12 Best Animation Artists Who Transformed The Animation Industry

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Komal Chaturvedi

Co-Founder & CEO, MotionGility

Best 12 Animation Artists
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    The Simpsons, Daffy Ducks, Popeyes, Spongebobs, and whatnot – There’s an endless list of these highly loved cartoon characters that have ruled our hearts for years!


    We remember their outfits, movements, catchy phrases, and almost everything. But, have you ever wondered who created these iconic animated pieces?


    Well, check out below a detailed look at the 12 famous animation artists of all time who are credited with creating stunning characters and to whom we owe our childhood.


    Animation is an incredible art form because it allows you to emotionally and psychologically connect with your viewers.


    Its importance has compounded dramatically from animated cartoons to now animated explainer videos – a marketing medium marketers love to integrate into their campaigns today!


    So let’s talk about these artists whose contributions to the animation industry have paved the way for modern creative imaginations.

    12 Globally Acclaimed Animation Artists

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    Here’s a mention to the best of the best animators, visualizers, storyboarders, creative directors, etc., whose work continues to inspire us and designers across the globe.

    1. Walt Disney

    walt disney

    Any list featuring famous animation artists is incomplete without mentioning arguably the world’s most-known animator – Walter Elias Disney.


    He was an American animator, cartoonist, entrepreneur, and a pioneering showrunner of animated cartoon films. His iconic creations such as the Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, etc., earned him widespread recognition.


    Walt revolutionized the animation industry through his excellent visual storytelling and character development techniques.

    Not to forget, the 12 Animation Principles which serve as a guiding light to animators were formed and introduced at Disney during the 1930s.

    2. Hayao Miyazaki

    hayao miyazaki

    Fondly known as Japan’s master animator, Hayao Miyazaki has donned multiple hats during his illustrated career as an animator, screenwriter, producer, and manga artist.

    Miyazaki has always stood out with his touchpoint on environmentalism, social issues, and family.


    He has been actively vocal about the need for creative expression and artistry in animation and character graphics. As a result, his work continues to leave a profound impression on the animation industry.


    If you watch his renowned works, you will be delighted to notice an outstanding deployment of emotional storytelling and the art of attention to detail. 


    Check out Princess Mononoke’s trailer below – one of Hayao’s finest works:

    3. Tim Burton

    tim burton

    An American filmmaker, creative artist, and animator, Tim Burton is a well-known personality in animation and more prominently, in the filmmaking fraternity.


    He developed a creative visual style Burtonesquewhich focused on using appealing textures, overlays, etc., thus producing interesting animated pieces such as Corpse Bride, Frankenweenie, etc.


    Besides animation, Burton’s film production skills are also widely recognized. His films often have a dark theme, emphasizing enhanced storytelling through lighting and staging tweaks.


    Here’s one of his most-known animated pieces:

    4. Glen Keane

    glen keane

    Fourth on the list of the world’s best animation artists is Glen Keane – An Academy award-winner.


    He was a cartoon animator at the Walt Disney Animation Studios for 38 years.


    His illustrious career at Disney and his ability to develop classic yet audience-centric character animation can be experienced through his legendary works such as the famous Little Mermaid, Aladdin, Pocahontas, the Beast, and Tarzan.


    Glen’s technique involved integrating exaggeration in his character’s poses and movements which largely stood out in his multiple projects where he served at Disney as both a director and an animator.

    Wondering how AI is playing a key role in Animation?

    Check out: AI in Animation – Understanding its Role, Benefits & Future 

    5. Chuck Jones

    12 best animation artists who transformed the animation industry

    Chuck Jones was associated with Warner Bros. Animation for a decent time, and he is fondly known for some of his outstanding creations – the most prominent being the Looney Tunes.


    In the period when the animation industry was experiencing its creative glory, his work on famous characters such as Road Runner, Looney Tunes, Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Porky Pig, etc., at Warner Bros. empowered them to fame.


    If you’ve ever watched these cartoons, you would’ve noticed how amazingly Jones justified the power of using comic timing & plot hilariousness in his work – sometimes making even exaggeration look natural.

    6. John Lasseter

    john lasseter

    The creative American Genius force behind your all-time favorite animated movies – John is the man.


    As the former Chief Creative Officer of Pixar Studios, he was significantly involved in creating iconic animated art pieces such as the Toy Story franchise, Cars, Bug’s Life, etc.


    His contribution to 3D animated graphics and computer-generated imagery paved the way for the animation industry to flourish exponentially.


    Apart from providing his creative touch at Pixar, he was also the CCO at Walt Disney Animation Studios from 2006 to 2018, supervising some amazing projects including Tangled, Moana, etc.


    Looking at the current animation trends, it’s evident that the work of legends like John has an important say in what’s about to unfold in the future.

    7. Akira Toriyama

    akira toriyama - japanese animation artist

    Another of the most renowned Japanese animation artists, Akira was the brain behind the Dragon Ball animated cartoon series, eventually earning him global recognition.


    Besides the Dragon Ball series he wrote, his work in Dr. Slump was also widely recognized. 


    Toriyama’s artistic abilities as a character designer were highly discussed across the animation industry – thanks to his ultra-expressive characters, storylines, and spirited action sequences.


    It wouldn’t be wrong if we consider his contribution to the Anime industry as something pivotal and revolutionary.

    8. Tex Avery

    12 best animation artists who transformed the animation industry

    Tex Avery was an American animator, cartoonist, and voice actor whose career spanned 30 years including brief stints at Warner Bros., MGM, and Hanna-Barbera.


    He was considered a genius at executing Slapstick Comedy – a fast-paced action humor concept where characters are often shown in wild, exaggerated actions and laughable situations.


    So if you look at a few of the characters that he developed and co-developed such as Droopy Dog, Bugs Bunny, etc., you would notice an uncanny resemblance between comedic timing, quick-fire humorous dialogues, and expressions.


    His work is a testament to his legacy and will continue to entertain the world for decades to come.

    Want to explore why 2.5D Animation style is trending nowadays?

    Check out: 2.5D Animation – Meaning, Benefits, Examples

    9. Matt Groening

    matt groening

    I’m sure you’ve watched at least one episode or have come across the dark-humor and sarcastic plot of the famous American animated sitcom series – The Simpsons.


    If yes, Matt is the man behind this iconic TV show alongside another similar hit – Futurama. 


    Often regarded as the most successful cartoonist, Matt’s expertise ran across writing witty scripts. He was a master at presenting an acute perspective on real-life situations through characters, and establishing a satirical and cheeky narrative around them.


    Through Simpsons, he provided the American audience an interesting entertainment piece which ended up shaping the surrounding culture.

    10. Stephen Hillenburg

    stephen hillenburg

    Stephen was again, an American animator who created one of children’s most loved animated series – SpongeBob SquarePants.


    Owing to his marine biology degree and love for what lies beneath the ocean, his characters and background setting in the cartoon series are believed to be inspired by the underwater world.


    The cartoon gained ridiculous acceptance and recognition globally when SpongeBob was launched. 


    Stephen’s quirky take on the cartoon’s characters apart from SpongeBob such as Patrick and Squidward, slapstick comedy, and amusing dialogues resulted in a laughter bubble all around.

    11. Floyd Norman

    floyd norman

    Floyd is one of the legendary black animation artists who made it to mainstream media through his notable contributions to iconic Disney films such as The Jungle Book, Mary Poppins, The Sword in the Stone, etc.


    But here’s the most exciting part: Considering the animation industry’s history, Floyd Norman is the first African-American artist who spent a considerable time working at the Disney Animation Studios.


    Owing to his illustrious career as an animator and writer at Disney, Prime Video recently launched a documentary titled Floyd Norman – An Animated Life.

    12. Genndy Tartakovsky

    genndy tartakovsky

    A Russian-American animator and writer, Genndy Tartakovsky has been considered a driving force in the animation industry for decades now.


    His most recognized work – Dexter’s Laboratory where his wacky and nerdy protagonist Dexter and his equally chaotic sister Dee-Dee revolutionized the way kids’ cartoons were produced.


    Following its success, Genndy went on to create a series of successful shows such as Samurai Jack and Star Wars: Clone Wars which equally earned him significant recognition in the industry.


    Apart from producing critically acclaimed cartoons and animated series, he’s also got his hands on a couple of movies for Sony Pictures as a director and writer such as Hotel Transylvania: Transformania, Black Knight, etc.


    Looking at the work these legendary animators have produced, the importance of animation surfaces throughout the internet in terms of animated videos, cartoons, films, etc.


    The above list of the best animation artists of all time highlights their individual contributions to the industry and how their work continues to inspire brands to leverage the power of animation.


    As an animated video production company, our work revolves around creating stellar animated videos that are hand-crafted from scratch and aligned with your brand requirements.


    So if you’ve a complex product to explain and are planning to benefit from the power of animation, contact us today!


    Get in touch with our video marketing expert today for a Free 15-minute Strategy Call.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    Q1: Who is the World's Best Animator?

    Hands down, it has to be Sir Walt Disney. Looking at his grand career and his role in bringing transformational changes in the animation industry, he stands true to what he once said: 

    If you can dream it, you can do it!

    Q2: Who are the Top 5 Best Animation Artists?

    We would pick Walt Disney, Hayao Miyazaki, Matt Groening, Stephen Hilleburg, and Akira Toriyama.


    Each of them has been an elite animator, director, screenwriter, etc., and has contributed to the industry in a distinguished manner.

    Q3: Who made Animation popular?

    The 20th century was the year when the animation industry took off, thanks to creative and engaging work produced by Disney Studios. 


    On top of that, Disney’s 12 animation principles comprehensively paved the way for current as well as future animators to develop stunning art work.

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