How To Guide: Turn Your Drawings Into Gifs

by Cass Art Student Ambassador

Olivia Beckett is studying Illustration at UWE in Bristol, and she also happens to be a former Cass Art Student Ambassador. In the spirit of our Art for All manifesto, she wanted to give a step-by-step tutorial on how to turn static drawings into moving GIF files - and thrust your sketches into the modern day world of art-making in the process.

Follow her steps and helpful photos and you'll soon be on your way to making your own Gifs.

What you'll need:


Drawing tools (pencil, pen or whatever your preference) 

A computer with Photoshop

How To Make a Gif:

GIFs can be a nice way of bringing your work to life, and it's a really satisfying process when you get the desired end result.

I wouldn’t say I’m particularly tech-savvy, but once you’ve given it a go a few times it becomes pretty simple. I draw the frames by hand and then import them all to photoshop – drawing the frames can require a lot of patience but that’s the beauty of GIFs being so short.

1. Set up somewhere where you can concentrate and sit still for a while.

Step 1 Gif

2. Stick some blank paper down so you’ll be able to see everything you’re drawing very clearly.

3. I use tracing paper to make around 15-30 small frames, or separate drawings. If you want a lot of frames I suggest you keep them small so the drawing process doesn’t take an incredibly long time.

Step 2 GIFS 

4. Once you know what kind of image you want to make, trace it onto a frame and then write little guides for yourself on the directions you want things to move and how.

5. Tape down another tracing paper frame and start drawing! It’s quite easy to make mistakes when you’re working out how to move each frame so take it slowly and carefully. For example, if you want something to move down you need the top frame you’re drawing on to move up. It's a bit of trial and error when you're starting out.


I like the lo-fi aesthetic when using colouring pencils and I’m a lot less precious than when I use pen.

6. Once you’ve finished drawing, scan and number all the frames on the computer. I’ve drawn up the steps for getting them on Photoshop to make it a bit easier for you, below.

Transform drawn frames into Gifs on Photoshop 

7. To Save, go to File and Save for Web. Then just change the image size to around 800x600 and voila - there is your moving Gif.

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