Thanks for the advice! I want to 2D animate rather than 3D, but I want to learn both so I'll start doing what I can to get the hang of it all
Cool. The world needs more 2d animators. I would try to be one if I could draw better. I’m not going to pretend that I everything about traditional animation but I do have a couple extra notes. Well, ok… more than just a couple.
If your highschool has any computers with flash installed on them, you might want to spend a lot of you time after school there. I haven’t tried any open source or free animation softwares for 2d animation, so I can’t personally recommend anything if you don’t have access to flash, photoshop, or something really crazy like ToonBoom. I did find this page
that talks about a couple though. Of course, flip books work to if you’re out of options.
If you just starting out, or even if your experienced, I would recommend reading “the Animator’s Survival Kit” by Richard Williams. It’s great book that will cover most what you will need to know to animate. Be sure to practice what it teaches too, because just reading it won’t do all that much good. If you’re not interested in any reading I would at least look up the 12 principles of animation. There aren’t a ton of youtube tutorials for animation. There are a couple, like this series of flash tutorials by Harry Partridge
, but not many.
None of these things will help you become a better artist though. So if that’s a concern you’ll need to do a lot of drawing tutorials. Particularly ones on shape/form, perspective, and anatomy if you want your drawings to look believable, even if they are styleized.
Also, I know it sucks, but try to practice some of the fundamentals too. Mastering the bouncing ball and bouncing ball with tail will really help you down the line with timing, spicing and follow though. The biggest hardship you’ll encounter with 2d animation is patience. Things take a lot of time, especially when your starting out and you have to do all your inbetween keys by yourself. If you can’t accept things going at a slow pace, animation might not be for you.
My last piece of advice would be to take some figure drawing classes. I’m a 3d animation but I try to do figure drawing all the time because it teaches you a lot about how the body moves and what it can and can’t do.
A bit of a side note, not so much to do with practice but with your career in general, but be sure to make lots of connections with other 2d animators. Not only will you get good advice from them but it’s a good way to get recommend for job opportunities. Traditional animation is soft of being stomped out by 3d animation so most 2d animators are actually really open to help people starting out.