module specification

CU4010 - Introduction to Drawing and Animation (2024/25)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2024/25
Module title Introduction to Drawing and Animation
Module level Certificate (04)
Credit rating for module 30
School School of Computing and Digital Media
Total study hours 300
81 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
219 hours Guided independent study
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Oral Examination 30%   History of animation research individual presentation (10 min)
Coursework 60%   Two short animations demonstrating different techniques (2 x 10 seconds) and developmental work
Oral Examination 10%   individual presentation of animation coursework (10 min)
Running in 2024/25

(Please note that module timeslots are subject to change)
No instances running in the year

Module summary

This module is an introduction to 2D animation production practices. These practical skills are supported by theoretical reference to the conventions of narrative cinema, and the working practices of related areas such as animation, film and video production.

The module introduces concepts, production methods, and techniques from the animation industry and related areas. It provides an historical perspective, examining traditional animation craft skills as well as contemporary industrial practice. The module introduces skills in drawing, acting for animation, cell frame animation, lens-based animation (Claymation, stop motion, pixilation), and computer animation.

Concepts, techniques, and principles that enhance the design and production of linear narrative, character and environmental design are introduced, and students’ skills in these areas developed. Students will be able to effectively represent character, emotion, movement and narrative.

Principles will be introduced through lectures, demonstrations and participative sessions with practical techniques explored in workshops.

1. Individual presentations and supporting documents
2. Two short animations demonstrating two different techniques (2 x 10 seconds) together with developmental work
The aims of this module are to introduce students to :

1. The animation industry, its history and practices.
2. Drawing techniques, in particular the rendering of the human form.
3. An understanding of character acting, movement and gesture for animation.
4. A range of animation techniques.
5. Self-presentation and promotional skills.

The module will include the introduction of skills in the following:
Observational drawing - anatomy and proportion, composition, expression, performance and the analysis of human and animal motion.
Composition and cinematic language.
Design and development processes, asset-management.
Production pipeline for simple animation projects.
Animation techniques such as; cell animation, lens–based animation, (e.g., stop-motion, claymation, pixilation) Computer animation


• Basic principles of animation and the pipeline process of how to integrate traditional
• skills and computer-based skills to produce a range of animation styles and techniques;
• Contemporary animation and games industries, their working practices, and
• opportunities offered for employment;
• History of animation, and industrial practices of the traditional and computer-based
• animation industries;
• Observational drawing, with a focus on attributes of an image (e.g., line, tone, markmaking,
• texture, colour);
• Anatomy and proportion, composition and expression;
• Analysis of motion of humans, animals and objects using digital capture, sketching
• techniques, and acting and performance methods;

• Visual research (e.g., public resources such as galleries and the local environment);
• Developing and communicating visual solutions in a structured way (e.g., various
• types of storyboard), visual storytelling utilizing cinematic techniques such as creative
• use of cameras, lenses and editing techniques;
• Construction of narrative, character, environment, and props, mise en scène;
• Traditional techniques such as; onion-skinning, tweening, key framing and inbetweens,
• straight ahead, versus pose-to-pose animation, paths of action, etc;
• Stop motion and digital photography techniques, including pixilation, animated gifs
• and Claymation;
• Relationship between sound and images in animation;
• Lip-sync and how to make a character speak using substitution animation;

LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4

Balance of independent study and scheduled teaching activity

The module will make use workshop sessions. New knowledge, skills, and techniques are offered in short interactive lectures, brief seminars and technical demos, inserted into workshop setting at the start and throughout as required. Students will learn through guided experience and practice in hand on workshops (3 hours).

Aditionally students are expected to spend time carrying out research connected with the subject, visiting exhibitions and museums, reading and practising their skills.

Appropriate blended learning approaches and technologies, such as, the University’s VLE and online tools, will be used to facilitate and support student learning, in particular, to:
• deliver content;
• encourage active learning;
• provide formative and summative assessments, and prompt feedback; 
• enhance student engagement and learning experience.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module, students will be able to:

LO1: Communicate an awareness of the history and current production practices in the animation, effects and games industries as demonstrated through projects illustrating key concepts – (as in the analysis of: character and narrative, atmosphere and props. As well as: historical and geographical, socio-political, legal, ethical, and professional issues, relevant to working practices), evidenced by sketches and diagrams, research and oral presentation skills.

LO2- Carry out observational drawing, and research into drawing techniques, such as an investigation into the attributes of the image (e.g., line, tone, shape, texture, and colour), the capture of human and animal anatomy and motion, (including structure and proportion), the visual analysis of character, environment, atmosphere and props.

LO3 - Understand the fundamental principles of animation (e.g., squash and stretch, anticipation, staging, straight ahead action and pose to pose, follow through and overlapping action, secondary action, timing, exaggeration, etc.)

LO4 - Use computer skills and design methods to produce a range of styles and techniques for animation and effects - to include lens-based techniques such as: Claymation, Pixillation, and stop motion; traditional and computer-based techniques, such as: cell-animation, parenting, puppeting, rigging, onion-skinning, keyframing, tweening, etc.



Eisner, W. (2008) Expressive anatomy for comics & narrative London, Norton ISBN: 978-
Hart, C. (1997) How to draw animation New York, Watson-Guptill
ISBN 0-8230-2365-6 [CORE]
Hart, C. (2000) Human anatomy made amazingly easy New York, Watson-Guptill
ISBN 0-8230-2497-1
Simon, M. (2000) Storyboards: Motion in Art Boston, Focal Press
ISBN 0-240-80374-4. Ebook also available
Stanchfield, W. (2009) Drawn to life: 20 golden years of Disney master classes. Vol. 1
London, Focal Press ISBN: 978-0-240-81096-6
Tillman, B. (2011) Creative character design London, Focal Press.
ISBN: 978-0-240-81495-7

Acting for Animators

Hooks, E. (2011) Acting for Animators Abingdon, Routledge
ISBN 9780203816226
Kundert-Gibbs, K. (2009) Action!: Acting Lessons for CG Animators Indianapolis, John
Wiley & Sons ISBN 0470227435. Ebook also available
Madden, M. (2005). 99 ways to tell a story London, Jonathan Cape
ISBN: 978-0-224-07925-5


Furniss, M. (1999), Art in motion: Animation aesthetics London, John Libbey & Co Ltd,
ISBN 1864620390 16
Muybridge, E. (1984) The Male & Female figure in motion New York, Dover
publications. ISBN 0-486-24745-7
Shaw, S. (2008) Stop Motion: Craft Skills for Model Animation Burlington, Focal Press
ISBN 9780240520551 0240520556
White, T. (1986) The Animator’s Workbook Oxford, Phaidon
ISBN 0-8230-0229-2
White, T. (2009) How to make animated films Amsterdam, Focal Press
ISBN 978-0-240-81033-1 [CORE]
Williams R (2001) The Animator’s Survival Kit London, Faber and Faber
ISBN 0571202284 [CORE]

History of animation / contextual studies

Beck, J. Ed (2004) Animation Art Flame London, Tree Publishing
ISBN 1-84451-140-5
Bendazzi, G. (1995) Cartoons: One hundred years of cinema animation London, John
Libby & Co Ltd. ISBN 0253311683
Collington, M. (2016) Animation in Context A Practical Guide to Theory and Making
London, Fairchild Books. ISBN 9781472578280 [CORE]
Faber, L. & Walters, H. (2004) Animation Unlimited London, Laurence King Publishing
Wiedemann, J, Ed. (2004) Animation Now London, Taschen
ISBN 3-8228-2588-3
Pilling, J. (1997) A reader in animation studies London, John Libbey & Co Ltd, ISBN
Pintoff. E, (1998) Animation 101 California, Michael Wiese
ISBN: 0-941188-68-X
Thomas F.W and Johnston, O. (1997) Illusion of Life: Disney Animation NY, Hyperion
Press ISBN 0786860707 [CORE]
Van Sijll, J. (2005) Cinematic Storytelling: The 100 Most Powerful Film Conventions [CORE]