Stick Figure Animation Explainer Video 101


No matter how bad we might be as artists, everybody can draw a stick figure, right?

It’s not rocket science. All you need to do is draw one vertical line, adding a circle at the top for the head, and four shorter lines that each end in a tiny circle to give your figure arms complete with hands and legs ending in feet. Easy peasy.

This logic, I suspect, is one of the major reasons why the stick figure animation style hasn’t gained an abundance of hardcore fans – people think it’s too easy. Way too easy. An explainer video will cost you thousands of dollars, and you want to get a video that looks like it’s worth thousands of dollars instead of looking easy. Hence not many people are interested in using this style when making an explainer video.

The thing is, if managed properly, even a stick figure explainer video can attract viewers as much as your 2.5D video did. Take a look at this video that we did for Connexin as an example:


It used stick figures, but instead of looking easy – it actually worked. It’s funny without trying too hard, easy on the eyes, and also delivers the right amount of information.

If you’re one of those who eliminated the stick figure style right away from your possible list of styles, here are five reasons why you should consider letting it back into the mix.

First of all, the style continues to gain in popularity. Thanks to the 9gag-craze a couple of years ago, the younger generation is suddenly familiar with stick figure characters through what they call “memes.” – Like Cereal Guy, for example. You might not recognize him by the name, but one look at the picture below, and you’ll exactly know who I mean.

Right? That being said, if your target market is mostly the younger generation, a character similar to the Cereal Guy might work for you.

Second, it’s approachable. If you think a thin, expressionless stick figure character doesn’t have what it takes to charm your viewers – you’re mistaken. Stick figure characters do not lack in terms of expressing an emotion. If the stick figure from Connexin made us go aww, the Cereal Guy made us laugh. I bet it can make us laugh harder or go aww even longer when it stars in a video. Don’t you think?

Third, not only is the stick figure quite limitless in the expression division, but it’s also limitless in creativity. If you’re not a fan of tall, extremely thin figures that remind you of Fido Dido (that’s the guy on 7UP), if he got skinnier and bald, well, you can make your figure short and rounder – like the characters in this video we created for Mango Moose:

Still the same stick figure, with the round head and shorter sticks and circles for the arms and feet, but it gives a completely different feel, right?

Fourth, continuing with the assumption that stick figure animation is easy. Well, it’s not. It is true that you can make it yourself. A lot of apps provide the service – but are you sure it will be, well, entertaining to watch? One thing that’s true is that it’s not that time-consuming. So if you’re dealing with a pretty tight deadline and are looking for a style that’s good but will save you time – then stick figure it is.

Fifth, why go for a more expensive video style to explain your business when the stick figure characters can do it better and cheaper? You already know your business like the back of your hand, right? Now picture a character, or several, in stick-figure style. Then, try to imagine the characters wobbling here and there to introduce your business in the smartest way possible. Like Connexin, or Mango Moose. If you were a viewer, someone totally unbiased, would you be interested? If the answer is yes, then get over your hesitation!

To close things up succinctly, just in case you need to assure your boss or partners that using a stick figure character will be a plus for your video instead of the opposite — tell them this: it’s not the style or the medium that matters, but how you deliver the story. Or, in your case, the introduction to your business.


Andre Oentoro is the founder of Breadnbeyond, an award winning explainer video company. He helps business increase conversion rates, close more sales, and get positive ROI from explainer videos (in that order). 

Twitter: @breadnbeyond
LinkedIn: Andre Oentoro


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