Animation : Writing in Animation by Emma Wheeler

Emma Wheeler

Writing in Animation

Writing for animated t.v. shows is my dream, but I can't draw. This may be kind of a silly question, but can I still write an animated show without being able to draw what I'm writing?

Bob Harper

Yes - plenty of primetime animation shows like The Simpsons do not draw. You can check out my blog post on this site here for some tips

Zane Wickman

Yes. And there are artists looking for individuals like yourself to work for. I know someone right-now that is a decent artist that charges $30-$35 per page; I may use him if I get extremely tied-down. I'm an artist, but I'm currently writing the 55 pg script for the animation, no free time creating new concept art, UNLESS my concept gets picked up and they want more.

Robin Pineau

Hi Emma! Yes again : ) You can even DIRECT animated movies without drawing skills! Ok, maybe you'd have to be Isao Takahata (RIP) ;) . But feel confident, most scripts for animation are penned by traditional scriptwriters. As Bob Harper's insightful article describes, there are some rules you'd better stick to.

Try to get your hands on this book, it's a good start to understand the specifics of animation writing:

Writing for Animation, Comics, and Games, Christy Marx, 2006 [Focal Press]

Jessica Rose


I can't draw at all and I completed one animated short that won semi-finals in a film festival, which tells me, I think I can write!

I am currently working on 3 more animated projects. One, I know the animated character personally and am writing-as-I-go type of process and have two episodes under my belt.

The other, I created 12 synopsis's for a producer. He liked them, so now I am starting on the actual scripts by referencing each episode's synopsis.

The third project I started by grabbing a small notebook and created the characters that are in my head, named them, and wrote their personality and a description of each character.

Choose one of these steps or your beat sheet or other method to start. Create the art work in your head as you write and you will work with the storyboard artist after completing your script.

I also hired an art student who worked on a couple of my characters. We, of course, had a contract. The pay was expenses only unless we sell or option the script and receive revenue for the project.

At times, local schools, universities, or technical colleges have art students who will work for free, however, I made sure my student had expense money for supplies and a bit of the profit if we make money on the project.

One mistake I made was downloading a storyboard program thinking that I would try to draw and success or interest at all in it, which tells me that I need to concentrate on the writing and when it is time, I will connect with the artist and together we will complete the successful animation.

Start these steps in some way and don't let the artwork hold you back at this point. I also look forward to reading Bob's information above! Many blessings your way! Jessica

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