How to Make Your Own Cartoon for Beginners with Toon Boom Harmony!

Tired of Adobe Animate/Flash crashing? Always wanted to learn Toon Boom Harmony?

In these video tutorials, you will learn how to make your own cartoons using Toon Boom Harmony for beginners! Even if you’ve never opened the program before!

Toon Boom is, by far, my FAVORITE animation software!

But what about Adobe Flash/Animate CC? While it’s a great program, easier to learn, and great for hobbyists… I feel Toon Boom Harmony offers a WAY more fun drawing and animating experience, with WAY more features, and WAY less crashing!

How To Get Started

First, download a Free Trial of Toon Boom Harmony! If you’re new to animation, I recommend the Toon Boom Harmony Essentials Version. It still has a TON of useful features! I personally use the Premium version.

Toon Boom Harmony Free Download

Free Toon Boom Harmony Download!

Drawing Tablet Recommendations:

Second, I highly recommend getting a Wacom Tablet. They are the best brand of drawing tablets and provide the fewest problems. They offer a very cheap model I would recommend:

Wacom Intuos Draw


Wacom Intuos Draw

Or, if that’s too expensive, Huion is a decent off-brand model that is really cheap and still works great!

Huion 8 x 5 Graphic Drawing Tablet

Huion 8 x 5 Graphic Drawing Tablet

How To Animate in Toon Boom Harmony

Check this video out to learn everything you need to get started, even if you’ve never used Toon Boom before!

Part 2: Learn a ton of extra, but powerful features like 3D Camera Moves, Painting Tools, and Workflow Tips!


Toon Boom Harmony Tools

Here are the tools I use most often when I’m animating!

Tool Properties

Here is the window where your tool properties will be (Window > Tool Properties). This will change based on what tool you have selected. A very useful window!


Here is where your animation will take place. Here is some terminology that will be useful:



This is a layer, essentially. Think of layers as stacks of paper, whichever paper is on top, will show in front of everything else.

One drawing layer can contain any number of animation frames inside of it.

If you’re used to Flash, think of a drawing layer as a Symbol, it can accomplish all the same things and more.

If you’re doing frame by frame animation, the drawing layer will change to the next drawing every 2-or-so frames. If you’re doing puppeted animation, it’s where a Hand layer will swap from one drawing to another.

F5 Extend Exposure

To extend how long a drawing is displayed, right-click further down the timeline and select Extend Expose, or simply press F5.

New Drawing

To make a new drawing using existing art, select the frame you want to change, and press this button New Drawing Button, or press Alt+Shift+D. Though it looks like the same drawing, you can now modify it without affecting the original frame!

Blank Drawing

To make a blank frame, select this button Blank Frame Button, or press Alt+Shift+R. This will create a blank frame to draw a new frame of animation.

Onion Skin

Click these to activate your Onion Skin to see previous drawings. You can adjust the length of the onion skin using the blue brackets by the playhead.


Keyframe: These are points where Position, Rotation, Scale, and other animation properties are stored. They can be animated over time. This is where motion-tweening happens, between two keyframes.

To create a motion-tween, simply click in-between two keyframes, and press Add Keyframe this button.

To remove the motion-tween between two keyframes, press Minus Keyframe this button.


Easing: This tells the animation which keyframes to favor using Slow-In, Slow Out, or Slow In-And-Out. To set the easeing between two keyframes to create a more natural appealing movement, select the keyframe(s) you want to adjust, then select an easing from this drop-down box. Easy!

How To Export

To export your animation, you MUST have QuickTime installed!

Export 1

Then, go to File > Export > Movie.

Export 2

These are the settings I use. If you click the Movie Options…

Export 3

These are the QuickTime export settings I use. One thing that is VERY IMPORTANT if you’re using the h.264 codec, is to set the Keyframes to ALL!!!

Press ok, and ok again, and your move will export! Congratulations! Now you can upload your cartoon to YouTube! :D

Toon Boom Animation

If you like my tutorials and animations and want to get some cool rewards, please consider checking out my Patreon by clicking HERE!

Even $1 helps support my work immensely. Thank you! <3

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!

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