Do you remember all the 80s or 90s cartoon characters, like Scooby-Doo, Bugs Bunny, Popeye, Count Duckula, Mickey Mouse, Pikachu, and more, who actually made childhood fun and memorable for most of us? Yes, they are nostalgic. For many generations, animation has captured the interest of both children and adults. Most of us can remember our favorite animated programs and films fondly.
Animation has a long history that dates back to the late 1800s. Today, the animation industry is more significant than ever, with more diversity and volume than you can comprehend.
Over time, the range and volume of animation work have increased along with their variety. Specific animators have distinguished themselves over the years for their contributions and are known for their creative minds and skill.
Top 11 Popular Animators of All Time (2D and 3D)
You love animation, but have you ever thought about who is behind some excellent works? The professional animation artist! These animators undoubtedly made you all fall in love with your childhood.
But don’t you think you should know about them? Thus, here we have compiled some famous animators who built a gateway into the wonder of animation and paved new ways into this beautiful realm.
Walt Disney, the king of the 20th century, has won people’s hearts for years. Disney showed aptitude and enthusiasm in drawing and painting as a child, and by the time he was in his teens, he was studying cartooning to become a newspaper cartoonist. But as he grew up, so did his interest in moving movies.
And after many setbacks, Walt Disney eventually established a studio bearing his name (at Roy’s, his brother, suggestion, who remained Walt’s longtime business partner and advisor).
He started with commercials and Laugh-O-Grams (animated cartoon sketches), working his way up to his famous Mickey Mouse. Disney eventually created over a hundred feature films, including Snow White, his first fully animated film.
He didn’t simply stop at creating movies; before he passed away, he also planned and built Disneyland and nearly finished Disney World. Thinking that the future requires a world of art, he also founded the California Institute of the Arts. He wanted a place of education and boost to American animation where diverse individuals with different dreams, ideas, and abilities can come together and make the most out of their imaginations and creativity.
John Lasseter is one of the most influential and famous 3D animation artists, primarily in the 3D animation world. He is the best example of an animator who converted a passion for animation into a successful career.
Lasseter, who was born in 1957, grew up watching cartoons. Before beginning work as an animator for Disney in 1979, he completed his studies in character animation at the then-new California Institute of the Arts.
Lasseter became fascinated by the just-emerging capabilities of computer-produced visuals in the early 1980s. He lost his job at Disney as a result of the rift his passion had created – it worked out for the best. Lasseter later joined Lucasfilm, which later changed its name to Pixar.
At Pixar, Lasseter directed Toy Story, A Bug’s Life, Toy Story 2, Cars and Cars 2, and worked as a film producer in almost all Pixar’s movies, including Frozen and Inside Out. These films got more than $19 billion in revenue, which led Lasseter to become known as the most successful filmmaker.
Nick Park is one of the top animators and successful stop-motion and claymation artists globally. Born in England, with time, Nick developed a strong interest in film and animation at a young age. However, everything changed when he joined the British animation firm Aardman Animations in 1985.
He produced some of the most well-known stop-motion animation movies. Wallace and Gromit, Shaun the Sheep, Chicken Run, and many others are the great works of Park.
Nick served in various capacities as an animation director, writer, producer, and animator. He has received multiple awards for his incredible work and comes to the list of excellent animators’ names. He also got four Oscars, and Chicken Run held the top rank as it is a fantastic stop-motion animation movie to date.
A Russian American and famous animators’ artist, Genndy Tartakovsky graduated from the California Institute of the Arts. In the initial years, Genndy’s family moved from Columbus to Chicago, where he discovered comics and fell in love with them.
After his graduation, he did a few animation jobs. But Hanna-Barbera gave a boost to his career. He first worked with Craig McCracken on 2 Stupid Dogs, and during this period, he started working on his own creation, Dexter’s Laboratory. Tartakovsky is one of the famous cartoon artists who received a commission from The Cartoon Network to create Dexter’s Laboratory since he has contributed to many adored animated programs and movies.
Hayao Miyazaki is a modern-day Japanese producer, director, screenwriter, and manga artist who began his career as an animator. He produced popular stories globally, such as Castle in the Sky and Wind Rises.
The appealing characters, strong plots, and incredible animation brought him widespread acclaim from reviewers worldwide and widespread acclaim in his native Japan. Without Miyazaki’s enormous contribution and influence on the modern entertainment business, it isn’t easy to envision it now.
Matt Groening is unquestionably one of the popular animators of animated television, and animation is known for its use in both feature films and television. The Simpsons, created by Groening, is the lengthiest American sitcom and the longest-running animated television series of all time.
The series has won Americans’ hearts due to its lively sarcastic perspective on daily life. With The Simpsons, Groening is also famous for Futurama, a program with a dedicated fan base.
The majority of people like Futurama that it has twice been brought back from the brink of extinction. More than 20 years after the show’s debut, a new season is scheduled to debut the following year. Most recently, Disenchantment has been created. He is undoubtedly the most successful cartoon animator of all time.
When talking about some classic Looney Tunes shorts, Chuck Jones is the first person that comes to mind. Chuck is a well-known animator artist who directed Warner Brothers cartoons during the 50s. He is famous for his work, like crazy faces, poses, movement, and general wacky antics. The fact about Chuck’s work is how gracefully it held even decades later.
You may have watched videos like Pronoun Trouble and Laugh Out Loud, even if you’re an adult. That is evidence that Chuck was one of the fantastic and famous animation artists and filmmakers ahead of his time.
Also, remember that singing frog cartoon with the top hat and the tune “Hello! Ma Baby“? Chuck Jones was the director. He’s all over the place!
Rebecca Sugar, one of the famous animation artists, has been a vital part of two top-rated and crucial animated series since she started working as a professional animator in 2009.
The first non-binary individual to produce an animated series for Cartoon Network is Sugar, known among popular animators. When Sugar joined the Adventure Time crew in the first season as a storyboard revisionist, it was her big break. By the second season, she had been elevated to the position of storyboard artist due to her outstanding contribution. Steven Universe was created due to a new project Cartoon Network hired Sugar to create in 2011.
Until the situation grew intolerable, Sugar worked on both Steven Universe and Adventure Time concurrently. After season five, she departed Adventure Time. Regarded well for its depiction of LGBTQ+ issues is Sugar’s creative output. She is an animator who puts much effort into her job, which you can witness in the series she has worked on.
Another legend of the golden age of animation, Tex Avery, contributed to creating some of the most recognizable animated figures ever. Famous icons from the Looney Tunes series, like Bugs Bunny, Porky Pig, Daffy Duck, and others, were among the characters he helped create.
When short films were the major part of animation being created in the beginning, Avery started his career. Avery, among popular animators, worked on the early Looney Tunes shorts at Warner Bros.
Fun fact: Avery is credited for giving Bugs Bunny his famous dialogue, “What’s up Doc?” It was a catchphrase in his high school, which he eventually appropriated for the well-known figure.
Avery’s career began as an inker in an animation company, and he eventually worked his way up to become a storyboarder, then a director. His drawings were renowned for their outrageous humor and frequently violent themes.
You won’t have to dig very deep into the history of animation to find Max Fleischer. He established Fleischer Studios and is among America’s most famous animators’ artist. They created some of the early cartoons that are still spoken about today.
Under Max’s direction in the early 20th century, characters like Betty Boop and Popeye – The Sailor underwent significant development.
With time, other businesses, like Walt Disney and Warner Bros, built their own sizable portions in the animation market. But Max still leaves behind a sizable legacy, which includes the rotoscope he invented and the first theatrical application of it.
One of the most important and popular animators at Pixar Animation Studios, Brad Bird, is also the man behind some of the studio’s most well-liked films.
Bird spent his initial years as an animator at Disney, where he worked on movies including The Fox and the Hound and The Black Cauldron, before moving on to Pixar. After enjoying early success, he made his directorial debut with The Iron Giant.
Later, Bird joined Pixar, where he wrote and directed Ratatouille, the author’s all-time favorite movie, and The Incredibles and its sequel. In addition to these features, Bird has contributed to several short films at Pixar and has been a member of the senior creative team for practically all of the studio’s productions.
Even though Bird has since ventured into live-action movies, his contribution to establishing one of animation’s most illustrious studios has kept his reputation alive.
Animation is evolving more quickly than ever. As new trends continue to emerge, we believe that things only grow better and better. These animators are taking design to previously unexplored heights. Whether it is illustration style, character design or animation, infographics, patterns, motion graphics, or animation with live video, this is unquestionably the golden age of animation.
We understand that being an animator is exciting in and of itself; it’s not simply about attaining fame and money. If you want your name to be on the list of popular animators, there is a long way to go. You just need to concentrate on creating what you enjoy. All the individuals on this list put in much effort while pursuing their passions and aspirations. If you follow them as inspiration, there is no telling where you might wind up.