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.
A good grasp of the art fundamentals gives you a massive head start if you are just starting out with animation. Already having the habitual skills of line confidence and construction allows you to focus on the other many things that matter.
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?
It’s sort of like having the foundations to build the house, without the foundation there are no bricks… yadadada you’ve heard this shitty metaphor before and it definitely applies here.
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. Your first project will always be a mess, but that’s the fun of it.
If you haven’t started animating yet because you’re questioning your abilities, 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.
p.s. don’t delete whatever you make at the start because i fucking bet your ass you will regret it