2 answers

How many years would it take if I were to study animation and making cartoons?

2 answers

Gates’s Answer

Updated Portland, Oregon

A four year bachelor's degree would be a great way to get a job in the industry. It never hurts to start practicing early though! You can start animating before college and play with some apps on your phone. If you are interested in making cartoons, read "Understanding Comics" by Scott McCloud. Study your favorite cartoons. Animation and cartooning are sequential art forms, meaning they rely on time- one thing happening after another. Learning how to tell a story with your art will help you become a better animator and cartoonist.


You can also get your master's degree in animation from schools like California Institute of the Arts or the Royal College of Art. This will take six years of education.


There is also the other type of cartoonist like Stephan Pastis - I recommend reading his wikipedia article- who followed another line of work, which he was very unhappy with, before becoming a professional cartoonist. He spent 9 years doing his other job before he was able to break in to the professional circle, but it is a great example of an alternative way to becoming an established artist.


Good luck!

Michael’s Answer

Updated Whitney, Texas

It is hard to say really. It takes a lot of practice and varies from what you wish to accomplish. Do you want to be a 2D animator or 3D animator? There are a few steps you could take to get you started.

Michael recommends the following next steps:

  • Study a lot of anatomy. You need to know how your characters move. Bones, muscles, basic structure. Gaining knowledge on real anatomy can help you design and animate fictional characters with unrealistic anatomy.
  • Find a program you want to start with. Maya is the industry standard for 3D animation. As for 2D I'm not too sure. Every job offer I had they use different products and programs. You will just have to find which one is most required in your area or find one you can afford. I recommend getting the full Adobe creative suite so you can get the basics. Adobe Animate is an animation software, but having other programs like After Effects and Photoshop helps.
  • Get lots of references, more than you need. Its important to learn how a character moves even if its fictional.
  • I am still learning about animation. I was in college for 4 years and only 2 was getting my feet wet in animation. Animation takes a long time and a lot of practice. But if you stay focused you should pick it up easily.
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