The expansive field of animation is probably the most captivating to follow on social media. This is largely due to the fact that there are so many insanely talented artists who are constantly pushing the limits of their art and redefining animation as a whole.
Animation artists can be responsible for a multitude of steps within the production process – from storyboard artists, background painters, and/or character designers. Even if you're not in the animation industry, yourself, there’s plenty of inspiration to glean from the work of masterful visual storytellers.
Learning about different approaches to the animation production process can be applied to any field if you really think about it; the best things start with brainstorming, are cultivated by collaboration, and end with something groundbreaking.
This is why we’ve rounded up some of the top animators to follow on Instagram. Check out their profiles for that post-meeting marathon refresh or just to take a nostalgic trip down memory lane with some of the people behind the most-loved animated features you grew up with (or share with your family to this day).
Who Are the Best Animators to Follow on Instagram?
1. Aaron Blaise
Aaron Blaise is a veteran animation artist for Disney. He’s also a painter, film director, and art instructor when he isn’t cranking out family-favorite hits. You might recognize some of his work: Brother Bear (which earned him an Academy Award nomination for Best Animated Feature), Aladdin, The Lion King, and Beauty and the Beast.
If you’re an animation artist on the hunt for some learning resources, you can check out his website for some art videos, brushes, and more.
2. Tony Bancroft
You might recognize Tony Bancroft as the director of Disney’s animated version of Mulan. He also worked with Aaron Blaise in the animation department on Beauty and the Beast, The Lion King, and Aladdin.
Outside of his work with Disney, Tony is the founder and owner of the Toonacious Family Entertainment animation company. He currently serves as the Executive VP of Creative Development and Production for DivideNine Animation Studios.
3. Mark Kennedy
I feel a little biased including Mark Kennedy in this list seeing as Hercules is one of my all-time favorite Disney animated movies, but even despite that he definitely deserves a follow.
Mark worked on notable animated features including Frozen 2, Tangled, Tarzan, Animaniacs, and The Rescuers Down Under. He was also recently the story artist behind Encanto, which is currently in the running for the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature of 2022!
4. Brittney Lee
As a visual development artist at Walt Disney Studios, Brittney Lee has a style reminiscent of tiki lord Jeff Granito and the retro-funk hero Shag. Brittney recently contributed her unique animation style to Disney’s Encanto as well as The Arendelle Castle Yule Log for Disney+.
If you’ve ever been on the somewhat polarizing It’s a Small World ride (whether for entertainment or a nap), her “Calendar Girls” collection on Etsy will probably take you back to the oddly satisfying smell of highly-chlorinated water and the creaky racket of decades-old animatronic dolls in a perpetual (arguably eerie) state of jubilation.
5. Bill Schwab
Bill Schwab has some serious clout in the animation industry. He’s worked on everything from Wreck-it Ralph to Spongebob Squarepants, with titles like Frozen and Moana in between.
Bill’s ability to capture a wide range of motion in a 2-d medium is downright masterful. His character ideations have helped to birth some of the most notorious heroes (and villains) in pop culture to date. If you’ve ever wondered how the characters of Frozen came to be, you can get a peek behind the scenes by following him on Instagram.
6. Mallory Carlson
Mallory Carlson is the BG paint lead at Warner Bros. Animation. She’s also worked at Netflix on their upcoming Cuphead show and has flexed her creative muscles on various Cartoon Network and Nickelodeon shows. In fact, Mallory won Nickelodeon’s Artist Program in 2015.
In addition to her animations for television shows, Mallory also creates vividly imaginative illustrations for children’s books under Omnibus Publishing. Based on her multitalented career, it’s clear that Mallory’s suspicions of being “born with a pencil in her hand” are highly likely to be true.
7. Cory Toomey
The eccentric style of Cory Toomey helped define the animated worlds and characters of cartoons such as Ed, Edd, and Eddy, CatDog, and The Addams Family 2.
As a Vancouver-based story artist, Cory has also dabbled as a penciler for DC Comics and is currently the Story Supervisor of Stellar Creative Labs, is bringing Seth Rogan’s latest animated series to life.
8. Louie del Carmen
As the storyboard artist for Spider-man: Into the Spider-Verse, Louie del Carmen helped revolutionize a classic franchise and turn it into something entirely new – and even the most diehard Spider-man fans loved it!
On top of Into the Spider-Verse, Louie is known for other popular projects such as Frozen 2, Rugrats, Rocket Power, Kung Fu Panda, and more.
9. Greg Gunn
Greg Gunn prides himself on creating “colorful and character-filled illustrations, animations, and visual stories.” Not only is Greg an apt animation artist, but he also strategically bridges the gap between the creative and the objective.
His website houses helpful tutorial videos and other learning resources for budding animators to kickstart their careers in the right direction.
10. Sarah Beth Morgan
As a director and illustrator, Sarah Beth Morgan works out of her very own tiny studio in Portland, Oregon, assisted by her dog Bandit. Although she has worked closely with motion picture studios for animation projects, she also does commercial work for companies such as Chipotle and Google.
In Sarah’s own words: “As a full-time freelancer and online educator, I enjoy diving headfirst into passion projects, advocating for women in the industry, and listening to bad music.”
Even if you’re not an animation artist yourself, following these extremely talented individuals can either serve as a daily dose of inspiration or just a moment of pure entertainment. But you don’t have to stop at this list – keep digging! There’s a whole world of creators out there, and we’re excited to connect with as many as we can.