How to be a good animator?

I’ve been getting a few e-mails lately asking the question “How do I become a good animator?” Well to tell you the truth I don’t know. There really is no trick, or tip that I can give you that would make you a good animator. I think being a good animator lies within each individual if they are going to be good, great, or not so great. The only real advice is that it’s tons of hard work, and constant work. I’ve been living and breathing animation since I was five. Everyday all day I live animation. I spend ten or more hours at work animating, I go home and work on my own animation projects, I teach animation, I think about animation all the time. Eating dinner I might find myself more interested in the way the tip of my wife’s nose moves when she talks rather than what she is talking about, or observing the mannerisms of the waiter when they are telling me about the specials. Watching T.V. I’m constantly breaking down actions, and acting. Everyday I live animation. I’m always working at trying to become a better animator, and it’s hard. I think to become a good animator; animation has to be your passion. You really have to be into it, and willing to devote a large portion of your life to learning animation. I’m still trying to figure out how to animate well. What I struggle with is even after all this work and time trying to be a good animator is realizing that I may never be a great animator. In the end being good is a product of how much work you can put into it and how easy it is for you to make the connections between real world observations and the application of animation.
Besides hard work and dedication, finding a good mentor that you can learn from is key.

-Dr. Stephen G.