Hand Drawn Animation So Simple a 6 Year Old Can Do It! | April Merl | Skillshare

Playback Speed

  • 0.5x
  • 1x (Normal)
  • 1.25x
  • 1.5x
  • 2x

Hand Drawn Animation So Simple a 6 Year Old Can Do It!

teacher avatar April Merl, Film/Video

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.



    • 2.

      Making an animation from a circle


    • 3.

      Recording your frames


    • 4.

      Making an animation using lined paper


    • 5.

      Final thoughts and class project


  • --
  • Beginner level
  • Intermediate level
  • Advanced level
  • All levels

Community Generated

The level is determined by a majority opinion of students who have reviewed this class. The teacher's recommendation is shown until at least 5 student responses are collected.





About This Class

Create a simple animation by drawing on paper and recording with the Stop Motion Studio App. Anyone who wants to try bringing their doodles and drawings to life will appreciate this simple and fun approach for hobbyists and total beginners. This class is also recommended for parents, teachers and other care takers to do with kids to help them tell stories through simple animation.

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

April Merl




Hello! I’m April. I’ve been working in film and television in NYC for over 20 years and am bringing my experience in video-making and story-telling to Skillshare. My classes are for anyone interested in creating fun projects while exploring their creativity - no fancy equipment, just the joy of making.

Ideas you’ll find in my classes: Use what you got. Just get straight to it. Creativity is everywhere. Find the story in the everyday.

I also believe in finding your inner kid - and collaborating and creating with the kids in your life. 

If you want to see more of what I do, you can find me on Instagram @aprilmerl, where I've been posting (almost) daily animations.

See full profile

Level: Beginner

Class Ratings

Expectations Met?
  • 0%
  • Yes
  • 0%
  • Somewhat
  • 0%
  • Not really
  • 0%

Why Join Skillshare?

Take award-winning Skillshare Original Classes

Each class has short lessons, hands-on projects

Your membership supports Skillshare teachers

Learn From Anywhere

Take classes on the go with the Skillshare app. Stream or download to watch on the plane, the subway, or wherever you learn best.


1. Introduction: hi and thanks for joining me to learn how to create hand drawn animation projects using pen and paper, your smartphone or tablet and the APP Stop Motion studio. This classes for anyone who has ever wanted to try animation and loves the idea of putting pen to paper. To achieve that by keeping it very simple, your drawings can come to life. Let's get started. 2. Making an animation from a circle: for our first project, we're going to use a single shaped as a reference point. Print out 10 copies of the file posted below, called Circle PDF. You can use any printer paper you happen to have. This can also be done using four by six or five by seven note cards. One plus abusing the note cards is that it gives less space to work with so less chance of over complicating the drawings. A dark pen can be helpful, but this could be done in pencil is well, and leave yourself a margin around the whole page. We will likely be cutting off some of the page when we record and why. 10 copies well, film and video usually run at 24 to 30 frames per second, so we're used to seeing action broken down in that way. Luckily, our brains can easily put the action together at lower frame rates. And in this class, we're going to embrace the fact that we don't actually need to draw 24 frames for each second of action. You can use fewer pages or more pages as you see fit, but 10 is a good starting point, so back to our circle. What can it do? The possibilities are endless. Action can happen inside it, outside it, through it and to it. Once you've decided there are a few ways you can approach the process one, you can just draw it straight out, each frame building upon the next. Just remember, we do want to start simple. You'll notice here that this person has no close on. You'll also notice that the orb that it is walking and floating away from is not an earth or a moon or a Jupiter or a Saturn, although that is a good idea. But for now, let's do simple. So a good project to start with, particularly for younger animators, is using the circle to grow a pattern or shape, and a good way to go about drawing it is to first draw the last frame and then work your way back. This is where thinner printer paper and a dark pen really helped, because you can really see through the paper. And as you see here, each frame gets a few more of the details until the entire drawing is complete. Once you have your 10 frames ready, time to put these two video. See you in the next lesson 3. Recording your frames: we will be using Stop Motion studio to record your animation. As with anything involving cameras, try to find a place that is well lit with diffused lighting so you aren't fighting harsh streaks of light or changing sunlight. And think about how camera placement can affect your shadows as well. You can also create diffused lighting by using foam core and posterboard to create bounce cards. Or you might have other leading solutions around the house. So, first and foremost, you want to make sure that your phone, which will be doing the recording and the frames, which it will record, don't move during this process for your phone, you can achieve this with tripods and phone holders. You can also achieve this with stacks of books and tapes. I am a firm believer and use what you have. So go for it. No fancy equipment needed beyond that smartphone. OK, now it's time to set up your camera. Start the APP, press the camera icon, which will let you see the area. The APP will be recording. Now we'll start adjusting our camera and our drawings until we get the frame. How we want it. Once we have the frame the way we want it. We need to make sure that the drawings will be in the same place for every frame recorded, there are many ways to keep your drawings in place. First, you can mark a frame. Using you can use a clipboard that is, Take Sam. You can use a picture frame that is taped down, and there are many other items that you can use that would also be taped down as mentioned before, with a bit of a margin around your drawings, we consider recording frame a little in from the edge of the page, and the world will never know about all of that tape. Another thing you want to think about during set up are your camera settings. The menu for the settings is in the corner appear, and this is where you will find the grid lines, as well as the auto or manual settings for weight, balance, focus and a few other camera settings. Depending on your set up, you may want to go manual, so use these is needed for your best frame capture. And now that your camera has set, it's time to start recording the frames one page at a time and go until you are through all of your drawings. If you've kept your camera settings and auto focus sometimes jumps when you're moving the papers, you may want to check your focus by tapping the middle of the screen before each frame and take a few extra frames of the last frame. So you have a nice solid ending cream to land on and stay on for the end of the video. Once you're done recording, let's see what we got in the edit function. On the APP. We can see our recording, which will play an aloof hit the arrow button to start and stop the looped preview. The APP has many functions to adjust Your recording, for instance, I'd like to make the ends look more like a blink, so I'll be copying a frame. Hit the frame. Select copy, find the frame you want the copied frame and front of hit that frame and select paste. Then you can check your work. The next thing you can do is change your frame rate, hit the gear and adjust your speed up or down. Maybe this one could go a bit faster keep adjusting it until it looks the way you want it to, and then hit the upper left arrow to save the video to your phone, which is the sun button export movie se video and share. Because we're recording drawings on paper, we could scan them and use editing software to make our videos, which is an excellent way to do it. The reason I present this process with stop motion app is that I have found that for the younger set, the physical process of getting to film their frames is really satisfying. And after they've chosen their frame rate and exported, they really feel like they've done it themselves, which they have. And personally, I also appreciate the hands on analog tactile nature of this. Not having to sit in front of a computer to make video is super refreshing, and it also stretches the imagination and can inadvertently propose possibilities that maybe hadn't figured in before. And now let's move on to our next project, animating with lined paper 4. Making an animation using lined paper: for our second project, we're going to use lined paper to help give us guidelines for our drawings. This can be loosely no cards or even little note pads. The idea here is to use the lines to move your character or object across the page. One line, one step. I also used the line to help create a pattern for the steps taken here. Angle line, angle line. Your project doesn't have to be a stick figure. It can be any shape or figure. Just move that shape one line for each frame. If you want, make a formed trace to keep that shape consistent in size. If your paper is, then you can trace the shape from a page underneath and move it as you go. I do suggest that whatever you use, keep it simple because you really do have to draw every detail on every frame, which can take a while. Once you have all of your frames, it's the same drill. Set up your phone and get recording. When you're recording your drawings, you can use the apse grid lines to help line your paper Here. I've used some tape to help guide the bottom and I'm making sure this line on the paper matches with this grid line on the APP to keep the pages and about the same place, record your frames and then head to the edit screen. If timing is weird in certain spots, maybe a reaction doesn't last long enough. Maybe text blips in and out too quickly. You can use the pause function to finesse that timing, for instance, so here I want this frame to hang a bit longer so I can actually see it so. But that frame in the selector tap. Choose pause. Select how many frames you want. It paused for and hit the arrow to return to the edit screen. You'll see a number appear in the corner of any frames that you've paused. Continue finessing your work until you feel the timing is the way you want it. And when you're done, pick your frame rate when it looks the way like it export away 5. Final thoughts and class project: I hope that these exercises have gotten your creativity flowing, and I hope that you'll take these ideas as a leaping off point to create more animations and really stretch your ideas. I have included a few extra PdF's in the class materials if you want to take a leak and try those. And I also want to add that although precision is important to the process of animating, fun and story are just as important, your stick figure might change size dramatically. Complicated stories convened finessing, but you'll still end up with a cool animation when you're done, and that brings us to the class project for your class project. Please do any or all of the following. Take a photo of the frames you've drawn. Take a photo of your recording set up post a link to your final video from YouTube, Vimeo, Instagram or any other platform that will link here. And if you are interested in other projects, you can do with Stop Motion studio. Please check out my stop motion class, which also includes more tips and tricks for using the APP. You can also give me a follow so that you can get notices when my new classes air posted. I look forward to see you in your projects and have fun animating Thank you so much for joining me in this class.