Do I Need To Be Good At Drawing To Be An Animator?

Definitely. You need to have excellent drawing skills if you want to become an animator. Before computers played a role in the art of 3D animation, traditional 2D animators sketched cartoon figures by hand. You could say that being good at drawing is one of the major requirements if you ever want a career as an animator even in today’s world where computers are the main means of creating figures, scenes and backgrounds.

Developing your own drawing technique is essential because it will enable you to make distinct characters and make them move in more realistic ways. How you draw your characters will make your viewers understand the direction that the characters are taking. Your drawing style will also make your animation consistent—an important feature of film animation.

With the advent of computer software programs used as the standard equipment in 2D and 3D animation, you might wonder if you can already do away with manual drawing skills. Actually, it would be erroneous to think that possessing excellent computer abilities alone will make you a great animator. Without a solid background and knowledge of drawing fundamentals, you may not be able to manipulate the software program to give believable scenes, movement and sequence of events. Computer animation software programs also have their own limitations no matter how powerful they are at first. However, your knowledge of manual drawing and how to make the characters move realistically or how to give the correct shades to the scenes and objects will enable you to still get past any limitations.

Even when 3D animators will be relying more on computer software to make their animated characters, your knowledge of such drawing concepts as directional lighting, motion, depth and texture will make your three-dimensional models and animation come alive in a more realistic and engaging manner. Directional lighting will empower you to create effective atmospheric lighting in any scene while understanding the theory behind how characters move on paper will enable you to recreate believable movement in 3D. Even such a basic art principle as texture will allow you to make your 3D background look infinitely richer. Just like computer 2D animation software programs, your in-depth understanding of drawing theory will enable you to still create great work even with the restraints inherent in some 3D software programs.

If you are not yet proficient in drawing but really want to become an animator, you should take every opportunity to hone your drawing skills. Take art classes in school or learn from online tutorials at your own pace if you don’t have the time or resources to enroll in formal art classes at your local community college. After learning the fundamentals, there is only one way for you to become an expert at drawing: Practice. Don’t lose heart if at first your initial drawings seem so far in quality from what you want to accomplish. Continue to practice. Listen to criticism, especially from those who have already proven themselves in this field and strive to get better. With your drive and dedication, you will eventually get better at drawing and achieve your dream of becoming a well-respected animator.

Career Spotlight: Animator



Animators create animations and visual effects for the media industry. They can be found all across the media, including television, movies, video games and more. Most animators are self-employed, wor[...]

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