Getting Started: A Basic Guide For Aspiring Animators

Getting Started: A Basic Guide For Aspiring Animators

Getting started with animation can be overwhelming. There are many animation programs to choose from. You may be asking yourself:

  • “What  program do I need?”
  • “Do I need a drawing tablet?”
  • “Where do I start?”

Don’t worry, we’ll go over everything you have to know so you can get started today! Let’s get right into it.

STEP 1: Choose your hardware and software?

I get asked all the time: “What did you use to make this??” The table below shows what I use to make my animations. Furthermore, there are many animation programs out there and you should pick the one that suits your needs.



Perhaps you aren’t ready to spend a ton of money on something you don’t know you will like yet.

There’s nothing wrong with that! Borrow a computer, go to the library, use MS Paint, animate on your phone. Do what you have to do to test out whether or not you like this activity before buying something you may not use later.

For me, the price is worth it for the efficiency and perks I am getting.  I love animating and will continuing doing it for a long time. Therefore, the money spent is an investment in my happiness.

shut up and take my money for the animation programs fry futurama


Animation Programs

The software doesn’t make a huge difference. Download free trials of different software and see which ones you like the best.

They all have pros and cons, and picking the right software is heavily based on personal preference.

Also, The most expensive software isn’t always the best choice. Here are some popular animation programs you may like to try:


I only recently started using a drawing tablet this year. Before that, all my animations were created with the free mouse-pad already wired into my laptop. You don’t have to start out with a tablet, but I think they are a good investment in the long run.


Make sure the first tablet you get is high quality and beginner friendly. The very first tablet I got did not have a display screen and the cursor was out of sync. Therefore, It was difficult to animate on. Don’t buy something cheap! It is the equivalent of throwing your money into a fire. If you are completely unsure what tablet to get I recommend the Huion Inspiroy Q11k. It’s beginner friendly and has what you need.

animation is hard for homer



 A fancy tablet and expensive animation program is NOT necessary to make outstanding art. I have seen beautiful animations coming from people who use a mouse and MS Paint. Also, the same is true for bad animations made in more expensive animation programs. For example, when I first started I used Photoshop CS6 and my animations were awful.

Furthermore, having a good animation program will NOT make you a good animator. The only thing that improved my art was time, practice, studying anatomy, and having the utmost patience with myself, NOT the hardware or software I was using.

Don’t stress over this decision too much!

STEP 2: Set Up Your Hardware and Software

Now that you have picked out your hardware and software, make sure you follow all of the instructions when setting everything up. Once it’s ready to go, sit back, relax, and let the creativity flow!


You don’t know what to do next?

No sweat! We will now cover how to set up your programs so you can start making amazing art and animation.

For this example, we will use Animate CC, but you should be able to follow along with whatever program you chose.

  1. Open up your animation program, in this case, Animate CC. For this particular program, a pop-up box will open in front of the program. Tap on ActionScript 3.0 to continue.
  2. Next, set up the correct canvas size. This will vary depending on where the video will be uploaded.
    YouTube: 1280 x 720 OR 1920 x 1080
    Twitter: 1280 x 720
    Facebook: 1280 x 720 OR 1080 x 1080
    Instagram: 1080 x 1080
  3. (Optional) Lastly, create a folder for your project and save all of your work files within this folder to keep everything organized. This is invaluable when you are working on more than one project.

STEP 3: Become Accustomed to the Tools

There are a lot of tools in Animate CC (and other animation programs as well.) Learn what each one does so you will be ready to solve problems in your art as they arise. You can learn more about the different tools in Animate CC here.

Now that you’re all set up, it’s imperative that you test out all the tools and start developing your art. I will cover drawing and animation techniques in upcoming blogs. Until then, happy animating! If your in search of quality equipment, check out my Amazon shop page. Also, If you have any questions for me about getting started, comment below! Check out my other tutorials here



  1. Omg, thank you SOOOOOO much for ALL the info about animation and programs!!!! I have been looking for a laptop and/or tablet, and you really helped me out! Thank you so much!!

  2. Excuse me, I don’t have much money and I want to start animating. Is it fine if I used a Wacom Graphire 2001 or a Huion 8×6? You said don’t buy cheap stuff, but the Graphite is $21.00 USA and $11.50 shipping while the Huion is $29.99 and free shipping.

    • Hey Natalie! I wouldn’t recommend the Huion because it will be really small and not easy for beginners to use. I would use the mouse pad built into your laptop until you can get a tablet that is a little bit more easy to draw on. This isn’t completely impossible to do! I actually animated the entire Wolf Song movie using only a mouse pad. It is excellent for beginners. Also, if you have an iPad there are awesome new apps that can make it a perfect drawing tablet.

  3. Angelie Berthod says:

    I love you 😍 😘 and your animations

  4. Angelie Berthod says:

    I love you 😍 😘 and your animation

  5. This really helped tho I’m still a middle school kid and cannot get anything I would like it if you could recommend something for meh!

  6. Thank you for this info! I decided to use Pencil2D to try and animate. Thank you for inspiring me to do animations, you are my idol. <3

  7. wildwolflover21 says:

    i really love your animations the animation wolf song inspired me to make a book call Legend:a wolf tale keep up the good work

  8. i love your videos wolf song is the one video that inspired me to write Legend:a wolf tale

  9. Hi, I have searched for ages on where and what type of drawing pad best suites me, and if its the right price. It is unfortunate that the items you have listed do not ship to the Uk but I was wondering if the Wacom bamboo Graphics tablet would suit a very early beginner like me, also, how do you think I should do on working on my art and creativity skills?
    Apart from all of that, I loves all of your creations and hope to be like you in tje future. Thanks alot 😋

  10. Hi, I really do love your animations. I have decided to write a book called dreamwolf: kynle and the shadow wolves. Later I will make it into a animated film with your great tutorial 🐺

  11. Hi Kathryn I was wondering if you can do a video about animation

  12. Hi Kathryn I was wondering if you can do a video about animation I would love to learn if you can do a video that would be amazing

  13. Littlfluffydino13 says:

    Hi ThunderKathryn. I am a really big fan of you and your animations. Your animation “Wolf song: The movie” is actually the reason why I started (or should I say, “trying”) to animate. Is it okay that I use “Animation maker” on my phone? Also, I got the drawing down, but I don’t really understand how to make the pictures move like the wolves in your animations. I’m not trying to bug you or anything, I understand that you are busy. Please respond to this when you can.

  14. I was watching a couple of your animation videos and I watched your movie it was awesome I want to be able to do stuff like that so will this help with it let me know

  15. Kaithlyn sae says:

    I like the vidios that you make Tunder Kathryn and i like stew cause he is so cute

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