1. Gather all the materials you need.
All you really need to get started is a pad of paper and a pen/pencil.
If you’re using a sketchpad, look for:
A size of around 7.5cm x 12cm. Smaller pages are easier to flip, as they encounter less wind resistance.
Thin, good quality paper. You’ll need to be able to see through your paper and trace your next image. But don’t go too thin. Tracing paper, for example, will crumple.
A solid backing. This will provide a firm base to lean on when you draw. It will also give your pad a crisp flipping action.
Of course, you can also invest in a blank flipbook from art supply shops. These are rectangular pads, purpose built for flipbook animation.
You can also bind paper with staples, clips or glue.
Top tip: use an LED light pad as a backdrop for your flipbook. It will help you trace your images.
2. Get your story straight.
Before you start, it’s important to know what you’re creating. Think about the characters, story and style of your flipbook. This will help create a more engaging, consistent animation.
Top tip: You could consider sketching animation key poses. These are the basic spatial positions your character or object will follow. Use these as a reference point to map the movements between them.
3. Create your first drawing.
Next, it’s time to start sketching. Draw your first image on the very last page of your flipbook. As flipbooks are best flipped from back to front, this will be your starting point.
It’s best to keep towards the right-hand side of the sheet. If you go too close to the spine/gutter of the page, you won’t see your images clearly.
4. Layer your next drawing.
Now you’ve drawn your first image, it’s time to start building a sense of fluidity.
To do this, lay your second-to-last sheet on top of your first illustration (remember — you’re working back to front here).
You should be able to see your earlier illustration through the page. Use this as a reference point for your next image. This frame should deviate very slightly from the first image, following the motion of your animation.
5. Continue your sequence.
Next, continue layering your images. Make gradual progress from one frame to the next until you get a smooth, fluid movement.
Keep drawing and adding images until you finish the sequence. The more pages you include, the smoother your animation.
Did you know? Hand-drawn animation is a painstaking process. More than 600 animators and artists worked on Disney’s 1994 classic The Lion King.