How to find your animation style featured image

How to find your animation style

Want to stand out from other animators? Here's how to develop your animation style...


If you're learning animation, you'll often hear animators discussing their personal animation style. Have a recognisable personal style whilst developing the skills to produce a wide range of animations is your key to success as an animator. As with any learning process, practice makes perfect. Here are our tips for animators who want to develop their animation style. But first, the basics...

What does it mean to have an animation style?


Although it sounds simple, exactly what ‘animation style’ means can be difficult to define. Is it based on whether you animate in 2D or 3D? The colour palettes you’re drawn to most? The subjects you like to animate?
 
The reality is that your animation style is made up of all these things. Simply put, it’s the quality that makes your animation stand out as your own. Animators who have developed a style will produce highly recognisable and distinctive work. Having your own style will make you stand out from other animators when looking for job opportunities.

1. Get inspired


Immersing yourself in animation will help your animation style develop faster. Watch animated films, listen to animation podcasts as you work, and read some books on animation. In addition, seeing how famous animators developed their signature animation styles is an excellent way to improve your practice. Copying the work of successful animators to understand their process will help you improve your own style—just make sure you never try to pass another animator’s work off as your own.

How to find your animation style: get inspired

2. Push your animation style in new directions


As counter-intuitive as it may sound, our animation style will only develop with change and variety. Switching up your workflow, trying out a new way of designing characters or changing your usual colour palette are all good places to start. For example, try gathering inspiration from an animator whose style doesn’t usually interest you. Alternatively, take inspiration from non-animated sources, such as architecture, nature, or your pets.

Practice drawing and animating with new styles and techniques. Not only will this improve your skillset, it will make you try things you never thought you would enjoy. You might surprise yourself!

How to find your animation style: push style in new directions
How to find your animation style: push style in new directions

As counter-intuitive as it may sound, our animation style will only develop with change and variety. Switching up your workflow, trying out a new way of designing characters or changing your usual colour palette are all good places to start. For example, try gathering inspiration from an animator whose style doesn’t usually interest you. Alternatively, take inspiration from non-animated sources, such as architecture, nature, or your pets.

Practice drawing and animating with new styles and techniques. Not only will this improve your skillset, it will make you try things you never thought you would enjoy. You might surprise yourself!

3. Practice your drawing


Your animation style begins before you begin to animate—in your drawing skills. Having good drawing skills as an animator is an essential skill. Begin your day with some observational drawing, and you’ll quickly see improvement. Take any designs you’ve come up with and use them to inspire your animation style. Remember, don’t be afraid of the way you draw. Clean lines are great, but many animators have made a living off the sketchy, ‘messy’ style of their animation. Try different styles of drawing just as you experiment with your animation style, and you’ll see improvement quickly.
 
For more on how to improve your drawing, check out our article here.
How to find your animation style: practice drawing

4. Learn new software


One of the best ways to expand your style is to expand the tools you animate with. When you’re just getting started, pick a few animation programs to focus on them. Trying to learn everything at once can be overwhelming! As your skills improve, consider branching out into other animation programs. Check out our post on animation programs every aspiring animator should know, and while you're at it take a look at our article on 10 of the best animation YouTube channels to help you learn said programs.

How to find your animation style: learn new software
How to find your animation style: learn new software

One of the best ways to expand your style is to expand the tools you animate with. When you’re just getting started, pick a few animation programs to focus on them. Trying to learn everything at once can be overwhelming! As your skills improve, consider branching out into other animation programs. Check out our post on animation programs every aspiring animator should know, and while you're at it take a look at our article on 10 of the best animation YouTube channels to help you learn said programs.

5. Be patient


Finding an animation style can take years. You won’t find your style overnight, so stay motivated. Rather than seeing your own style as an end goal, enjoy the journey of development! Building routine into your animation practice is a great way to ensure that you’re improving every day. If you need motivation, try comparing animations you’ve produced recently to ones you produced a year or more ago. Note down the areas you’ve improved in, then list the ways you’d like to keep improving.
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Summary: How to develop your animation style


Developing a style is a crucial step in an animator’s journey, but the work doesn’t stop there. As you grow and develop as an animator, your style will constantly change, so stay open-minded and flexible in your animation practice. Finding a style you like doesn’t mean your career as an animator is complete. Even the most experienced animators continue to learn, so get practicing and watch your style develop!



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Interested In Starting an Animation Studio?


Take The Animation Career Quiz

Are you best suited to a studio role, freelancing or ready to start a studio of your own?
Take the quiz and plan your next animation career steps.

Animation Career Community

Sign up for free to the Start A Studio Animator community & network with likeminded artists.


Animation Studio Startup Course

Checkout our award-winning online course on planning and launching a creative & viable animation studio.


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