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How to Stay Motivated as an Animator

How to Stay Motivated as an Animator

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Animation is no easy feat. Bringing stories and characters to life through thousands of illustrations requires tremendous patience and persistence. The long hours of diligent work can drain anyone’s motivation over time. Yet being an animator also offers immense fulfillment. There’s nothing quite like seeing your creative vision vividly come to life on the screen. The process demands dedication but the rewards make it all worthwhile.

This guide shares insider strategies used by seasoned professionals to fuel consistent creativity and enjoyment in their animation careers. Whether you’re a professional artist or just starting out, these tips will help you stay energized to bring your animated stories to completion. Let’s dive in!

Follow the Steps to Stay Motivated as an Animator

Define Your Purpose and Passion

  • Identify the core reasons and fulfillment you get from animating. Is it bringing stories to life? Mastering an artistic craft? Achieving financial freedom?
  • Channel the deeper meaning and enjoyment animating holds for you into each new project. Your purpose will sustain you through tough milestones.
  • On days motivation lags, read old journal entries about why you started animating. Reconnecting with your inspirations gets passion flowing again.

Create a Structured Plan

  • Break massive animation projects down into digestible steps.
  • Schedule milestones with deadlines for storyboarding, modeling, rigging, texturing, layouts, animating, etc.
  • Use tools like Outlines, Gantt charts, Kanban boards to visualize your path.
  • Checking off completed milestone provides a sense of progress. Sticking to a plan maintains momentum.

Build in Variety

  • Switch up your weekly tasks to incorporate storyboarding, modeling, texturing, animating, and rigging.
  • Shifting between important animation skills keeps things interesting and fosters well-rounded abilities.
  • Varying activities over a week also prevents getting burnt out on any one task.

Take Regular Breaks

  • Get away from your desk frequently, even if just for 5-10 minutes.
  • Take a quick walk, grab a snack, do some stretches or listen to an uplifting song.
  • Short breaks clear your mind, boost energy, and actually increase productivity.

Connect with Community

  • Join animation groups online and locally to discuss ideas, challenges, and successes.
  • Surround yourself with peers who uplift and inspire you. Their passion will rub off on you.
  • Attend conferences and networking events to forge connections.
  • Even informal meetups can ignite your enthusiasm and inject new ideas.

Minimize Distractions

Limit productivity killers like social media, emails, calls etc during animation sessions so you can stay immersed. Disable desktop notifications, silence your phone, close extra tabs. Fewer distractions allow achieving a state of hyperfocus where your motivation is laser targeted on creating. Set boundaries to minimize external pulls on your attention and protect your precious animation time.

Show Your Work

Share work-in-progress screenshots, clips, and stills with peers and mentors. Positive feedback fuels motivation to keep going. Ask for constructive critiques on how to improve. Approachable goals shared by others help sustain momentum. Stay connected through social media and community forums. Spend time each week giving thoughtful notes on others’ projects too.

Imagine the Finished Product

When bogged down in an animation slog, envision the final film fully realized. Picture audience reactions, festival submissions, behind-the-scenes bonuses, and critiques. This end goal vision can provide light at the end of the tunnel to push through current challenges. Imagining the completion can rekindle your enthusiasm.

Take Care of Yourself

Animation is taxing work requiring long hours of mental focus. Avoid burnout by taking care of your physical and mental wellbeing. Get regular exercise, eat a balanced diet, hydrate, and get adequate sleep. Taking a day off to relax and recharge can boost productivity in the long run. Your health impacts your ability to sustain creativity.

Make Use of Positive Peer Pressure

If working solo, team up with animator colleagues and agree to share your progress and offer mutual support. Having peers who check in and expect your updates can provide positive accountability to stay consistent. Share your milestones, ask for critiques, and be a source of motivation for others too.

Reward Yourself

Celebrate hitting milestones by rewarding yourself for progress. Plan an engaging reward you look forward to like a movie night, fancy dinner, mini vacation, or new book. Having a compelling incentive after accomplishing interim goals gives you something to anticipate. Use enticing rewards to keep yourself invested in the journey.

Final Thoughts

Staying driven in animation requires patience, imagination, and self-care. But animators who thrive tap into the rewarding journey, not any single end goal. Building community, varying your tasks, and remembering your purpose will maintain inspiration through projects that may take years to complete.

Animation legends like Frank Thomas exemplified the deep passion and persistence required in this field. Thomas animated iconic scenes through years of honing his craft. Studying masters like Thomas who found joy in the journey can inspire animators like you who are feeling demotivated.

Read More: Frank Thomas, The Artistic Genius Behind Animating Kaa’s Shrug in The Jungle Book

Even during tough milestones, see every drawing and model as progress. Use breaks and new challenges to refuel. With structured plans and passion for the process, your motivation will be unstoppable.


Is it hard being an animator?

Yes, animation is very demanding. It requires technical skills, creativity, and immense patience. Staying motivated through long projects can be challenging.

How do you stay motivated to do art?

Set meaningful goals, connect with encouraging communities, limit social media, take breaks, learn new skills, and remember your purpose.

How do I get motivated to be creative?

Find inspiration in others’ artwork, take classes, try new mediums, reward milestones, brainstorm regularly, and eliminate distractions.

How can I be a better animator?

Practice fundamentals daily, analyze scenes frame-by-frame, act out motions, draw from life, collaborate, and actively apply feedback.

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