Workshops - A Watercolor Walk on the Wild Side: Creating Whimsical Animal Characters

A Watercolor Walk on the Wild Side: Creating Whimsical Animal Characters


Ayers AyersAyers

 Workshop Description:

Participants will work with Disney Animation Art Director Chris Ayers to create their own stylized animal characters. Chris will share a variety of drawing styles, break down his design approach to creating appealing & whimsical animals, and demonstrate some of his drawing and watercolor techniques.

 Proposed Curriculum:

Details are still being ironed out, but this is the gist of it. Time will be split between instructor demos and various short- and long-format activity periods for the participants to work on their own creations. The goal is for the participants to be introduced to new art & brainstorming techniques or to build upon existing skills and leave the workshop with additional tools for their creative toolbox.

Day 1

• Introduction: a slideshow presentation sharing a bit about my background and experience, samples of my art depicting a variety of techniques and styles, as well as touching on the story of Daily Zoo where I’ve been drawing an animal a day for the past 15 years in response to facing cancer.

• Warm up exercises

• Demo on some character design basics & general philosophy (shape design and cartoon simplification & stylization)

• Loose sketch and watercolor application technique demo & activity

• Working time where I can roam the classroom and provide assistance and feedback on a 1-to-1 basis

Day 2

• Warm up exercises

• Demo of a more tightly rendered animal character illustration – drawing and then watercolor painting.

• Working time for participants to further dive into their own creations with me providing assistance, feedback, and further spontaneous demo-ing and “lecturing” as necessary or helpful.

 Download Supply List


Artist Bio

Chris Ayers

Born and raised in Minnesota, Chris Ayers moved to California shortly after college to fulfill his childhood dream of working in the movies. As a character designer and concept artist, he has participated on projects such as Penguins of Madagascar, Men in Black II, The Santa Clause 2, and is currently working for Disney Animation art directing their upcoming Monsters Inc. spinoff series.

Pursuing this dream was harshly interrupted, however, when he was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia on April Fool’s Day in 2005. After treatment he started a sketchbook called The Daily Zoo. Combining two of his passions, animals and drawing, he created a sketch each day to aid his recovery. He has since had the opportunity to publish five books in The Daily Zoo series, with more on the way.

Chris now lives in Los Angeles with his wife, son, and one large drawer of pencils. And he still draws an animal-a-day.



Non Members Fee: $185.00 Members Fee: $165.00

This workshop takes place on:

Saturday, June 12th, 2021 - Sunday, June 13th, 2021
9:00 AM-3:30 PM Login and sign up