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Animal Sketching

Learn how to bring your animal sketches to life with dynamic gestures!

Teacher Artwork by Mike Wiesmeier

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Animal Sketching

In this course, former Disney animator Mike Wiesmeier will introduce the principles and techniques used by 2D animators to capture the gesture, personality and anatomy of animals!

Over the term, you will learn to simplify animal structures that capture the volumes and perspectives of any pose without compromising on the looseness and dynamic qualities of your drawing. By studying photographic and animated references, you will also learn the key differences (and similarities!) between human anatomy and the skeletal and muscular structures of quadrupeds.

In this class, you will gain the skills required to draw expressions and body-language that convey the personality and various moods of your creatures. Finally, you will learn how to incorporate dynamic sketching techniques into your drawings so you can exaggerate your character’s gestures and improve their overall design.

By the end of this course, you will have the ability to confidently draw animals from reference or your imagination!

  • Course Type Online Illustration 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

You can now combine 3, 4 or 5 classes to avail a 5, 10 or 15% discount on your purchase and get a free spot in a webinar this term!

$399 (save USD $50.00 ) $349 USD
Register Now


Note: This class will be offered online only

Term: Summer 2024

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

Date of first class: July 4th

Duration: 10 weeks

Please note that our classes times are listed as EDT (GMT-4) but that starting on Sunday, November 3rd, 2024, all class times will go into EST (GMT-5).

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.

It should be noted that students should set aside a minimum of 3 hours per week to complete assignments for this class. Students may even require a bit more time (4-5 hours per week) depending on how quickly they can work through assignments.


*Please note that this class' duration is subject to change (to either 1.5 hours or 2 hours) depending on the number of enrolled students.

These shorter class formats are conducted with more of a personalized mentorship style, allowing students to have more time devoted to their assignments' critiques and the ability to ask more questions in class, while still maintaining all of the theory and planned curriculum for the regular class length.




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 be advised that there could be artistic nudity in our classes. Students should be 14 years old 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

*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



You can now combine 3, 4 or 5 classes to avail a 5, 10 or 15% discount on your purchase and get a free spot in a webinar this term!

This class is being offered at
USD $349.00
(save $xxx!!)
*All Prices Shown are in USD Dollars
Choose your section:
Register Now

You will soon receive an email receipt for your purchase.

Please bring a photo ID for the first day of class.

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Questions and Assistance

Feel free to send us an email at [email protected] or give us a call at 514-998-7625

Please consult our FAQ; most of the commonly asked questions are answered in detail there. If you cannot find the answer to your question, please feel free to fill out the form below, or, send an email to [email protected]

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