Delving into animation - Looking for advice/tips

So I am going to be working on a new scene in UE4 using some of the current assets from elemental. I will be animating the fire golem in the scene.

Heres the catch though, I have never animated anything ever. My specialty is level design but I would like to broaden my skill set to give me that “edge” over other level designers.

Whats the process when you are animating something new? Do I need reference images? Should I video someone doing the movements?

Any help would be appreciated!

Animation is a huge topic and not an easy one to get into. If you have no experience with animation whatsoever, I would recommend getting into the basics using your preferred 3d package (and doing tons of tutorials). Once you know the basics and terminology, you can start playing with animations in UE. Starting out in UE could easily frustrate you without basic knowledge on animation (and skinning & rigs, etc).