Start with short projects ranging from a few seconds to one minute long and complete them. Don't try animating 5 to 10 minutes for your first few samples you may never get them done. Short and complete is good.
Life drawing. Life drawing. Life drawing.
Use the top peg bar if you don't want your hand to lay on the bottom screws and bottom pegs while you're drawing. Use the bottom peg bar if you prefer to flip multiple sheets to see the motion, while animating.
Allow yourself to think about a scene for a while before you start animating. Spend a little time thinking about the action, the motivation, the humor, the follow-throughs and anything else that will enhance the scene.
A great way to animate smoke is to use charcoal on white, use multiply on the image (a command that removes white in most compositing programs; it's also automatic in most ink and paint programs), change the line color to white, and then take it out of focus. Below is an animated sample of this process.
|Smoke animated with black charcoal; the line color is changed to white
then blurred for the effect.
Don't color in the shadows on the final clean-up art, even with blue. The shading will show up in the scans.
Use a red pencil for shadow lines. They will still scan black, but then they can also be used as a reference by the digital ink and paint crew to indicate which lines are the shadow lines.
Use peg hole reinforcements, much like binder paper hole reinforcements, but sized and shaped to fit over peg-bar pegs, when the paper holes start to get loose.