How To Make Cartoons for Beginners— For FREE!

Hey, you’ve always wanted to make cartoons right?

Want to make your own cartoons for free? Had great ideas and wanted to animate them, but you didn’t know where to start, what materials you needed, or what books to study? Then this list is for you!

I’m going to show you some of the best animation software that you can download completely for FREE! If you’ve ever wanted to make your own cartoon but didn’t know how, these are great places to get started:


  1. Macromedia Flash

    This was the first program I learned how to animate on! It’s very easy to learn, and has a lot of features like sound importing, motion-tweening, and puppet rigging! This would probably be my highest recommendation for you to check out of this whole list!

    Why is it free? This is an older version of Flash/Adobe Animate called Macromedia Flash MX. Adobe has released the activation on this old version and released the serials, so now you can download Adobe Flash/Adobe Animate completely for Free! Check this video out to find out more:

    Click Here To Download Flash for FREE!

    If you’d like to learn how to use Flash, I’ve also created a free tutorial on how to animate in Flash for beginners! This will show you everything you need to get started animating in less than 10 minutes!

    Tutorial: How To Animate in Flash for Beginners


  2. Krita

    Krita is a great program, but is still being developed so they may be some glitches. It is a great free alternative to Photoshop as well, so it’s great for creating cartoon backgrounds as well as animating characters, anime, or anything you want! It even includes sound for lip sync! It is a great way to quickly practice frame-by-frame animation! Available for Mac, Linux, and PC.

    Click Here to Download Krita


  3. OpenToonz

    This is a free and open-source version of the program that was used by Studio Ghibli. It is also currently being developed by volunteers, so expect a lot of glitches. It’s also not very beginner-friendly. But man, is it powerful! It has nearly all the same features Toon Boom Harmony has, and WAY more features than Adobe Animate! Try it out, see how you like it, it’s not like it’s gonna cost you anything.

    Click Here to Download OpenToonz
    Download OpenToonz Free Animation Software!


  4. FireAlpaca

    This program is very lightweight, and dead-easy to do simple animations in! While it’s technically a drawing program, it has an onion skinning feature where you can see previous and next drawings for animation. Super easy to use! Great for beginners! It is also available for Mac and PC.

    Click Here to Download FireAlpaca
    Download FireAlpaca for Free!


  5. Plastic Animation Paper (PAP)

    This program is pretty old, and it looks it! But it has all of the features you’ll need to create your own 2D frame-by-frame animations, just like Disney! And it’s pretty easy to learn!

    PlasticAnimationPaper (PAP)
    Download PlasticAnimationPaper Free!



You know what’s also practically free? Paper!! I got my first start animating on the back of my mom’s business cards and fastening them together with binder clips! You can do the same!

  • Take a stack of semi-thick paper that is all the same size. You could use index cards, business cards, or sticky notes, they practically grow on trees…
  • In animation it’s important to see the previous drawing so you can draw your next frame in movement. This is done with a lighted surface called a “lightbox” but you can use your phone with the brightness turned all the way on instead!
  • Then just draw frame after frame of your stick figure moving around, a ball bouncing, or whatever else you want to animate! Make sure to number them in case they drop on the floor accidentally!
  • When you’re done stack them all together in order with the first drawing on top to make a flipbook! You can keep it together with a rubber band, tape, or even a clothespin! I used small binder clips.
  • Animated Gif Old Flipbook
    My first flip-book ever, age 11.

Can You Animate With a Mouse?

While I don’t recommend it (it’s inaccurate, slow, and can cause wrist injuries) you totally can draw and animate with a mouse! Try keeping it simple though. Stick figures are pretty easy to draw, try drawing a bunch of those, or practice drawing circles to get used to how to draw with a mouse!

But if you’d like to get a tablet, here is a great, cheap, drawing tablet I would totally recommend for young people or beginners:

Animator’s Survival Kit is a MUST-HAVE book for animators both beginner and expert! It goes over walk-cycles, the 12 principles of animation, and almost everything you’d want to learn with animation. I definitely recommend getting this:

If you use those Amazon links it will support me, and they’re products I would highly recommend to you. I get a percentage of the sale at no extra cost to you, and it helps me run my webpage and YouTube channel and pursue a career of teaching animation to awesome future animators– like yourself!

Have fun animating! :)

Jesse J. Jones

About Jesse J. Jones

Hi, my name is Jesse J. Jones, and I create cute, unique, funny cartoons to help promote your business, explain ideas, and tell stories! I love teaching people how to animate and draw, and at the same time, encouraging it as a career!

18 thoughts on “How To Make Cartoons for Beginners— For FREE!

  1. David

    I think that Synfig is a very good program for animating.

  2. Nina

    Thank you for all this tipps and tools. I´ve been looking for a site like yours for so long. I´m sure to test out some of the programms as soon as I can and maybe finally buy my first graphic tablet. To have to work only with scans is really not the best solution..

  3. can i download flash on an acer chromebook?

    • No, you need a PC.

      • James

        do you really need a pc, currently i only have a MacBook Air.

        • Check out all the other options! There’s plenty of free animation software for Macs! :)

          • What are the animation software for mac?

          • It’s listed in the descriptions where applicable, but Krita is my favorite for the mac! :)

  4. Akari

    It`s very halpfull

  5. Adrien

    This was really helpful, I just have one question; where would I enter in the serial code. I’m afraid I’ll find the wrong spot thinking it’s the right spot, but then enter it and be locked out for a VERY long time. Thanks!

    • It’s pretty self explanatory, just be sure to follow the video description on YouTube!

  6. Random dudde

    Teh old flash doesn’t work on win10,Any fix?

    • Make sure you Run it as Administrator and in Compatibility Mode. Check the video description on YouTube for more info!

  7. Hey, I downloaded Flash MX 2004 via that video as well as Flash 8 and both just shut off when I start using my Huion Tablet. Any idea how to fix this?

    • Make sure you Run it as Administrator and in Compatibility Mode. Check the video description on YouTube for more info!

  8. Maria

    Hi, I was wondering which program you would recommend: The old version of flash, Krita or Opentoonz?
    Because they all seem to be great programs and I’m really not sure which one would be best at creating cartoons. Thanks.

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