If drawing’s not your thing, then what?


drawings not my thing

By Ruben Martins

Film student

As a child, I’ve adored Saturday morning cartoons and animated feature films. I was all over the scene. As I became older, my career aspirations changed and I studied for qualifications that would get me jobs elsewhere. Then, when it was time to decide what my career plan would be, I didn’t want to move onto any other career without first attempting to work alongside animators and make fantastic stories that would inspire children and adults everywhere. So I went to university to study Film.

Now, some of you are asking, why film, instead of animation? Because, with all the wavering in life goals, there was one problem, one major setback. My lack of drawing. I didn’t practice, so I didn’t get good. Now what?

It makes sense, you want to work in animation, you need to learn to draw. But, Bill Gates was not a programmer, and yet Windows machines were created. Why? Because he knew programmers. So here are a few different major roles.


If you have an imaginative mind, and want to transform it into a story, write a script. There are plenty of websites whose purpose are to collaborate, share your ideas, get them reviewed by other scriptwriters. If you have cash to spare, find an agent who will help you send your script to production companies.


To direct, you need to have a vision of the finished product. How you want it to look like. This is perfect for those who can lead a team towards the same vision. You call the shots. If you’re not in a position to start professionally however, begin by making films with friends. Live action or animated. Stop-motion is a great and simple way to start.


An Editor is the one who places the shots in sequence. They and their team will be involved from the very beginning. Once the storyboard is finished, the editor will create an animatic. This will give the Director the first look into the completed story from a visual perspective, and will give the team how long each shot must be.

Voice Acting

I have a feeling you didn’t consider this. But voice acting is a role, which within the last couple of years, young people have been able to be involved in, a lot of them via parodies. Being involved in voicing flash animations, parodies of popular TV shows, or being versatile in a range of voices, could get you involved. There are professional websites like Voicespro and other forums can get you fairly established with a lot of practice.

Stop Motion

Now I know stop motion isn’t a role, but it is a type of animation which doesn’t involve drawing, but moulding. It’s a fairly simple process which, with a little bit of time and effort, you could begin to pick up fairly easily. Take a look at some early shows like Morph, try and mimic them, at the same time adapting your own style and theme. Grab your camera, and position it still, taking pictures, and moving your puppet ever so slightly. Then, with the help of a program like Dragonframe, or an editing software, align them frame-by-frame.

These options are just a few, and there are other roles which I haven’t mentioned, which I’d invite you to do your own research.

Where do I start?

Start by identifying what it is you want to do. Do you have a burning passion to make a story come alive? Write one. Do you feel you could portray a character through your voice? Ask your friends to draw you a character to practice being that character. Buy some plasticine, make some models, and grab your camera to create some stop-motions that will help you understand it’s craft (How to make a puppet armature with less than $20).

I’ve been doing pre-school 30 seconds episode clips titled Will the Worm, and although the production quality is very minimal (cardboard as a background), I’m trying to get a grasp of how the process works. Once the principles of moulding, animating, and putting it together seem familiar, I can begin to undertake larger projects, which is what my wife and I plan to do with the next episode.

It takes time. I have been very vague and general on purpose. There’s a lot more of time, financial investment and reading. It takes dedication, long hours of practice, practice, practice. But we’ll get there.

I’m on the same boat as you. But this is my aspiration, and I hope it becomes yours too.

Leave your comments and questions below 🙂