Nowadays it seems like there's a new online animation school opening every week. But ten years ago no such thing existed. If you wanted to learn animation and didn't quite merit Cal-Arts you were on your own.
So I was very excited when I was at a convention, perhaps around 1998 or so, and happened across a table selling "The Ken Southworth Animation Videos." Ken Southworth had a long career at a number of studios including work on prominent Disney and Hanna-Barbera titles and now he had made an instructional video.
For $29.99 you got a booklet with discussion of animation principals and full-page keyframes ("extremes") he had drawn for you to copy and use in doing the animation exercises.
And... you got a video (in glorious VHS) showing him showing you how to do it! All hand-drawn on paper of course.
Pedagogically it was a bit spare; a half hour of video instruction wasn't quite enough to clear up all the mysteries of the process for me, and curiously it started out with the most complicated exercise first, but I appreciate that he was trying to get some practical information out there.
Here, after all these years, after many aborted attempts, are my "Ken Southworth Basic Animation Kit" exercises. Thanks, Ken, wherever you are!
There are two more "Ken Southworth" volumes after this... I bought those too all those years ago and I may yet do them!
Inkwell Images, the producer of the Ken Southworth videos, doesn't appear to sell them anymore but they do have an assortment of other interesting animation instruction books that you may want to consider.
For what is probably the fifth time in 20 years, I'm attempting to do Kimon Nicolaides' book "The Natural Way to Draw". I'll never get around to three hours of drawing with a nude model every day but I'm aiming to get the flavor the curriculum.
A big part of it is lots of quick gesture drawings. Behold, the first batch: