9 Methods for Generating Animation Ideas and Getting Started
Written by  Daisie Team
Published on 8 min read


  1. Observe and sketch
  2. Use Storyboarding
  3. Find inspiration in nature
  4. Turn music into visuals
  5. Animate your dreams
  6. Revisit childhood memories
  7. Explore different animation styles
  8. Tackle social issues
  9. Start with a single character

Drawing a blank when it comes to getting started and generating new ideas for animation? You're not alone. Whether you're a seasoned pro or just dipping your toes into the vast ocean of animation, everyone hits that creative roadblock from time to time. But don't worry, we've got your back. Here are nine methods to kickstart your animation idea engine and get those creative gears turning. So, without further ado, let's dive right in!

Observe and Sketch

One of the most effective ways to start generating new animation ideas is to pick up a pencil and start sketching. And no, you don't need to be a Picasso for this. The key is to observe the world around you and translate those observations into sketches. Let's break it down:

  • Watch the world around you: This could be anything from a bustling city street, a quiet park, or even the way your pet moves. The goal is to see the ordinary from an extraordinary perspective.
  • Sketch what you see: Once you have observed something that interests you, sketch it out. It doesn't have to be a masterpiece — a simple doodle is enough to capture the essence of what you see.
  • Let your sketches inspire you: The act of sketching not only helps you hone your observational skills, but it also serves as a visual brainstorming tool. As you sketch, you might find yourself imagining how the scenes could come alive in an animation, giving you a starting point for your next project.

Remember, the world is brimming with animation ideas, and all it takes is a little observation and creativity to bring them to life. So, the next time you're stuck in a rut, grab a sketchpad, head out, and let the world be your muse.

Use Storyboarding

Storyboarding is a powerful method for shaping your animation ideas. Imagine it like a comic strip, where each box represents a scene in your animation. It's a tool that helps you visualize the story flow and how each scene connects to the next. Let's take a look at how this works:

  • Start with a basic concept: Every great animation starts with a simple idea. It could be as straightforward as a cat chasing a mouse, or as complex as a superhero saving the world. Whatever your concept is, make sure it's something you're excited about.
  • Create your storyboard: Now, it's time to bring that concept to life. Draw each scene on a storyboard, including key actions, dialogues, and transitions. This will give you a clear visual roadmap of your animation and help you understand what works and what doesn't.
  • Refine and revise: As you sketch your scenes, you might find that some things don't quite fit or the story isn't flowing as smoothly as you'd like. That's okay! A storyboard isn't set in stone. Use it as a tool to tweak and refine your ideas until you're satisfied with the result.

Using a storyboard, you can experiment with different story arcs, character interactions, and visual elements, all without investing too much time in the actual animation process yet. So, the next time you're struggling with getting started and generating new ideas for animation, give storyboarding a try. It might just be the creative spark you need!

Find Inspiration in Nature

Nature is full of beauty and wonder; it's a treasure trove of inspiration for animators. Just take a moment to observe the world around you. The way leaves flutter in the breeze, the graceful swoop of a bird in flight, or even the subtle rippling of water — nature is teeming with animation ideas. Here's how you can tap into this endless source of creativity:

  • Watch and observe: Take some time each day to really observe the natural world. Notice the small details and movements that often go unnoticed. These could provide the inspiration you need for your next animation project.
  • Sketch from life: If you see something that sparks your interest, try to sketch it. This not only improves your drawing skills but also helps you understand the mechanics of the movement, which is crucial when creating animations.
  • Bring nature into your story: Consider incorporating elements of nature into your storyline. It could be a character, a setting, or even a theme. This not only enriches your animation but can also resonate with your audience on a deeper level.

So, when you're stumped for ideas, simply step outside and let nature be your muse. You might be surprised at how getting started and generating new ideas for animation becomes a breeze.

Turn Music into Visuals

Have you ever listened to a song and seen a story unfold in your mind's eye? That's the power of music. It can evoke a range of emotions and images, making it a fantastic source of inspiration for animators. Here's how you can translate those melodies and rhythms into compelling animations:

  • Listen to a variety of music: Explore different genres, from classical to rock, jazz to electronic. The wider your musical repertoire, the more diverse your animation ideas will be.
  • Visualize the music: Close your eyes and let the music paint a picture in your mind. What scenes does it conjure? What emotions does it stir? These could form the basis of your animation.
  • Sync animation with music: It's not just about creating visuals that match the music, but also syncing your animation to the beat. This can make your animation more dynamic and engaging.

So, the next time you're stuck on getting started and generating new ideas for animation, hit play on your favorite song and let the music guide your creativity.

Animate your dreams

When you close your eyes at night and drift into the realm of dreams, you're entering a world of limitless possibilities. Dreams can be a goldmine of unique and intriguing ideas, perfect for animation. Here's how to harness the power of your dreams:

  • Keep a dream journal: As soon as you wake up, jot down everything you can remember about your dreams. Over time, you'll have a treasure trove of ideas to draw from.
  • Analyze your dreams: Look for recurring themes, symbols, or characters in your dreams. These could become key elements in your animation.
  • Recreate your dreams: Bring your dreams to life with animation. Remember, in dreams, the laws of physics don't apply—so let your imagination run wild!

Animating your dreams can be a fascinating journey of self-discovery. Not only does it provide an endless source of inspiration, but it also adds a personal touch to your work. So why not give it a try? It could be just the spark you need for getting started and generating new ideas for animation.

Revisit childhood memories

Childhood memories are often filled with wonder and curiosity, elements that can add a magical touch to your animations. Think back to your favorite childhood adventures, games, or fantasies. Here's how you can use these memories to generate new ideas for animation:

  1. Revisit your old stories: Remember the stories you used to make up or the imaginary friends you had? They could make for some engaging and whimsical animation plots.
  2. Think about your favorite toys: Was there a toy you loved? They could be the perfect protagonist for your animation.
  3. Reflect on your childhood emotions: Childhood is full of highs and lows. These emotions can be a great way to connect with your audience on a deeper level.

By revisiting your childhood memories, you're not only generating new ideas for animation, but also connecting with the childlike wonder that made you fall in love with animation in the first place. So, get started on your journey down memory lane. Who knows what brilliant ideas you might uncover?

Explore different animation styles

Animation is a vast field with many different styles and techniques, from traditional hand-drawn animation to cutting-edge 3D animation. By exploring these various styles, you can gain fresh perspectives and generate new ideas for your animations. Let's look at how you can get started with this exploration:

  1. Study traditional animation: This classic form of animation involves hand-drawing each frame. Look into legends like Disney and Looney Tunes for inspiration. You'll find a wealth of ideas in the fluidity and expressiveness of their characters.
  2. Dive into 3D animation: With its realistic visuals and intricate details, 3D animation offers a whole new world of possibilities. Pixar's films are a great starting point for exploring this style.
  3. Experiment with stop-motion: This technique involves photographing objects in different positions and playing them in fast sequence. Films like "The Nightmare Before Christmas" and "Wallace & Gromit" can give you a sense of the unique charm of stop-motion.

By exploring different animation styles, you're not just learning new skills but also expanding your creative vocabulary. This exploration can lead to a fusion of styles, creating a unique aesthetic that sets your animations apart. Remember, the key to generating new ideas for animation is to keep exploring, experimenting, and, most importantly, enjoying the process.

Tackle Social Issues

One of the most powerful ways to generate animation ideas is to draw from real-world issues. Social issues—ranging from environmental concerns to social justice—can bring depth and relevance to your animation projects. So, how do you get started on this path? Let's dive in:

  1. Identify a topic: Think about what matters to you. Is it climate change? Equality? Mental health? Choose a topic that resonates with you. You'll be more passionate about your work and it'll shine through in your animation.
  2. Do your research: Once you've picked a topic, delve deep. Understand its nuances, its impact, and the different viewpoints around it. This research will give your animation authenticity and depth.
  3. Find a narrative: Social issues can be complex and heavy. Your job as an animator is to distill this complexity into a story that's engaging and easy to understand. Use your creativity to build a narrative that is both informative and compelling.

Remember, tackling social issues through animation isn't just about generating new ideas—it's also about creating work that matters. It's about using your skills to spread awareness, spark conversations, and perhaps even inspire change. So, don't just animate, make a statement, and let your animations do the talking.

Start with a Single Character

When you're getting started and generating new ideas for animation, sometimes it helps to focus on one element at a time. And what better place to start than with a single character? Let's see how you can get the ball rolling:

  1. Sketch your character: Start by sketching your character. Don't worry about making it perfect; just focus on bringing your character to life on paper. Is your character a brave knight, a cunning fox, or a lovable robot? The possibilities are endless!
  2. Give your character a backstory: Every character has a story. Where does your character come from? What are their dreams, their fears, their quirks? Giving your character a backstory will make them more relatable and real.
  3. Bring your character to life: Now, it's time to animate! Think about how your character moves, speaks, and interacts with their environment. Remember, every small detail can add depth to your character.

Starting with a single character might seem simple, but it's an effective method for generating new animation ideas. As you get to know your character, you'll find that stories start to unfold and your animation starts to come to life. So, grab your sketchpad, summon your creativity, and watch as your character takes shape!

If you found the "9 Methods for Generating Animation Ideas and Getting Started" blog post helpful and are eager to learn more about animation, don't miss our 'Daisie Original Animation Course' with none another than Alex Jenkins who will you take you through his complete animation process. Dive in and take your animation skills to the next level!