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Dynamic Figure Sketching

Dynamic Figure Sketching

An 8-week course focused on emphasizing strength of the gesture and the use of simple volumetric forms to construct the figure, and a focus on performance. 
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Sense of the Kinesthetic

Sense of the Kinesthetic
This course is an introduction to an approach to figure drawing 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 techniques will be presented in order to illustrate the development of the art form at the Disney studio, and students will also see the value of applying the Animation Principles to sketching the figure.

Throughout the course, students will learn to have a sense of the kinesthetic and performance aspects of the figure pose. By the end of the course students will have a body of loose, dynamic figure sketches that demonstrate the understanding of the principles of exaggeration, performance, and solid drawing.
Registration Now Open
Registration Period
Apr 24, 2024 - Jul 15, 2024
Course Start
Jul 10, 2024

Course Format

LIVE (recorded)

Skills Level



8 weeks


Once a week


Individual recordings

Lecture Type

LIVE (recorded)
Deadlines each week
Some previous experience with sketching the human figure, and of the figure's general structure and proportions are recommended.
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 figure through the lens of the Animation Principles | Dynamic figure sketching: loose gesture combined with solid structure using the volumetric forms | Practice sketching loose gestures and the volumetric forms (boxes, spheres, cylinders)
Introduction to applying the volumetric forms to begin giving the figure three-dimensional believability | Combining volumetric forms to create perspective and rounded volume simultaneously in the figure | Examples of use of the volumetric forms in animation drawing | Using secondary forms to describe and connect the volumetric forms
The Gesture and Animation (Things I Learned From Walt Stanchfield): 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) | Developing the ‘kinesthetic sense’ – learning to feel the pose in our own body as a complement to our intellectual analysis of it
(Things I Learned From Marc Davis and Milt Kahl): Introduction to Marc Davis: his role and importance to Disney animation and Imagineering | Introduction to Milt Kahl: his role and importance to Disney Animation | Applying Squash and Stretch – using straight against squash to get interesting and dynamic design to our figure sketches | Adding Appeal to our sketches; defining appeal; the importance of corners to creating appealing design
(Things I Learned From Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston): Introduction to Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston: their role as two of Disney’s ‘Nine Old Men’ as well as authors of the seminal animation reference book ‘Disney Animation: The Illusion of Life’ | The importance of relating to and empathizing with your ‘character’ when sketching the figure | Staging: the importance of creating a clear, ‘readable’ silhouette with your figure sketches
Thinking About and Sketching Drapery In a Loose, Dynamic Way That Helps to Tell the Story of the Pose: Simplifying drapery; looking for and recognizing organizing patterns in drapery folds | Follow-Through and Arcs: seeing the ‘gesture’ of drapery action and to creating drapery design that creates interest and exaggeration to enhance the story of the pose | Props: their role in creating interaction and believability of the pose
Getting Out of the Way and Being Interested In What You’re Sketching (Things I Learned From Walt Stanchfield): Walt Stanchfield’s idea about the importance of being interested in the pose you are sketching and asking questions in order to determine and find the ‘essence’ of the performance within the pose | 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
Things I Learned From Heinrich Kley: The German Master Artist Disney Artists Have Studied Since the 1930’s: 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 sketches and analysis of the Animation Principles they demonstrate

Bringing out the best in talent

LECTURES BY Mike Wiesmeier
Course Start: Jul 10, 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 10, 2024
Dynamic Figure Sketching


The course helped me to be more aware of what I am drawing and how to be more interested in my sketches.


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