Modern technology has opened up limitless opportunities for the field of animation and storytelling. In the past, big studios and companies were the primary ones to create, produce, and distribute animated films. Nowadays, online platforms like Youtube or Vimeo allow anyone to post animated videos despite age, location, skill, or ethnicity. YouTube, in particular, is a major platform for several independent animators, with many individuals finding success as full-time YouTubers. With coronavirus keeping movie theaters closed, this article hopes to showcase ten great animators on YouTube and give readers something else to watch when they have already depleted everything on Netflix and Disney+.
Before continuing, I want to stress that there are many talented animators on YouTube that I wish could be included in this article. This list is not an exhaustive one nor is it a “top ten animators on YouTube” list. Instead, I want to spotlight animators ranging from the highly popular to the lesser known and pique readers’ interest in exploring the content put out by YouTube’s animation community.
Note: Some of the YouTubers in this article create content, explore mature topics, or use language that may not be suitable for younger viewers, so viewer discretion is advised.
With chill, funny vibes, Chipflake discusses relatable topics like weird teachers and moving out. Originally from Britain, Chipflake lives in Germany and frequently explores the cultural differences between both countries. One fun aspect of Chipflake’s videos is the experimentation of art styles. Several animators usually find their art style after a while and stick with it, but Chipflake goes through many iterations of avatar and animation alike.
The About page for Domics pretty much sums up the channel: “a plethora of anecdotal animations pertaining to the many bothers of life that I have both fortunately and unfortunately experienced.” (And I think that description fits several YouTubers in the animation community.) Domics’ casual voiceover complements his life experiences and sense of humor.
Self-described as a “story telling idiot & artist hypeman” on his social media, Eroldstory primarily features stories from his life, including his experiences with friends and teachers. His videos pop in numerous references to manga and anime, and his fun animation style is reminiscent of collaging. Bordering on the comedic and the nerdy, Eroldstory strikes a nice balance.
How It Should Have Ended
A staple on YouTube with more than 9 million subscribers, How It Should Have Ended, also known affectionately as HISHE, has grown vastly popular for regularly giving viewers alternative scenes and endings when the real thing fails to satisfy or make sense. Not content to make parodies of individual films, HISHE has also created their own universe where beloved superheroes chill out at the Hero Café and defeated villains stew and scheme at the Villains Pub, often to hilarious effect.
illymation’s has a vibrant yet soft art style that goes well with her fun stories about her love for Animal Crossing and learning to drive. Counterbalancing the lightheartedness are some serious videos about tough topics like abuse and mental illness. Her willingness to be publicly vulnerable about overcoming these challenges in hopes of spreading awareness and helping others is inspiring.
Jaiden Animations explores a variety of topics, spanning from her experiences traveling overseas to personal stories about sports, childhood, and school. Told in a conversational style, Jaiden Animations’ videos are incredibly relatable and casual and frequently features collabs with fellow YouTuber TheOdd1sOut. She also has a pet bird called Ari.
Let Me Explain Studios
With a character style similar to the TheOdd1sOut, animator and singer Rebecca Parham tells personal stories on her channel Let Me Explain Studios. Her videos explore, among other topics, her experiences with fans and YouTubers at conventions. Although not a frequent poster (and it’s understandable given that animation takes time), Let Me Explain Studios’ videos are bubbly and fun.
It takes skill and creativity to convey a story and characters with no dialogue. With more than 5 million subscribers and created by animator Simon Tofield, Simon’s Cat is a fantastic example of successfully blending animation with no dialogue. While most videos on this channel are under five minutes, you can’t help but be charmed by the two main characters: a cheeky, curious cat and a normal, hapless human. The stories are simple but funny and relatable—especially for cat owners. Viewers of all ages will enjoy the gentle humor and fun of this channel.
With more than 1 million subscribers on YouTube, Tabbes has a distinctive art style. Not one to use many colors, Tabbes mainly sticks to a palette of black and white, creating a gritty, stark feel to her characters and backgrounds. The topic of video is often personal stories, with Tabbes’ character wearing a crown and her deadpan delivery being dry, sarcastic, and hilarious.
You may have seen some of TheOdd1sOut videos on YouTube’s trending page. Also known as James Rallison, TheOdd1sOut draws inspiration primarily from childhood, college, and old jobs for webcomics and animated videos. His personal stories contain a certain innocence and charm, complemented with humor and cheerful roly-poly characters. Coupled with success on YouTube, TheOdd1sOut recently published two books: The Odd1sOut: How to Be Cool and Other Things I Definitely Learned from Growing Up and The Odd1sOut: The First Sequel.
Again, this list barely scratches the surface of the animation community on YouTube. I highly recommend falling face first into the rabbit hole of independent animation whether that be on YouTube or another video platform. You just never know who you’ll come across and like!