Gifts for Animators

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Want to bring joy to an animator?

Here are some gift ideas for your favorite creative people!

This is basically a shopping list of things that we either own ourselves and can highly recommend – or something that we really, really want ourselves. Seriously, I will print it out and give this list to anyone who asks what I want for Christmas.

And since we are all highly busy with Christmas deadlines, some of these a purely digital, so they make ideal last minute gifts for animator friends.

Price range goes from $10 – $40

Premium rigs – waiting to be animated

Sure, there are some amazing free 3D rigs out there, but it can get quite boring to always animate Morpheus or Eleven.

These premium rigs add some welcome variety to any character collection. They are thoughtfully built and packed with features and controllers.

Animating on Pixar level for a demoreel or the 11secondclub is a blast with these characters:

Josh Sobel’s rigs (Maya)

The rigs created by Josh Sobel are not only charming, but also studio-quality. No wonder, because Josh has worked for ReelFX, Disney and BlueSky. I have used the Kayla rig for years and the performances you can get out of it are fantastic.

Anna & Kevin for blender

It can be quite tricky to find high quality rigs for blender. These two characters, Anna and Kevin, come with all the components you need for feature film quality animation. A picker with different selection sets speeds up your workflow.

Digital tools

Some handy digital tools to make the life of a digital artist easier.

With Epic Pen PRO you can draw on your computer screen. This way you can draw arcs, marks and annotations over any application – really handy for animation software that doesn’t allow you to draw.

With Lazy Nezumi Pro you can draw smooth lines in any application – even ones that don’t support line smoothing. The behavior of the line smoothing is highly customizable and it also features a bunch of perspective grids for very convincing background art.

Real-life tools

While most animation work is done digitally nowadays, it can be really refreshing to do something analogue every now and then.

Palomino Blackwing Pencil

This is the pencil brand Chuck Jones and Don Bluth used. A very soft pencil that allows you to draw and write extremely quickly and with high contrast. The flat eraser keeps it from rolling down a drawing board.

While any other Faber Castell pencil is cheaper and of the same quality, it’s still an amazing feeling to draw with the pencil that the master’s used.

It can be quite an amazing experience to have a little tangible model of your own characters in front of you. Super Sculpey is a go-to brand for many modelers to create small and big character models. After a little bit of a learning curve, sculpting can be very relaxing and rewarding.

Tip: Get a set of sculpting tools as well. They will make detailed work and removing fingerprints so much easier.

Books that inspire

Here are some recommendations for books. Some of them are known classics, but all of them useful and inspiring:

The Animator's Survival Kit

Richard William’s Masterpiece tackles all the big topics of animation. Keyframing workflow, the principles, walk/run cycles, lip sync and much more. The exercises are well explained and very clearly presented.

Character Animation Crash Course

Eric Goldberg, another master animator, wrote a very helpful and fun introduction to animation.

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Acting for Animators

In this book, legendary acting teacher Ed Hooks reveals everything that an animator has to know about acting.
As an added bonus, there are some excellent, thought-provoking analysis chapters about classic and recent films.

Elemental Magic Vol. II

Are you fascinated by water splashes, smoke and fire? In Elemental Magic Vol. II you learn how you can create breath-taking visual effects like these and more.

Merch can be the perfect gift

Any animator is a fan of some film or series. Help them celebrate their favorite world and characters with some figurines or other merch.

Tip: Look on for merch handcrafted by fans!

Lion from Steven Universe as a Funko POP figure.

High quality Disney Enesco Figurines – for example Jaq and Gus from Cinderella.

Don’t forget that you can also support your favorite YouTuber by buying and giving their products. They really depend on it.

Draw with Jazza’s shop

Pretty much any Art of book – like the Art of Tangled.

Cool stuff for animators only

And of course this list wouldn’t be complete without our very own animation lifestyle creations. These fun items feature some inside jokes only an animator can appreciate. Surprise your friends and support Animator Island at the same time!

What else?

Did we miss anything that you think would make a great gift for an animator?

What presents are you giving this season?

What things are on your wish list?

Let us know in the comments below and enjoy the holidays!

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