Pathway: Making Animated Drawings

Pathway for Years 3 & 4

Drawing, Animation, Sketchbooks

Key Concepts:

  • That artists can make animations by creating drawings which move in a sequence.

  • That we can use all our mark making skills and imagination to make our drawings visually engaging.

  • That we can use our moving drawings to share narratives. 

In this pathway children are introduced to the idea that animations can be made by sequencing drawings. 

After exploring the work of other artists making drawn animations, children make simple “paper puppets” with moving parts. Pupils also make a “background” for their puppets, and if you wish, then go on to make very simple animations using tablets. 

Paper, (Digital media)

Artists: Lauren Child, Steve Kirby, Andrew Fox, Lucinda Schreiber

If you use this resource in your setting, please tag us on social media: #InspiredBy @accessart (facebook, twitter) (instagram) and share the url. Thank you!

Year 3 pupils at milton Road Primary School and their Articulated Beasts
ages 5-8
ages 9-11

Teaching Notes

Find the MTP for this pathway here.

Curriculum Links

English: Bring characters from literature to life.

History: Make an animated drawing / portrait of a well know historical figure.

Maths: Measuring, weight, position, direction, movement.

Science: Animals, the human body, habitats, materials.

Music & Drama: Link to drama to collaborate and act out short narratives.

I Can…

  • I can talk about the work of other animators who make animations from their drawings. I can share what I like, and how it makes me feel.

  • I can use my sketchbook to gather ideas from other artists, and start to think about a simple moving drawing I might make.

  • I can use observational skills to look at source material to inspire my character and make drawings. 

  • I can use my imagination to think about how my character might move.

  • I can create a background for my character.

  • I can use digital media to film my animation.

  • I can share my moving drawing, either through an animation or by showing classmates how it would move. 

  • I can reflect and articulate my thoughts about my own artwork and that of my peers. 


This pathway takes 6 weeks, with an hour per week. Shorten or lengthen the suggested pathway according to time and experience. Follow the stages in green for a shorter pathway or less complex journey.


Soft B pencils, coloured pencils, handwriting pens, white and/or corrugated card, paper fasteners for moving joints, kebab sticks, masking tape, ready mixed paints, scissors.

(For shared background drawing) Black ink in pots, feathers cut as quills, black handwriting pens, Sharpies, pencils, roll of paper.


Pathway: Making Animated Drawings

A PDF of this pathway can be found here.

  • The Aims of the Pathway

    The aim of this pathway is to introduce children to the idea that we can create moving imagery through sequenced drawings. 

  • Week 1: Introduce

    What is Animation?

    Introduce children to the idea that we can make single drawings and then string them together to make the drawings move. Use the free to access “Talking Points: Making Drawings Moveresource to explore this idea.

  • Explore

    Show Me What You See

    Painting onto a Monotype Plate With Acrylic By Tobi Meuwissen

    Working in a sketchbook, use the free to access “Drawing Source Material: The Natural Worldresource to practice drawing skills.

    Think about how you can challenge pupils to make line drawings of animals using a handwriting pen (so they don’t worry about mistakes). Pause a moment on the video, give them a time limit of say 1 minute, and invite them to make a line drawing in one continuous line. Then move the film on, pause again and repeat. The drawings can be on the same page – like flickers or memories. The aim is just to warm up and to begin to tune into lines and shapes of animals and how they move. Use the “Show Me What You See” resource to support your facilitation.

  • Week 2: Explore

    Paper Cut Puppets

    paper cut puppets showreel

    Watch the free to access “Talking Points: Paper Cut Puppets Showreel” to explore what might be possible when you make paper “puppets” which you can then animate. 

    With sketchbooks open as you watch the showreel above, invite the children to begin “Making Visual Notes” in their sketchbooks.  Ask them to pretend to be “magpies” and to jot down anything that they see which they would like to try. What catches their eye? Perhaps challenge them to keep their notes on one page so that the page is full of ideas and words. It doesn’t have to be in order, and colour could be used too. 

    Play the showreel more than once, pause it regularly and invite children to talk about what they see and what they like. 

    This kind of learning (gathering information) is a skill, so take it slowly and give them time to practice. Purposely stop the film in the resource and ask them to turn to their sketchbook to add notes. 

    Let children know that they will be creating their own paper “puppet” and describe their theme or area of focus might be (ie animals which live in the jungle, Ancient Egyptians etc). Then continuing in sketchbooks, and using source material which is appropriate to your theme, ask them to start planning what their puppet might be, and what action they would like it to perform.

    N.B Key here is that the action should be simple. For example, rolling eyes or moving an arm might be enough. Picking up a ball and throwing it will be too much for most children in the time given. 

  • Week 3,4 and 5

    Make Your Moveable Drawings

    Animating Eagle

    Use the following resources to enable children to make their moveable drawings.

    Please note all these resources follow a similar plan so visit them all and combine to suit.

    Cardboard Robots with Moveable Joints

    Making Drawings that Move

    Making Articulated Beasts Part 1

    Articulated Animals


  • Invigorate!

    Explore the Work of Lauren Child

    Lauren Child video

    At a point when children need an injection of energy, introduce them to the work of Lauren Child through the free to access “Talking Points: Lauren Child” resource. Explore how Lauren works as an artist and look for clues and tips in her working process. Use sketchbooks for “Making Visual Notes“. 

  • Additional Activity

    Creating a Background

    Adobe- Art As Activism Vimeo Screenshot

    You may like to invite the pupils to create a background for their moveable drawings, appropriate to the theme.

    This could be a shared drawing, as shown in the “Shared Ink Drawing” resource, or it could be a drawn background for each child.

  • Additional Activity

    Animating the Drawings

    If you have access to tablets, you may like to animate some of the drawings, you could also spend less time making the moveable drawings and more time animating them if that is of interest to you.

    Frame 1 drawn on the flipaclip app.

    Find out how to make digital animations using the “Exploring Digital Animation” resource.

  • Week 6: Present Work

    Share, Reflect, Celebrate

    Year 3 pupils at milton Road Primary School and their Articulated Beasts

    If children have animated their articulated beasts, pull down the blinds and watch all of the animations together. 

    Present all work in a clear space and take the opportunity to visit all work made like a mini gallery. Use the “Crits in the Classroom” resource.

See This Pathway Used In Schools

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