Do I need drawing skills to animate?

This is probably a question that comes up a lot, so here’s a fucking article about it. You’re welcome.

My answer is no, not really. But it helps. A shittone.

There isn’t any timing involved when you are making a still illustration. But in animation, you have to consider anticipation, squash and stretch, arcs, and many other principles simultaneously to create the illusion of movement – on top of drawing the actual frames.. Animating is already hard as is, so why not make it easier for yourself?

A good grasp of the art fundamentals gives you a massive head start if you are just starting out with animation. You don’t have to use as much brainpower on subconscious habitual concepts such as construction and line quality, and thus you can focus on movement, timing, and consistency on characters that matter. It’s an opportunity to push your artmaking abilities and craft onto a whole new dimension.

It’s sort of like having the foundations to build the house, without the foundation there are no bricks… something something. Quite sure you’ve heard it before lmao

The Flip Side.

But learning animation by learning art first with a step by step checklist approach is boring. You could progress fast as hell but it’s almost a guaranteed way to leave you in a blazing ultimateshitdeathpit of burnout. There isn’t a defined point in your art journey that makes you ‘good enough’ to start animating, and there is no point in grinding away at perspective drills if they bottleneck your incentive to illustrate.

I started out in the 7th grade with no animation knowledge whatsoever, but with a raging desire to make music videos of edgy ass MCR songs and a very very very legal copy of Macromedia. My first full length animation was an absolute masterpiece with disproportionately drawn birds, inconsistent shading, and lazy backgrounds. If I only started today, I would be much too critical to even begin a project. I wouldn’t be able to recreate such a work of art without the blind, ignorant passion from 2015.

If animation is something you already feel passion and curiosity for, then I say jump the gun and do it regardless. Try to animate the things you love – and if you’re finding something difficult to draw, there’s no harm in taking a few steps back to practice them again. It’s a back and forth adventure, and you’ll naturally learn more as long as you keep practising and searching for ways to improve.

Comments

  1. This article really gave me the motivation I need to start making animations, I have been following your work for a few weeks and I really admire what you do, I hope one day I can pay you a tribute when I have more experience in the field of animation

    1. Really glad to hear that my words are of useful value hahah.. didn’t actually expect anyone to find this page! I hope you give it a shot and just enjoy the process, it’s difficult but very much worth it :] Have fun!

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