Creature Design

Creature Design
This course opens on Monday, August 5, 2024.

In this course, students will learn how to design compelling, imaginary creatures based around the concept of form and function. By first studying animal anatomy from the real world, students will learn how to design creatures that suspend disbelief. They will start with the basic forms of invertebrates before tackling more complex skeletal and muscular studies.

Course Instructor

Taren Morse Taren Morse Course Author / Instructor

Taren Morse received her MFA in Illustration from the Academy of Art University where she developed her skills in concept art for film and game design as well as graphic novel. Her skills branch into a variety of genres including sculpture and even website design. She draws most of her inspiration from God’s creation, taking pleasure in observing the strangest and sometimes creepiest He has to offer. Additionally, her passion for learning has driven her interests in reading, coding, studying foreign language, and unicycling.

Course Information

Duration: 8 Weeks / Lifetime Access

Intensity: Moderate


Course Schedule

Class begins: Mon, Aug 5, 2024 (EST)

Class ends: Mon, Sep 30, 2024 (EST)

Meeting Times: TBD


Students should have a basic understanding of linear perspective.

Weekly Livestreams

Each week, a one-hour livestream with your instructor will be scheduled so you can ask any questions you may have and get feedback in real-time.

Lifetime Access

All pre-recorded lectures and recorded livestreams will be available to you forever so you can review lessons even after the course ends.


Completing this course at a Professional or Advanced Level will act as credit toward a certificate in the corresponding Program Area.

Course Outline

Module 1 | The Principles of Form and Depth

In this module, students learn the basic principles behind creating form and depth with special focus on arthropod anatomy and basic skull structure.

Module 2 | Understanding the Basics of Animal Anatomy

In this module, students will go through the basic bony landmarks and muscles groups of canine anatomy. Students will become familiar with understanding and recognizing anatomical structure through research and observation.

Module 3 | The Basic Design Principles and Thumbnailing

Once students learn how to work with form, they will be introduced to the abstract concepts of design to become more effective in visual communication.

Module 4 | Understanding Form and Function

In this module, students will learn to be more aware of the relationship between form and its function in order to increase believability in their creature designs.

Module 5 | Developing the Design

In this module, students will be acquainted with the thought process behind design and how the principles of design are effectively used when developing a concept.

Module 6 | Working with Orthographics and Turnarounds

In this module, students will be introduced to designing the specific forms of a creature through orthographic and turnaround views.

Module 7 | Adding Texture and Color

In this module, students will learn how to observe texture and color in nature for effective application in creature design.

Module 8 | Finalizing the Concept

In this module, students will develop a final presentation board of the creatures they've developed throughout the course. They will be introduced to the use of callouts and effective ways to organize a presentation board.

Course Materials

Adobe Photoshop


Assignments will be given on a weekly basis. Students are recommended to dedicate a minimum of 10 hours a week reviewing lecture content and completing assignments.


Grades are given based on levels. You can learn about our grading system.

Refund Policy

Please note that courses with critiqued lessons are nonrefundable due to the limited number of seats.

Available Enrollments

Creature Design

access until October 7, 2024 12:00 am

In this online course, you will have access to pre-recorded lesson content and assignments.

Each completed assignment will receive instructor feedback so you know exactly how to strengthen your skills.

Included with this course:

  • 8 weeks of professional instruction
  • Weekly assignments and feedback
  • Weekly livestreams and Q&A
  • Graded final assignment
  • Credit towards a corresponding program area
  • Lifetime access to course lessons

Want to take the course later?