Fondant is a sugar-based modelling clay used to cover cakes in a smooth draping finish, and also used to sculpt figures. Fondant should be treated as any other modelling medium: sculpting three-dimensional objects from fondant is as difficult as sculpting three-dimensional objects from clay. Gauge your talent accordingly. Fortunately, fondant animals can be formed either as two-dimensional or three-dimensional characters.
Draw and cut out paper stencils of animals, or purchase animal-shaped cookie cutters. You can also download animal silhouettes from the Internet, to form stencils by printing and cutting. Free hand is also an option but is more difficult to create uniformity with.
Mix your fondant or purchase already-made dough (refer to the Resources section for fondant recipes). Before rolling, add any base colour dyes to the dough. Separate the dough into piles to allow for multiple colours.
Roll the dough flat with a rolling pin, making sure to grease the counter and pin well with white shortening--to keep it from sticking. Roll to a thickness of about ¼ inch.
Cut the animal shapes using either the purchased cookie cutters or by placing the stencil on top of the rolled fondant and carefully carving the shape using a paring knife. Carefully transfer the fondant cutouts to a parchment or wax-paper lined tray.
Allow the fondant bases to harden slightly for at least an hour before painting and adding fondant detail. To add detail, use either a paintbrush with confectionery paint for animal stripes, eyes, fur, etc., or use fondant dyed in alternate colours (such as white, red and black), to create eyes, mouths, stripes, or limb details. Keep the fondant detail thin as you don't want it to protrude too far from the base, no more than ¼ inch. Attach fondant details using a sugar paste of water, icing sugar and egg whites. Allow to dry completely for three to five hours.
Sculpt three-dimensional animals by hand using fondant as a variant of modelling clay. Dye portions of the dough in the various colours needed for the particular animal, making sure to leave a portion of white for added details.
Form the body of the animal first. The body is the largest part of the animal and must be the base on which the remaining limbs are added. Use sculpting tools such as dowels and knives to help you. After the body, sculpt the legs, arms, tails and head.
Attach the limbs to the body using either cut toothpicks or sugar glue. Add details such as fur, ears, eyes, mouth, stripes and spots with alternately coloured fondant. Attach using the sugar glue and allow to dry overnight.