The best way to become an Animator

I wrote this to a friend I recently made on Facebook who is not from this country and doesn’t know where to start the process of becoming an Animator in America. It’s useful information that is worth posting here, too. Many thanks to the industry professionals I’ve come in contact with who have taught me what I know so far!

The best way to become an animator is to learn all of the art skills, learn how the industry works, and make acquaintances who are already in the industry. They will inform you of job openings that are not advertised, help you to develop your skills, and teach you about how the industry works. There are different ways to find these people.
1. Go to a college or certification program to learn art skills and meet the teachers who have all worked in the industry. This website helps to recommend a good animation college: and there are many other sites like this. Many industry art jobs are in California, Seattle, and New York so think about picking a college in those areas to have more chances at getting hired right out of school.
2. You can’t get any job as an animator until you have completed an internship. You need an art portfolio better than everyone else to get an internship. The art portfolio is the collection of art (or animation) that you show when you apply to a job. You need to make animations to fill up your portfolio. So start making animations and get yourself known as soon as possible.
3. Visit conventions and festivals to meet industry professionals. If you go to college here you will be closer to these things. Here is an example of what I’m talking about:

Those are all very important things to do in order to even have a CHANCE to be an animator. Even then, it is a very difficult industry to get into. It takes a lot of hard work and you have to be sure that you are willing to make art at least 50-60 hours per week, making only a living wage (25,000 per year). Animators work very hard.

He Man!

I don’t get comments on my blog very often, but I invite you readers to add your advice if you think I’m wrong or I’ve missed an important point. Thanks for reading!



Filed under Musing

3 responses to “The best way to become an Animator

  1. 'Auntie Joy

    Didn’t know anything about animation, Amanda. What you wrote was very informative – thanks. Love reading your blogs. Let’s have lunch again soon, okay?? AJ

  2. Chris Pandoli

    Great blog Amanda 🙂 Lots of valid points there. Animators do work very hard and it’s a shame that the really good animators seem to be at the bottom of the barrel these days. Most animation (cartoon style) is just based off of crude humor and parodies so a lot of the actual art is very copy and paste. I miss the days of Ren and Stimpy and Rocko’s Modern Life when a lot of detail was put into every episode. Not enough people are passionate about their work anymore. They just wanna make that paper. *shakes head*

  3. Thanks Joy and Chris for commenting!
    One thing that makes it seem like good animators stay at the bottom of the barrel is that the animation we see televised on a regular basis is not experimental, but commercial. There are plenty of awesome indie studios out there making just enough to get by on, but most people don’t think about seeking them out. In our culture, the art comes to you through magazine, broadcast, and advertisement. There is only a certain kind of art that comes through those media, and the rest we have to go out into the world and dig for. Conventions cost a lot up front, but they are invaluable in spreading the “wealth” of indie publications in all shapes and sizes.

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