Best way to learn how to draw animated cartoons

I’m an absolute beginner – except that I made some pretty funny cartoons when I was a kid in military school – and I want to learn how to make killer 2D animated cartoons, starting with basic drawing instruction. I know this is a tall order requiring a lot of dedication, which is why I want to do it the right way.

My situation is that I have a full-time job, so I’ll have to learn in the evenings and on weekends. I’m pretty much sold on one of the Animate products, but I could use some guidance there, too.

Would any kind soul like to give a n00b some guidance? Many thanks in advance.

What kind of guidance are you looking for? Do you want help deciding which product to buy? Or help learning the products?

There are many helpful tutorials both made by Toon Boom and made by dedicated users that can help you to learn the software. You can find tutorials by going to the “How To” section of the website under Animate. Here’s the link:

Let us know how we can further assist you!

Toon Boom Support

“starting with basic drawing instruction” was more along the line of learning to draw cartoons in the first place, rather than using a specific tool. I need to shape whatever latent talent I might have and add to it with really great instruction. I’m guessing that I should do that first before anything else, but if I’m wrong and it would be better to start with an awesome product like Animate Pro 2 then let me know.

So since I work a 9-5 job and have only nights and weekends to dedicate to the craft, I suppose I won’t be able to attend any formal art schools (also, I’m not trying for a degree or anything academic – just the chops, ma’am).

Any ideas for me?

Download a PLE so you have something to play with.

To learn Animate
Kickstart videos first
Then look up Adam Phillips tutorials on youtube
My tutorials are worth a look!

For drawing has some great tutorials by sean creative (first part is free so you can watch and deciede if you want to buy). He does them in Animate but they are very general and could be done even on paper.

Hi and welcome

PRoducts: Well your finances come into play here. ToonBoom is as good as it gets. You are a long way from full animation so I would say go with Animate or Storyboard Pro. Both let you draw and animate at the levels you will be able to do in a reasonable amount of time. And both will work and help in your basic learning process.

In all honesty it will be years before you are up to something like Appleseed or Fantasia level works.

A full blown animated cartoon takes many, many specialty areas to produce it. The ability to draw is not the only thing needed here. I am not trying to scare you away, but you need to be reasonable in your expectations and goals if you want to succeed. So break it down take it one step at a time AND MOST IMPORTANTLY have fun with it.

Hope this helps

You have taken the first important step and that is asking in the forum.
Great folks in here always happy to help with questions and such.
I am in the same boat with a full time job and only evenings to learn the craft. My trouble is my extremely short attention span and as you know animation of quality takes a whole lotta time. That being said, I keep my animations short and simple in detail. My point is, learn as you practice. You may want to start with an easier software like Studio or the PLE of Animate to get your feet wet. There are countless tutorials out there and more are being added everyday on the likes of youtube. As said earlier, have fun and be patient.

There are quite a few good books on animation. They are mostly old school and think about things like cells rather than software, but the ideas that you learn from the book about how things move and the like carry over well to software.

Off the top of my head, I’d recommend:

Richard Williams - The Animator’s Survival Kit. It’s a huge book with breakdowns of all kinds of things like different walk cycles and the like. It’s the first book on animation I bought and I was lucky that it turned out to be extremely helpful. The author, Richard Williams is probably best known as the animation director of Who Framed Roger Rabbit.

Preston Blair - Cartoon Animation. This one has a lot less writing and more examples, but it explains a lot of things clearly and shows how you can construct characters out of simple shapes. The author, Preston Blair worked on Fantasia and Disney and later a lot of cartoons at MGM under Tex Avery.

Once you get an idea of the basics and some software to play with, just try things. Experience will be the best teacher.