Jul 08, 2024
Mike Wiesmeier has been working in the animation industry since 1991. Mike’s production work has included interactive, commercial, games, and feature animation projects, including six features at Walt Disney Feature Animation, work as a supervisor on a traditionally animated feature film in Barcelona, Spain, and most recently on a AAA game, interactive theme park ride, and Netflix series projects in Montréal. Mike’s teaching career began while working at Walt Disney Feature Animation. In the years since he has taught animation, life drawing, animal drawing, and figure sculpture at institutions worldwide including The Art Institutes of California, The Getty Center museum, The Huntington Library, Gnomon School of Visual Effects, Syn Studio École d’Art in Montréal, and Palazzo Strozzi in Florence, Italy.

Instructor's Gallery

Concept Art


Even though our courses are the most affordable for the quality of education, these finance options allow you to focus on your goals instead of the barriers that keep you from reaching them.

3x Payments


2x Payments


Full payment


Apr 24, 2024 - Jul 15, 2024
COURSE BEGINS on Jul 08, 2024
Dynamic Animal Sketching

What makes this learning experience unique?


Receive personalized feedback on all assignments from the industry’s top professionals.


Enjoy lifetime access to the spectrum of course content, including lectures, live Q&As, and feedback sessions.


Show off your Certification of Completion when you turn in 80% of course assignments.


Learn anywhere, anytime, and at your own pace with flexible, online course scheduling.

Need guidance? We’re Here to Help.

We can help with admissions questions, portfolio review/course recommendations!

What are you interested in?