If you've not seen the sequence that James supervised for Kung Fu Panda go watch it here:
Kung Fu Panda Opening Dream Sequence
Also, as I mentioned a few posts below , Don Bluth has been posting some animation tutorials on YouTube to promote his longer Animation Tutorial DVD's . These clips are excerpts from the longer videos, but contain some good information on how to construct a cartoon character for animation:
And here's an interesting demonstration by Glen Keane on how he approaches animating a scene. Glen's initial approach is to get the feeling , to capture the "forces" that are animating the character from the inside.
Each of these artists has their own approach to drawing, but all have in common their use of the principle of constructing the character from basic forms in a rough drawing before going over top of those forms to draw the details of the character in outline. (it's like drawing from the "inside out") One thing I've noticed is that a lot of students are still trying to draw too "clean" , drawing in outline , but without any structure underneath the outlines of the drawings.