How do I Become a Cartoon Animator?

G. Wiesen

To become a cartoon animator, you should consider receiving some education in art and animation, refine your own artistic abilities, learn the computer software being used in the industry today, and then contact animation houses and show off what you can do. This may seem like a somewhat daunting task at first, but these are not isolated steps to be taken individually; these can mostly be performed simultaneously. You might consider grounding yourself firmly in the history of animation. You should also watch a wide variety of animated features and television programs to see what has been done and what is being done today.

Watching cartoons may help aspiring cartoon animators.
Watching cartoons may help aspiring cartoon animators.

Among the most important things you can do to become a cartoon animator is to refine your own artistic abilities. Fortunately, this does not necessarily require an expensive art school or precise lessons in form and style from an experienced instructor. To refine your abilities you merely need to practice. This may seem simple, but practice can be one of the hardest parts of becoming a better artist. Many art instructors agree that what sets most great artists apart is not an innate ability but the motivation to practice for hours and hours.

Studying art in college may be helpful to securing a job as an animator.
Studying art in college may be helpful to securing a job as an animator.

Attending an art school can certainly help push you to practice, as you will have numerous classes and hundreds of assignments that will require that you create a great deal of artwork. To become a cartoon animator, you will want to find what type of animation you enjoy and love the most. While both traditional two-dimensional (2-D) and modern three-dimensional (3-D) animation are both now done in computers, there is still a fairly large difference in how those processes are approached. 2-D animation may be created with digital tools and software, but it is still a process of creating hundreds or thousands of individual frames that are rendered out and played in sequence to create a moving image.

Cartoon animators may work on big budget, family-friendly films.
Cartoon animators may work on big budget, family-friendly films.

3-D animation is an entirely different process, and both fields require similar yet distinct skill sets. Attending a school with a strong computer animation program can certainly help you become a cartoon animator, as you will get access to expensive computer software programs used in the industry and that you will be expected to know. You should also begin to make connections and contacts within the animation industry. Go to conventions and begin meeting professional animators while you are still learning how to become a cartoon animator.

While what you know about animation is certainly important, who you know can also be a great benefit to you. Watch cartoons on television and animated features in theaters, and start to learn the names of the people who are making animation today. These are the people you will likely be working with, and knowing who they are, what they have done, and being able to get in contact with them can all help you to become a cartoon animator.

Cartoon animators may work on television programs for children.
Cartoon animators may work on television programs for children.

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