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Can I Do Animations Without Drawing?

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Do You need to know how to draw in order to animate?

The answer, according to my MANY years of experience and MANY years of research, is YES. So end of story. Have a nice da-. 

Animation and Drawing are closely related to one another but the good thing is – you don’t need to master either one to make it happen. 

How many of you guys, Show your hands, wait no nevermind I can’t see them anyways.

But HOW MANY of you think that you need to go College or University and get some fancy degree to be able to ANIMATE HMMM?

How many of you are in college or university because someone somewhere told you IT’S THE ONLY WAY TO GO

I know I have. So now, I will proceed to disappoint my someone somewhere.

The fact is, you can teach yourself just about anything on the internet in this age and generation. 

Not gonna go into detail but there are A whole lot of different animation styles out there. 2D 3D 4D.. (NOT THAT 4D)  Cinema 4D, and many more.

You’re not here to ask about the animation type , Nahh you’re here to find out if you can animate Without drawing skills. Let’s get to that!

First things first, what is a drawing? Is it -> Like this? or, like this? or, like this? HMMMMM??  These are all very different styles by very different, and talented people…. Yeahh.. I’m talented, OK??

It’s important to understand that drawing, LIKE art, is subjective. I like to call it  “Master the art of doing things you don’t like, and you will go very far” but everyone tells me to shut up

So I settle for this: While you don’t need to be a MASTER at drawing, look at it this way. 

This way… here (yoo hoo~)

If you have some basic skills in drawing, you’ll be able to plan out your animations more effectively. What do I mean by this? is the staging, framing, the timing, and everything that makes animation what it is… truly DISGUSTING lol. 

If you’re animating without doing basic sketches,You are asking for trouble my friend- the cons of this is you may run into a lot of errors and issues as you animate, and while it’s do-able- Ah for fricks sake

And while it’s do-able, you might waste a lot of time jumping to and fro to fix issues simply because you don’t have a clear idea of how the animation is going to be.

Knowing how to draw helps you with visualizing storyboards and frame sequences, they don’t have to be highly detailed drawings, just simple sketches and scampes will help with the  efficiency of the animation. Even basic stickmen or stick figures will help you get the idea across. Which is important because that’s why we have eyes, to ‘see’ what’s in front of us.

So technically like I said the answer is YES at a very basic level you need to know how to draw. 

The good news is depending on what type of animation you intend to do, there are plenty of courses both online and through a school that offer drawing courses along with the animation. Hell you can even buy some books or go to libraries (wait does any even go to libraries anymore) and read up on animation. 

One thing I do need to mention is that a lot of animators have also taken to YouTube to hone their skills and learn the basics of drawing and animation. It is why I have also made it a mission, to teach you guys whatever I know… Which is nothing

The second challenge about Drawing and Animation is one that is often overlooked. What am I talking about.. It’s the Anatomy of the Human Body (or animals..) Anatomy on its own is a massive learning subject that even the most seasoned or experienced artists struggle with.

For the longest time I usually draw my hands as round balls like Doraemon to avoid judgment 

I mean, There are thousands and thousands of different elements that make a person into who they are, and capturing that in a drawing is insanely difficult. Same reason it’s impossible for scientists to create a human just from science. It’s complex. There are billions upon billions of factors that go into human anatomy.

So, in animation terms, Do artists need to learn anatomy? 

B-B-B-Bingo It’s a YES

The study of Anatomy is hugely important for all Artists and Animators – especially if you’re interested in the human body. I mean figure. When you understand how the body moves and functions, you are able to design and draw the figure without reference. It helps you to be able to draw the body to feel more natural and alive. Just like… Telepurte… his animations feel so natural and …

Of course, if you are looking to dabble in 3D animation, you’re often presented with models and character rigs that are already pre-defined. 

Witch means, you don’t need to draw BISH

So it’s more of you controlling a puppet, as opposed to 2D animation where you would need to draw it frame by frame.

I know of a couple of brilliant 3D animators that don’t draw well or by their own words “I don’t know how to draw” yet are capable of producing excellent 3D animations.

I speak about this all the time, that if you truly want to shine as an animator, focus on the storytelling part of this. When you get better at storytelling, acting through the character becomes so much easier. 

Also, 3D animators are usually given storyboards

You know, those storyboards which I often talk about, 

which are done up by other animators or artists that have better drawing skills

so you literally just need to focus on the animating. And you’re not really drawing anything just mastering the key framing and don’t get me wrong… it might sound easy but it’s not. You’re still required to practice and practice until no tomorrow to get at a level which you can call comfortable. 

*I just wanted to mention this in case you thought I was misleading you, into telling you you need to be able to draw.

So if you’re looking to dabble

Some of the common software for these, if I may recommend are Blender (It’s free) Maya and Cinema 4D

If you’ve seen my videos you know I dormantly create Storytime Animations, or 2D animations. Now if you’re looking to dabble into 2D animations, you can:

“Click on the subscribe down there so you don’t miss out any of the good stuff”

unfortunately you’ll need to know how to draw to be able to bring out the essence of your story. 

Same goes for the animators that use mobile apps to draw like FlipAClip or Procreate, they need to know how to draw because Mobile Apps don’t really offer a lot of alternatives outside of drawing. 

Don’t despair just yet.. If you’re still looking for 2D animation that doesn’t require drawing skills, know that there are other options like character rigging, where you utilize pre-designed characters by others and animate their movements accordingly. 

This is great if you’re looking to work in animation studios that have a team of specialists. There are storyboard artists, character designers, character generalists, and riggers, and the animators.

If however, you’re looking to animate as a one man show, then it’s a bit more challenging. When there’s no one around to help you, you’ll be stuck with the same old character models unless you’ve learnt to draw and illustrate your own characters. Essentially you’ll need to create your own assets and it’s you and only you.

Popular 2D Animation softwares are:

Adobe Animate and Adobe Character Animator (which I use a lot)

Adobe After Effects

Toon Boom Harmony

Flipaclip (For iOs and Android, mobile only) 

So guys, the bottom line is you don’t absolutely need to know how to draw to be able to animate butttt it certainly is helpful if you take out the time to practice your drawing skills, or set your mindset to start learning how to draw.

As a hobby it’s probably ok to take things easy but if you’re looking to get into the animation industry as a career choice, 


then obviously you’ve got to set your priorities. Be it 3D or 2D animations, from puppeteering to rigging, you’re got an array of options to choose from and ultimately you call the shots. 

However, I do want to advise you to pick up drawing and improve your drawing skills because its gonna help you train


Animation draws from a lot of observation and knowledge in movement, plus a lil bit of common sense, trust me. So drawing does sort of elevate everything once you get better at it. I hope this has helped you understand animation better and of course, motivated you to draw something, anything really. As always, do leave a comment below if you wanna know more about other animation techniques or drawing in general, and I’ll see you in the next one ma bears! I am out, Tata

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