Sample Art Paper on The Twelve Principles of Animation.

Disney’s Nine Old Men had an unparalleled level of brightness and vision that allowed them to come up with some of Disney’s most praised and watched animations. Moreover, their era is referred to as Disney’s Golden Age. They (Ollie Johnston and Frank Thomas) innovated the twelve principles of animation. They are outlined below.

First is the squash and stretch principle. This allocates a character the illusion of weight and volume while in motion. It is achieve by simultaneously expanding and compressing the character’s body as shown in the image below:

As the ball nears to hit the ground, it appears stretched and then appears squashed when it hits the ground. This gives the animation a realistic touch. The second principle is anticipation. As the name suggests, this principle prepares the audience for a major action that is about to happen. Animators achieve this by using smaller actions to prepare the audience for the big action as represented in the image below:

Notice how Donald Duck draws back his leg in anticipation of running. The third principle is staging. Here every move made by a character is supposed to convey a clear motive. This principle is achieved by isolating any extraneous details from the background giving the character all the focus as illustrated in the image below:


It is clear from the image of Tinkerbell above that she is overjoyed.

The forth principle is Straight Ahead and Pose to Pose. Straight ahead technique involves drawing clear poses to insinuate a fluid motion. Pose to pose, on the other hand, refers to planning key frames ahead of each other and then connecting them afterwards as depicted in this image:


The fifth principle is Follow Through and Overlapping Action. This principle stipulated that when a character in motion stops all his body doesn’t stop at once. Their main body usually stops first but their other body parts keep on moving and stop later as shown in the image:


The character’s body stops first then his coat follows and settles much later. The sixth principle is Slow-In and Slow-Out. Achieved by drawing many frames at the start of an action, few at the middle and many again at the end of the action to create a pendulum effect as shown below:

The seventh principle is Arc. Per this principle, all actions occur in slightly circular motions as opposed to straight thrusts. This principle is well illustrated below:


This character lifts the stone in an arc and not straight up.

The eighth principle is Secondary Action. As the name suggests, a secondary action reinforces the main action. However, this action is not supposed to overshadow the prime action in the animation as depicted below:


The main action in the image is the character knocking at the door but the shape of the character’s left hand acts a secondary action. The ninth principle is Timing. Timing creates the illusion that a character’s motion is in tandem with the laws of physics. Changing timing can either make a scene crisper and faster or slower and smoother as illustrated below:

The tenth principle is Exaggeration. It involves overstating certain actions while maintaining the believability of the scene as shown below:


The eleventh principle is Solid Drawings. This principle stipulates that characters should be presented in a 3D form though they are in 2D form realistically as depicted below:

The last principle is Appeal. Animators should create appealing characters and images. An example of appeal is as shown in the image below:


Works Cited.

Pannafino, James. “12 Basic Principles of Animation in Motion Design.” HOW Design, 6 Jan. 2017,