Animation equipment

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This noteworthy animation equipment list is a good reference and conversation starter when beginning a new 2D classical teaching environment or working animation studio. A Windsor Media Centre discussion evolved and solidified into a final Animation class startup shopping list for the Open Curricula Projects 2D Animation nine-day introductory class on the fundamentals.

Animation desks

Chromacolour portable animation table.
Yescom A3 LED Tracing Light Box 12"x17" with stand.
LightTracer light box.

Naturally a professional desk is preferable, but budgets may limit realistic options.

Animation exposure dope sheets

An animation exposure sheet, or dope sheet.

Animation field guides

A standard 4x3 animation field guide.

Animation paper

A series of paper sizes with comparison to Letter and Legal.
  • Animation Paper Guide - excellent article.
  • 10f = 10 field is Letter sized 8.5" x 11" / 215.9mm x 279.4mm
    • A4 = 8.3" x 11.7" / 210mm x 297mm
  • 12f = 12 field is 10.5" x 12.5" / 266.7mm x 317.5mm
    • A3 = 11.7" x 16.5" / 297mm x 420mm
    • Ledger = 17" x 11" / 432mm x 279mm
    • Tabloid = 11" x 17" x / 279mm x 432mm
  • The thickness/lightness of the paper impacts paper durability, important for lots of flipping.
  • The thickness/lightness of the paper impacts paper transparency.
  • The tooth of the paper impacts line quality.
  • Wikipedia: Paper press weight should not be confused with Grammage.

Animation peg bars

Sketch of an animation peg bar, and measurements of the three common types.

There are four kinds of peg bars:

  • ACME
  • Oxberry
  • Lightfoot Ltd Round (3-Ring Binder)
  • Disney (out of use)


Other supplies

  • Scanner + Printer / Photocopier
  • Scissors
  • Scotch tape

Pencil sharpeners

  • An Exacto knife provides ultimate control to refine the pencil point for what your drawings require.
  • A hand sharpener is excellent. There are pros and cons to shallow or steep points.
  • An electric sharpener is fast and suitable when precision is less important.


  • Staedtler non-photo blue pencils EAN 40 07817 056523 Art. Nr. 146C-37
    • The lightest blue for initial rough sketching.
    • Less smudging than graphite.
  • Staedtler Mars Non-Print 108 40 purple pencils
    • A little darker, for cleaning up drawings.
    • Less smudging than graphite.
  • Col-Erase 20044 [Navy] Blue pencils
    • Darkest, for tight clean up.
    • Less smudging than graphite.
  • Graphite pencils
  • Col-Erase 20045 Carmine Red pencils
    • Red is primarily more for special markings and layout and design.
    • Less smudging than graphite.
  • Col-Erase has now been bought out by Prismacolour and the Prismacolour brand will be on all col-erase pencils in the future.
  • Col-Erase Black and Purple have been discontinued by the manufacturer, now only available in sets and kits, while supplies last.
  • COL-Erase Animation Pencils (12 pencils per box) in Red, Blue, or Non-Photo Blue. SKU: SKU00061 $29.99


See also