Drawing Animals: From Anatomy to Rendering
4.4 (309 ratings)
Course Ratings are calculated from individual students’ ratings and a variety of other signals, like age of rating and reliability, to ensure that they reflect course quality fairly and accurately.
3,895 students enrolled

Drawing Animals: From Anatomy to Rendering

Learn how to draw animals like an expert - quickly, easily and pain free
4.4 (309 ratings)
Course Ratings are calculated from individual students’ ratings and a variety of other signals, like age of rating and reliability, to ensure that they reflect course quality fairly and accurately.
3,895 students enrolled
Created by Geoffrey Jacobs
Last updated 10/2015
English [Auto]
Current price: $12.99 Original price: $19.99 Discount: 35% off
16 hours left at this price!
30-Day Money-Back Guarantee
This course includes
  • 8 hours on-demand video
  • 1 downloadable resource
  • Full lifetime access
  • Access on mobile and TV
  • Certificate of Completion
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What you'll learn
  • Learn basic observation skills and techniques for visualising 3D forms
  • Learn and understand the fundamental elements of animal anatomy
  • Develop the knowledge and skills to draw a wide variety of animal species including cats, horses, wolves, eagles and more
  • Develop an understanding of lighting, and skills for rendering your animal illustrations
  • Pencil and paper - that's all!

>>Over 3,700 students!<<

This course teaches you the essentials of drawing animals. There's over 8 hours of high definition, high quality content covering drawing skills, animal anatomy, and rendering.

In Part 1 you'll learn valuable exercises to: 

  - Develop your observation skills and 

  - Improve your ability to draw 3D objects. 

  These skills will set you in good stead for mastering the rest of the course. 

In Part 2 we go through general animal anatomy. You will learn about the anatomical features common to most animals, making it easier for you to learn how to draw any animal. I discuss the different parts of an animal's body, it's skeleton and muscles, and how size affects animal anatomy. 

Then there is the main body of the course. Here you will learn how draw individual species. In easy, step-by-step tutorials you will be guided through steps to drawing animals' heads and bodies from a variety of views. These tutorials are where you will apply the knowledge you have learned in parts 1 & 2. 

Species you will learn to draw include:

  • horses

  • eagles

  • big cats (like lions, tigers and leopards)

  • small cats (like your friendly house cat)

  • wolves

  • and more...

Finally you will finish the course learning how to render your animal drawings. Here you will learn the basics of drawing light and shadow. You will also learn how to render animals' eyes, fur and feathers

Who this course is for:
  • Anyone who wants to draw animals - great for people with no drawing skills, basic drawing skills, or intermediate drawing skills
Course content
Expand all 46 lectures 08:15:09
+ Introduction
1 lecture 01:46

This video will help you get the most out of this course. It also includes a brief description of who I am and why I am teaching you to draw animals.

Preview 01:46
+ General Drawing Fundamentals
7 lectures 56:01

Before we focus on drawing animals we need to cover basics about drawing. At its highest level, drawing is a combination of two skills:

  1. Observation skills
  2. Rotating 3D objects in your head (which can also be referred to as visualising 3D objects)

In this video I explain what these terms mean, and demonstrate with some examples.

General Drawing Fundamentals

Get your pencil and paper ready! This video will help you strengthen your observation skills. You don't need to practice this technique with the same picture I have used - it's just an example. If you're not feeling this exercise, feel free to try the other observation skill exercises first.

Exercise - Observation Skills 1

Another exercise to strengthen your observation skills. Again, if this one isn't your cup of tea, don't feel that you have to do the exercises in order.

Exercise - Observation Skills 2

This exercise is strange and enlightening the first time you try it. I highly recommend this exercise if you've never done it before!

Exercise - Observation Skills 3

This is the final exercise for honing your observation skills. All of these exercises are worth revisiting multiple times.

Exercise - Observation Skills 4

Now that we've covered observation skills, it's time to learn more about rotating and visualising 3D objects in your imagination. This video has an exercise that helps you do just that.

Exercise - Understanding 3D Objects 1

Another exercise for rotating and visualising 3D objects. This one's a bit tricky. I recommend that you do this exercise multiple times.

Exercise - Understanding 3D Objects 2
+ General Animal Anatomy & Proportions
1 lecture 10:36

So far we've covered a lot about drawing. Now we focus more heavily on our subject matter - animals! We cover some important principles about animal anatomy and proportions in this video. This lesson is crucial! Make sure you watch it before going further.

Preview 10:36
+ Big Cats and Small Cats
7 lectures 01:31:11

The big cats - lions, tigers, leopards and jaguars - are all closely related. You can draw all of them using the same basic rules. This lesson demonstrates how to draw their faces from front view.

Big Cat - Head - Front View

Small cats include your humble domestic cat, and a wide variety of other species. In this lesson I demonstrate how to draw a domestic cat's face from front view. The techniques in this video are broadly applicable to most small cat species.

Preview 12:21

Having learned their faces from front view, we now cover feline faces from side view. I decided to draw them side-by-side. It will help illustrate one or two of the principles discussed in "General Animal Anatomy & Proportions" lecture.

Big Cat & Small Cat - Head - Profile View

Time for something a bit more challenging! You've honed your observation skills on the front and side view lessons - now we apply those anatomical learnings to a '3D' model.

Big Cat - Head - Three Quarter

Same as the previous lecture, but focused on the smaller species of the cat family - this particular drawing is of a domestic cat.

Small Cat - Head - Three Quarter View

You know how to draw the head. Now it's time to apply that to the full animal.

Big Cat - Body - Side View

Small and large cats have very similar bodies. So rather than repeat most of the previous video I thought you get more from learning a different pose. This really is the archetypal cat pose.

Small Cat - Body - Sitting Position
+ Horses
5 lectures 01:00:15

Horses are quite difficult animals to draw. But they can be mastered with practice. Most of the techniques for drawing horses can also be applied to drawing zebras and donkeys. Here we cover the head from side view.

Horse - Head - Profile View

Here we work more on those observation skills, drawing the horse's head from front view.

Horse - Head - Front View

We turn it up a notch on the difficulty scale here by adding the third dimension. Challenging? Maybe, but I think you will find the result well worth it!

Preview 08:32

You've done some observation work and 3D visualisation work on the head. Now it's time to learn the horse's body. Again, horses have quite difficult anatomy to master, so be patient.

Horse - Body - Side View

This could be the most challenging lesson in the entire course. But it also teaches you a technique that you can apply to any animal - drawing the body in 3D perspective! Feel free to move on and come back later if this is too difficult for you.

Horse - Body - 3D Angle
+ Wolves
4 lectures 01:01:18

Wolves can be fun to draw. Because they are the basis for all domestic dog breeds, you will be able to apply these rules when drawing dogs as well. I decided the best place to start was with the face from front view. Notice how that long snout can be portrayed from front view on a flat piece of paper. A valuable lesson.

Wolf - Head - Front View

Much like the previous animals, we now cover the wolf's face from side view. This will demand more from your observation skills than your 3D visualisation skills.

Wolf - Head - Profile View

In this video we take the wolf head proportions we learned in the previous two lectures and apply them in a 3D context.

Wolf - Head - Three Quarter View

Despite the obvious similarities, there are some important differences between canine and feline bodies. We cover that and more in this lecture.

Wolf - Body - Side View
+ Cows/Cattle
3 lectures 31:29

Cattle, cows, bulls, bovines... call them what you will. They may not be the most exciting animal to draw, but you can draw quite an impressive profile for these animals with surprisingly little effort.

Cow - Head - Profile View

Like the profile view, the cow's face from front view can be surprisingly rewarding and fun! Who said cows aren't charismatic animals?

Cow - Head - Front View

The bovine body is an important exercise. If nothing else you will see how different they are from cats, horses and wolves. I recommend that you give this a go - it will help if you ever want to try more unusual animal bodies like elephants, rhinos and hippos.

Cow - Body - Side View
+ Bird Wing Anatomy
1 lecture 08:59

Bird wings can be difficult and time consuming to draw, but if you want to draw birds this video is essential. The bird wing is comprised of numerous bones, muscles and feathers. This lecture teaches you to draw bird wings by covering the basics of each of those anatomical features.

Preview 08:59
+ Eagles
5 lectures 01:09:05

Drawing an eagle's head from side view is easier than you may think. The techniques in this video will show you how master this majestic bird's appearance. If you struggle a bit with getting the curves right, just know that it's worth persisting. They're a lot of fun to draw!

Eagle - Head - Profile View

It may not be as interesting or as cool as the eagle's head from side view, but this lecture will help you master the next lesson about drawing the eagle's head in 3D.

Eagle - Head - Front View

In the previous two videos you learned the proportions of the eagle's head from different views. In this video we combine that with skill of rotating 3D objects in your head. This video will develop your ability to visualise 3D objects.

Eagle - Head - Three Quarter View

Birds bodies change shape quite dramatically when they are in flight. In this video you will learn a bit more about bird anatomy, making it easier for you to draw a bird in flight. We will also apply some of what you learned about the wing in the "Bird Wing Anatomy" video.

Eagle - Body - Flying

Perched birds look very different from birds in flight. This video will explain how to draw an eagle in a perched position.

Eagle - Body - Perched
+ Ducks
2 lectures 10:27

This is not an essential animal to learn. But it is easy to draw. This is a good video if you want to build your skills and confidence with a little less effort.

Duck - Head - Profile

Similar to the previous lecture, this is an easy and fun little bird to draw.

Duck - Head - Front