BEGINNER FLIPBOOK TUTORIAL
ITEMS YOU’LL NEED:
STACK OF PAPER
For your paper, I recommend starting with index cards. You could use a stack of Post-it notes or a notepad (or the corners if your math book!). But I recommend cards because they are thicker and flip better.
There are several options you can use for a light source. You could use:
– A light box
– An LED tracing pad
– You could hold the paper up to a bright window
– The Light Pad included in my Flipbook Kits
BINDER CLIPS or SCREWS or a RUBBER BAND
Binder clips come in many sizes. I find medium and large clips the most useful. You use them to hold all the pages of your flipbook. It is also possible to do this with rubber bands or special screws.
How to Make a Stick-Man Flipbook
We’ll start with something simple. I’m going to draw a stick man and make him wave.
Next you grab all your pages, keeping them in order, and line them up so you can clip them.
You can get binder clips in different sizes. This is a medium and a large. Let’s see how it looks!
Tap the pages on a flat surface to align the edges. Then clip them together.
If you’ve never made a flipbook before, this is a really easy first one to try!
Here’s the flipbook again, all together:
For the bouncing ball flip book, I’ll start by drawing the ball here, near the top.
I want it to feel like the ball is dropping in from above the page, so the distance from the first drawing of the ball to the second is going to be pretty big, since the ball is already going fast.
This isn’t going to be perfect, but I’m drawing the second one about here.
On each page you want the distance the ball travels to be bigger. The reason for that is because of how gravity works. When an object falls, it doesn’t fall at a constant speed—it accelerates. If you want to see how that works, you might do a Google image search for “bouncing ball animation.” You’ll find some diagrams of how a ball bounces, which will give you some good references to follow.
Remember that it doesn’t have to be perfect. Just try it out. Have fun with it.
On this page I’ll make the ball more of an oval shape. This will help it feel like it’s moving even faster on this frame. You’ll notice that, when I flip it, you’ll kind of feel it more than you see it.
And now I’ll draw the impact as it hits the ground and squashes flat.
On this next page, the ball starts to spring back up.
Now we’re back up in the air.
And since gravity is working against us, the ball is slowing down as it goes up.
We want to decrease the distance the ball travels on each page until the ball finally starts falling again.
We’re getting pretty slow here.
And now it’s just starting to fall back down.
And as it continues to fall…
…of course it’s accelerating again.
So we make the distance increase each page until it hits the ground again.
You’ll notice I’m not squishing it as much as I did the first time. It’s going slower, so it squishes less.
For this third bounce it’s just going up a little bit and then falling back down again.
Now we’re giving it a little squish,
a tiny little bounce,
…and then finally settling.
There’s our bouncing ball! Let’s see it one more time:
For the third flipbook I’m going to have a UFO come down and abduct this little stick person. This first drawing I’m making is going to be used as a template. I just want to figure out what my UFO is going to look like beforehand.
I’m drawing the UFO on the same page as the stick person, up here at the top-right of the page. I’ll use this page as a reference for several pages later on.
Now I’m drawing the first few pages. I’m going to start with a few pictures of the stick person standing there before the UFO appears.
I need to draw a few pages of this guy by himself to show the passing of time before the UFO comes.
On this page the UFO is just starting to appear, so we see the bottom of it coming into view.
Now I’m tracing my template to help me out a bit. I can trace that same drawing, but scooted down a little further, to show the UFO moving down.
Tracing a template drawing like this isn’t something you have to do; it just helps sometimes if you want an easy way to make sure your drawings look the same from page to page.
Sometimes you have an object moving across the page that doesn’t need to change shape: all it needs to do is move across. In that case, tracing a drawing as it moves along is pretty easy.
Now at this point I’m no longer using the template drawing. I’m just referencing the previous page like normal. Remember not to get too worried about making things perfect. The most important thing is to have fun with it!
So here the energy beam is just starting to appear below the UFO.
I want it to appear pretty quickly, so I’m going to have it fully reach the ground right away.
Then, as the stick person starts to get pulled up, you’ll see that I’m stretching him out because he’s getting pulled up really quickly.
Any time something’s moving quickly, you can always try adding some stretch or squash and see if it helps how it feels.
By now we can only see his legs.
And now we just see the bottoms of his feet.
And now the beam is going back up.
On these next frames I’m moving the UFO upward a little bit for a couple of pages. Then it’s going to whoosh away and leave a blur behind.
For the blur I’m going to do some sketchy lines on just two pages.
And that’s it! Let’s see how it looks and one more time slowed down so you can see exactly what’s happening:
Tools That Make Flipbooks Easier to Make
You can get the same tools I use!
I’ve made hundreds of flipbooks, and I’ve found that you can make them the easy way or the hard way. Now, there’s nothing truly difficult about flipbook making. It’s just that if you have a few tools, they make it easy enough that you can focus more on your creativity and skills instead of working so hard to make the materials do what you want.
So I put together a kit that has everything I use when I make flipbooks, and now you can get your own! It includes…
- Pre-drilled paper for flipping—enough for three flipbooks!
- Binding Screws that fit perfectly in the holes in the paper!
- The official Andymation Lightpad, with holes to keep your papers in the exact same spot for every drawing! And a power cord. Nice.
- A handy booklet with instructions for making your own flipbooks!
Remember, you can make flipbooks with paper, rubber bands, and pencils or crayons! The kit just makes it much easier.