YouTube animators have dominated the animation industry for a long time and YouTube provides the perfect platform for animators to share their work with the animation community and teach fellow animators valuable skills.
YouTube has long since been a popular platform where people can get creative and share their ideas and talents with the world. But, for a long time, the most popular content on YouTube was gaming and vlogging videos.
Many animators have taken advantage of this and seized the opportunity to become YouTube animators. By doing this, YouTube animators can share their work and learn from other animators on YouTube.
GIF via Giphy
For a guide on how to become a successful animator on YouTube, check out our blog which outlines 14 things you need to do to become a YouTube animator. The blog covers everything from how to pick a theme for your channel, to how to come up with a channel name, and gives you ideas on how to upload unique content.
You can also read this blog on how to effectively use YouTube ads as an animator. The blog explains every kind of ad you can place on YouTube and then provides a step-by-step guide on how YouTube animators can run effective ads.
In this blog, we list 10 of the best YouTube animators and what you can learn from their unique approaches to animation.
The Top 10 YouTube Animators
Image by TheOdd1sOut via YouTube
Robert James Rallison is one of the most popular American YouTube animators who created and runs the channel TheOdds1Out. Robert started uploading webcomics in 2012 and moved on to become an animator on YouTube in 2014 when he started posting animated videos to the platform.
The subjects of Robert's videos are usually about his life experiences and some of his most popular animated videos revolve around his relatable experiences in school and college. His personal stories contain a certain innocence and charm, complemented with humor and cheerful roly-poly characters.
TheOdd1sOut has a unique animation style and iconic characters that have become a staple in the animation community on YouTube. These characters are extremely stylized and expressive and they almost look like snowmen.
Interestingly, Robert doesn’t use animation software at all but works with Adobe Premiere instead. Robert’s animated videos range from being a few minutes long to sometimes even being 20 minutes in length.
TheOdd1sOut’s success on YouTube has allowed Robert to expand into other creative areas allowing him to publish two books titled The Odd1sOut: How to Be Cool and Other Things I Definitely Learned from Growing Up and The Odd1sOut: The First Sequel. These books are available on TheOdd1sOut official website along with merch.
Learn From YouTube animators: TheOdd1sOut
As an animator on YouTube, TheOdd1sOut has developed iconic characters and they have stuck to this style for years. If you plan on being an animator on YouTube, you can develop and use iconic characters that have the potential of drawing in viewers.
These regular viewers will be more likely to tune in when you post new videos because they will be familiar with your characters and style.
Many YouTube animators don’t even use animation software, and TheOdd1sOut is no different. You also don’t necessarily need to use animation software to create unique and eye-catching animations, especially if you’re not familiar with the software.
If you’re thinking about becoming an animator on YouTube, check out this video on how to design an animated series character for tips on how to add unique identifying characteristics to your animated characters.
Image by Pencimation via YouTube
Ross Bollinger is an animator on YouTube that created his channel in 2007.
Pencilmation consists of pencil-drawn stick figures and doodles and mainly focuses on a character named Hank. With a lighthearted undertone, this channel transforms 2D images into simple, yet engaging characters for adults.
The stories often focus on the struggle between creator and creation, giving Pencilmation a unique angle that draws in thousands of viewers each day. The animated style of Pencilmation is also very simple and stylized, but the characters possess a lot of movement, making it very engaging for audiences.
Learn From YouTube animators: Pencilmation
The Pencilmation YouTube channel doesn’t just consist of one animator on YouTube. According to their YouTube channel, the cartoons on the Pencilmation channel are animated and orchestrated by a team of artists around the world.
This makes the YouTube channel a great example of how collaboration between artists can bring huge success to an animation franchise or brand.
For a list of lessons, you can learn from YouTube animators, check out our blog which covers lessons from learning how to engage with your subscribers to the importance of collaboration with other animators.
3. Simon’s Cat
Image by Simon’s Cat via YouTube
Simon’s Cat is an animated series on YouTube that follows the misadventures of a chubby white cat and his owner, Simon. The cat is mischievous, hilarious, and adorable and viewers get to follow along with his daily antics.
The channel is run by an English animator on YouTube, British wildlife enthusiast, painter, and cat-lover, Simon Tofield. Simon was inspired by cartoons and started creating art at a young age, mainly creating basic flipbooks.
The channel posts everyday stories about what cats get up to when their owners aren’t around, and every pet owner can relate to these short and silly animations. As an animator on YouTube, Simon depicts living with a cat in a series of hilarious and extremely well-crafted 2D animations.
Additionally, the channel also features guides on cats and their unique logic and perspective on the world, as well as entertaining cat shorts. His animation is very accurate, animating frame by frame as costumes in traditional animation.
Learn From YouTube animators: Simon's Cat
This animator on YouTube creates animated videos that are not narrated. The animations, therefore, rely on visual and sound effects to give the viewers the sight of animated gags and physical comedy.
Simon’s Cat is a fantastic example of successfully blending animation with no dialogue to create cute, comedic, and relatable animations.
Here’s a short but effective video explaining the most essential sound effects for adding to your animations to create animations that rely only on sounds and no narration.
Image by Egoraptor via YouTube
Arin Joseph Hanson is an animator on YouTube who runs the channel Egoraptor. He is an American animator on YouTube, comedian, and voice actor and he first became famous on Newgrounds, a flash animation site.
Arin animates and uploads several animated series such as Girlchan in Paradise, Awesome Series, Lemon n’ Bill, and Sequelitis. He is also the co-host of Game Grumps along with Dan Avidan. Arin is also the founder of Real Good Touring which tours YouTube, streaming, and content creator acts around the world.
Game Grumps is a comedy gaming show that includes games like Table Flip and Steam Train. In the show, Arin and David play video games while adding a comedic element in the form of commentary.
Egoraptor features a variety of different animated content such as parodies, musical animations, and comedy. The channel’s music videos are some of the most popular, and Arin creates musical animations paired with hilarious lyrics. As an animator on YouTube, Egoraptor’s animated videos can be described as nonsense animation that has a grotesque style.
Learn From YouTube animators: Egoraptor
Egoraptor animations are of outstanding quality. Because of this quality, Egoraptor doesn’t post a huge amount of videos, but the ones he does post are very entertaining to watch and the time it takes to create each video shows.
Egoraptor shows us that it’s better to create less and have every single animation be good quality than it is to create more and have those animations be of average quality. Always remember quality over quantity.
For tips on how to improve the look of your animations, check out this video explaining how you can improve the quality of your animations in 5 minutes! One of the main tips in the video is how to use lighting effects to drastically improve the look of your animated characters.
Image by CypherDen via YouTube
CypherDen is a YouTube channel owned by Dennise Andrea Cassura, a Filipino-born American animator on YouTube, artist, and vlogger.
This channel features different styles and content in almost every video, including storytime videos, sketches, tutorials, and gaming animations. In addition, Denisse also creates semi-autobiographical animations with stories that range from fun to serious, real, and relatable.
Aside from being an animator on YouTube, Denisse also creates webcomics and uploads them to Webtoons.
The interesting true stories and iconic animations on the CypherDen YouTube channel make it one of the best on the platform. In this channel, you’ll find short and engaging animations about being an artist, an animator, and an adult in general.
Learn From YouTube animators: CypherDen
It’s good to experiment with different animation styles throughout your career to avoid the risk of becoming bored with your work. Like CypherDen, try to create animations in different styles and with different story angles to grow your skills as an animator.
Image by CrashCourse via YouTube
CrashCourse is an educational YouTube channel with a worldwide audience of over 10 million. The channel is run by brothers John and Hank Green and covers a wide range of subjects including organic chemistry, literature, world history, biology, philosophy, theater, ecology, and many more!
CrashCourse transforms the traditional textbook model by presenting information in a fast-paced format with short animated videos. This animation channel uses humor to blend entertainment with educational content to make the content accessible and entertaining to as many people as possible.
While not animators themselves, John and Hank employ other animators to create uniquely educational videos on the CrashCourse YouTube channel.
Learn From YouTube animators: Crash Course
Animation can be used for more than just the purpose of entertainment — it has the potential to visually explain ideas and facts.
If you’re not sure what to animate, try looking for an educational topic and creating an animation based on that. This will help you develop your animation style to be able to carry over ideas more clearly to your audience.
7. Jaiden Animations
Image by Jaiden Animations via YouTube
Jaiden Animations is an American animator on YouTube and a comedian. Her YouTube channel features short animated videos about relatable experiences she has had throughout her life.
These include stories about her traveling experiences, childhood, school, video games she enjoys playing, and random things that happen to her and her pet parrot, Ari. All of these videos are animated and feature an animated version of Jaiden herself narrating the stories.
YouTube has become a platform where vlogging and gaming-driven “Let’s Play” channels dominate the recommended page. Amidst this, Jaiden Animations contributes original story animation content that builds strong engagement with its subscribers.
Aside from the more lighthearted videos on her channel, Jaiden also creates more serious animations that deal with mental health and self-improvement.
The videos created by Jaiden Animations are incredibly relatable and casual and frequently feature collaborations with a fellow animator on YouTube, TheOdd1sOut.
Learn From YouTube animators: Jaiden Animations
It’s easy to want to create a perfect animation and present yourself in a certain way to attract potential animation clients, but sometimes being more authentic is what grants you success.
When your work reflects your most authentic self, you’ll find that more people might be drawn to it and want to hire you. Like Jaiden Animations, give your animations some personality by injecting yourself into your work.
Image by AsapSCIENCE via YouTube
They do this by combining easy-to-understand educational topics with visually appealing animations. Like CrashCourse, AsapSCIENCE also created animated educational videos.
Their videos cover topics such as unique questions, rumors, and unexplained phenomena, all within a scientific lens. Most topics deal with things that people encounter daily, such as how to fall asleep in 2 minutes, how to cram for exams, or how to reduce stress.
The format of the animated videos combines a talking head style with whiteboard animation and often includes science-themed jokes and puns to keep viewers entertained.
Learn From YouTube animators: AsapSCIENCE
Always try to keep your animations simple and easy to follow. By combining complicated topics and ideas with visually rich animations, you can appeal to and engage with a wide audience.
Check out this video explaining 3 easy ways you can improve your animation including spacing adjustments, arc adjustments, and maintaining proportions.
9. ESMA Movies
Image by ESMA Movies via YouTube
ESMA is a school of applied arts with four campuses based in France and Montreal, that focuses on CGI, 3D animation, and visual effects training. Its YouTube channel, ESMA Movies, showcases its students’ works, which are mostly short CGI and FX films.
According to the about section on their channel, the short videos on the ESMA Movies YouTube channel are the result of students’ studies. “Each year, their creations are selected and rewarded in the greatest national and international festivals of the genre.”
The channel features a bevy of short animated videos with motivational stories. Most of the animations are created without dialogue or voiceovers, and they, therefore, rely heavily on background music to portray the intended atmosphere in the animations.
Learn From YouTube animators: ESMA
Never underestimate the importance of music and sound effects in your animations. Creating animated characters and worlds is just half of the battle when trying to create an effective animation that tells a story. Background music and sound effects contribute a lot to animation and it’s important to make use of this when animating.
Check out this video explaining how to choose the right music for your videos. The video explains a simple four-step process on how to choose the perfect background music for your animations. These steps include mapping out your story arc, considering the pacing of your animation, deciding on the number of tracks, and finding the best place to download tracks.
10. Andrei Terbea
Image by Andrei Terbea via YouTube
This YouTube channel was created by and is named after Andrei Terbea. As an animator on YouTube, Andrei uses spot-on 2D animation to create small mini-series or commentaries about recent news events.
Although his content mostly covers commentary on various YouTube and YouTuber-related topics, he also covers major world news stories.
As an animator on YouTube, Andrei provides a space where viewers can tune in and learn about what is going on on YouTube or in the world with easy-to-follow animated videos. Andrei creates simple 2D animations that visually tell the story of whatever a video is about.
Learn From YouTube animators: Andrei Terbea
Although there are many news channels on YouTube, Andrei, being an animator on YouTube, saw a gap in the content and started creating news videos with a unique angle. There is always a gap to be filled in any field, and it's important to try and identify that gap so you can take advantage of the opportunity to grow your career.
The Top YouTube Animators and What You Can Learn From Them
The top 10 YouTube animators we recommend you watch include TheOdd1sOut, Pencilmation, Simon’s Cat, Egoraptor, CypherDen, Crash Course, Jaiden Animation, AsapSCIENEC, ESMA Movies, and Andre Terbea.
For more great YouTube animators to follow, check out our blog which lists 16 YouTube animators you should follow! In addition to those we’ve mentioned here, this blog also mentions that you check out How It Should Have Ended (HISHE), Domics, Element Animation, Let Me Explain Studios, Jello Apocalypse, Jess the Dragon, Rubber Ninja, Birdbox Studio, and more.
The channels we mentioned in this blog cover a wide range of topics from humor, parody, news, education, science, and gaming. You can learn a lot from these YouTube animators and how they use the platform to their advantage by identifying gaps in the content and filling those gaps with their unique animated videos.
GIF via GIPHY
You should also always remember to create unique and iconic characters that are easily identifiable to your audience. You also don’t have to use animation software to create animations. Like TheOdd1sOut demonstrates, there is a variety of other software available to create animations that are not necessarily designed for that purpose.
These YouTube animators also demonstrate that collaboration between artists is extremely important for the success of animation projects and animation studios. They also show us that sometimes it’s not even necessary to add any dialogue to your animations to narrate the story, simply add some sound effects and let the visuals portray the story.
Always keep in mind quality over quantity when creating animations. Try to experiment with different animation styles to learn new techniques and develop your skills as an animator. In addition, these YouTube animators show us that animations can be used for education as well as entertainment.
Inject a bit of your personality into your animations to make them seem more authentic and relatable. Also, try to keep your animations simple and easy to follow, and never underestimate the contribution of background music and sound effects in creating an atmosphere in your animations.
If you’re looking to grow your animation skills, check out our FREE TRAINING on How to Make Over $10,000 per Month as a Freelance Animator or Studio Owner and read our blog on “How to Start an Animation Studio”!