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Academy Students Learn to Draw Animals From Life

Be sure to stop by 601 Brannan on March 25 to witness Academy of Art students sketching horses and ponies from life. Students in Tanya Ericson’s Wildlife Drawing class and Terri Whitlatch’s Creature Design class will get a close-up examination of their subjects when the Academy hosts three different-sized horses.

From 9:30 AM to 4:00 PM students will gather in the parking lot of the 601 Brannan building to study and sketch a Saddlebred show horse, a pony and a miniature horse. It is extremely useful for animators and illustrators to learn how to draw the form of a horse since they have such large and complex muscle and bone structures. Since these horses are used to being around people, students can touch them and get an idea of how their bodies are shaped.

“Large horses are so inspirational to draw,” said Ericson, who owns horses herself.  “ Students don’t have the time to go out and study these animals on their own.”

In the past, Ericson has brought in her own miniature horses for students to sketch. Miniature horses are slightly bigger than a large dog and thus very accessible to study. They also enjoy being around people, which makes miniature horses the perfect live model for a class.

Because dogs and horses are the most frequently drawn animals in an art career, both are incredibly important to study. Ericson encourages her animation students to draw the animals as if they are in motion, making them more lifelike.

For many years, the Academy has hosted a number of live animal models including a lion, pigs, dogs, snakes and more. Students in animal illustration classes also take field trips to the San Francisco Zoo, Monterey Bay Aquarium and the Lindsey Wildlife Museum to learn how to illustrate different species of animals. Academy of Art University aims to offer an expansive curriculum in animal biology coupled with creature design and animal animation.


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