Education Blog

Hand-Drawn Animation Activity

By Darrel Swann, Education Program Manager 03.18.20

Hand-drawn animation was used to create many of the greatest animated films ever starting with the first animated film of all time, Snow White, released in 1937. FlipaClip is an app that allows us to experiment with hand-drawn animation techniques. Click this link to create your own hand drawn animation using FlipaClip!

While hand-drawn animation isn’t on the big screen as much as it once was, it’s still a great style of animation that young artists can experiment and play with to strengthen their drawing skills and start understanding the fundamentals of animation that are still used today in everything from Spider-Man: Into The Spiderverse to Frozen 2 to The Lego Movie.


  • iPad
  • FlipaClip from the App


Open FlipaClip to the home screen and create a new project with the red + button on the bottom right. Name the project and adjust any settings you like. (I’m using a resolution of 720p and shooting at 12 frames per second, FPS for short.) The project is now created on your home screen. Tap on it and let’s begin!

*If this is your first time animating, take the FlipaClip tour to get to know what each area is called and how things function in general. 

  1. Draw a face with no mouth on the only frame you have so far. 

If you press the + symbol here it will create a new blank frame, but to copy your current frame press & hold on the frame highlighted red and a new menu will pop

     2. Follow the red arrow and tap there to add your current frame to the clipboard. Next, follow the blue arrow and tap there to copy your frame. Make 12 copies of your frame.

     3.  Create a new layer by pressing the small icon on the bottom right of the window, (circled in green here) and then pressing the + button. Layers allow you to continue drawing on the same frame without       messing up what’s there if you need to erase. Layer 2 should be highlighted in red before you tap anywhere on the screen to close the window.


     4. Draw a straight line for a mouth on frames 1 and 7. Then put an open circle mouth on frame 4. These 3 frames are called key frames. They are the most important parts and set the tone of the motion to come.  Use the other frames to slowly get from the line mouth to the circle mouth by making slightly larger or smaller mouth shapes. These are called inbetweens because they go in between the key frames to make the animation smoother. 

     5. Finish with line mouths from frame 7-12. This gives you a little time where your mouth is closed before it opens again. NOW PRESS PLAY (on the right of the screen) AND WATCH YOUR ANIMATION!!! You should have a mouth that opens and closes pretty smoothly.

     6. Post it on social media and tag us at #JBFCkids Instagram: jbfc_pville Twitter: jbfc_ny

     7. Celebrate yourself, perhaps with a little snack. 


Click here for a PDF that shows you the standard mouth poses for particular sounds. Play around and try to make your mouth say new and funny things.