6 Stick Figure Animators You Should Know

Featured image for “6 Stick Figure Animators You Should Know”

Stick figure animations often mark the starting point for many budding animators. Whether it’s sketching a stick figure in a flip book or experimenting with software, they serve as the initial canvas for artistic expression. Their simplicity transcends cultural and linguistic barriers.

While typical stick figure animation tends to feature fight scenes involving swords, guns, or hand-to-hand combat, some artists have pushed the boundaries to expand stick figure animation into fully developed drama series, music videos, video games, and more.

If you love stick figure animation or are a stick figure animator yourself, take a look at these six stick figure animators who’ve helped define the genre – and gone insanely viral doing so.

1. Alan Becker

Alan Becker is perhaps the most well-known stick figure animator. Currently, his YouTube channel is sitting at over 27 million subscribers and nearly seven billion views for his “Animator vs.” animations which feature a simple stick figure fighting various opponents.

Becker began his series back in 2006 when he released “Animator vs. Animation”. That video was made in Adobe Flash and went viral on Newgrounds, and later on Albino Black Sheep and eBaum’s World.

His success has led to many creative outlets including client work, a merch store, and even a complete Stick Figure Animation Course.

He’s since expanded his team to include multiple animators on his team to streamline his stick-figure animation pipeline.

2. Zhu Zhiqiang

Chinese animator Zhu Zhiqiang started animating stick figures using Adobe Flash when he was just thirteen years old in 1989.

Then, in 2001, he uploaded a limited series called “Xiao Xiao” to Newgrounds and other platforms, and it instantly became a hit. Zhiqiang is perhaps one of the earliest examples of viral stick figure animation, as well as a defining style for most stick figure fight scenes. 

The Xiao Xiao series features the titular character engaging in martial art-style fights against various opponents.

What’s interesting about Zhiqiang’s stick figure style is that it became the subject of a 2004 lawsuit in which Zhiqiang sued Nike for the use of a stick figure in Xiao Xiao’s likeness. Initially, Zhiqiang won the lawsuit and was compensated $36,000 USD, however, Nike successfully appealed to the Beijing High People’s Court in 2006.

3. Gildedguy

Gildedguy is well known for taking stick figure animation to the next level. His videos feature fully rendered characters, backgrounds, and plots. He’s also expanded his animations to include short films, music videos, video games, and his work was even featured in Fortnite’s Short Night 2.

With nearly one million subscribers on his YouTube channel, his videos have been viewed over one hundred million times and he’s been able to monetize his stick figure characters through online merchandise like plushies and keychains, as well as nearly 2,500 Patreons who support his work. 

4. Fabiano Cruz

Fabriano Cruz is a very popular stick figure animator from Brazil who became active on YouTube in 2008 and has since made a career from stick figure animations – even up to today.

His animations frequently feature pop culture heroes like Gohan, Spiderman, or even Mario engaging in fights with each other.

His channel has racked up a whopping 1.4 million subscribers with over 250 million views.

5. ChainsFR

ChainsFR’s channel is a great example of how stick figures can be used to economically animate stories in an engaging way. ChainsFR simply tells a story through voice-over and then animates stick figures to act out the story. Typical videos on his channel include titles like “My First Girlfriend,” “Public Transit Be Like,” or “Middle School in a Nutshell.”

This formula has proved quite successful for ChainsFR as he’s gained almost three million subscribers and has over 250 million views.

6. Eric Kwon

Eric Kwon, or Hyun is another popular YouTube stick figure animator who became known for his “One vs Many” video back in 2011.

His YouTube channel has just under one million subscribers, and his videos have been viewed over 150 million times.

Kwon is also an integral part of the stick figure animation community as he’s the creator of Hyun’s Dojo, an active online forum of stick figure animators from around the world.

The community’s YouTube channel boasts two and a half million subscribers and over half a billion views. Artists have also come together to create hundreds of collab videos and any artist is encouraged to reach out to be featured on the community’s channel.

Want to Make Your Own Stick Figure Animations?

If you’ve been thinking of getting started with stick-figure animations, why not learn from the best? We partnered with Alan Becker – the most popular stick figure animator – to create a comprehensive masterclass featuring over 40 video lessons that include absolutely everything you need to know to get started right now.

Making an Animated Short (FREE ebook)

A free ebook covering the process of making an animated short film from start to finish.