I was an early adopter to Instagram. I started my first account in 2011 — just a couple of months after they initially launched. My first image was not the most captivating.
Back then, Instagram was the Wild West of image sharing. Most of the early posts had these ridiculous filters and faux-film frames and were shot on the terrible smartphone cameras of the times.
Heck, hashtags didn’t even exist in the context of Instagram’s first version.
Taming the Wild West
Things have changed quite a bit since then. It has become yet another platform to put yourself out there, and lately I’ve noticed that it’s become a firehose of content (just as Justin Cone has said about Vimeo). Everyone is trying to scream louder than the next.
But beyond the hip mom with her pristine white walls and kids who dress better than you; the obsessively perfect human specimens who exercise 25 hours a day and seem to have no problem only taking pictures of themselves and their impossible physiques; and the occasional actual celebrity — who are sometimes both of the other two types — who else is competing for our follows and likes?
Instagram started as a purely photo-driven app. It functioned with the intent to encapsulate and share a moment as it happened. Eventually, photographers glommed on and began taking it to the next level — many of which took photos with professional grade cameras and prime lenses, posting to their feeds while opening up a debate on how Instagram should be used. That debate seemed to fade away from discussion and Instagram became the firehouse it is today.
A promotional platform emerges
Now that artists, illustrators, and — with the addition of video support — animators have seen the power of Instagram’s reach, it has become a platform for prospective clients to gauge the relevance of any given creatively-minded individual.
Due to the app’s limitations, it’s not the best place to view full spots or short films. But it is a great place to see animation clips, works in progress, lost styleframes that otherwise would vanish into the ether, and even experimental pieces that may not have a venue elsewhere.
I am urging everyone who frequents Motionographer and who has an Instagram account to follow all of the users I’ve listed below — as long as you like the work, of course — and to further extend the dialogue between artist and fan.
On Instagram, curation comes from not only the artist’s feed but also from who you choose to follow and engage with in your own feed.
Shameless plug (with a purpose)
One quick note about my own personal journey through Instagram. At the start of this year, I made a decision to start a personal art/illustration account as an outlet for my own creativity. (I’ll admit it is a shameless self-promo plug to drop it here, but it is relevant.)
I am using it to challenge myself to make as many images as I can and to post as often as I can, from once a day to multiple posts in a day. It’s also a great place to push my own personal “style” or “voice” and to have a place where I can chart my own progress.
For anyone who needs motivation to make more, Instagram is a great tool to build a following, engage with that audience through your work, and possibly even build a revenue stream, either through marketing the work you post as objects for sale or by finding the right client.
40 Instagram accounts you should be following
Without further ado, here’s my top 40 list of Instagram accounts (in alphabetical order) that you should be following.
ARM (Thanat Sattavorn)
Arm’s feed is nearly all animation and it’s all done really well. The feed is a bit slow but when he does post it’s always refreshing.
The one and only Ash Thorp, who at this point needs no explanation, has an awesome feed of his sci-fi inspired images comic art mixed with his intense UI work.
Adam is a great director and animator but his Instagram feed is chock full of cinematic images with amazing compositions and colors.
Animade’s feed is a fun mix of their minimal character and design work and slick animation.
I love everything Andrew does. Plain as that.
Anchor Point represents a lot of up and coming creative collectives and directors worldwide. The feed combines works from their roster in both still and animated form.
Bryce is a veteran of the industry and a master of many styles, but his feed consists of images from his personal art — which is incredible. He has been one of my favorite designers for a very long time, and it should be obvious why.
How does one man even make this stuff let alone at the pace he does. It’s insane, truly. Just go check it out.
Benjy’s work is definitely Moebius and Zapp comic-inspired but his animation timing and hand animation skills are out of this world. His feed is mostly personal work, and I am fine with that, because it’s amazing.
Do I need to say more?
Brikk has been up to some great stuff over the last couple of years. The feed is animation heavy.
I loved Sebas and Clim and was bummed to see them separate, but Clim is still doing amazing stuff as his feed proves day after day.
David is one of my favorite designers and directors in our industry. I love his choice of color and texture, and his style is constantly evolving.
Devicers have been one of my favorite recent finds. The Primavera Sound Line Up film they did introduced me to them on Vimeo, and on Instagram I stayed for their constant stream of awesomeness.
Gentleman Scholar has a great feed of their studio life — and what a beautiful studio they have. They also give their account over to different artists at the studio each week to keep things fresh and full of surprises.
Do I really need to say why you should follow Giant Ant? Just do it. They are amazing.
We all know and love his work. His feed is a “what am I looking at exactly” game, and it’s fun and beautiful and never dull.
Jaw dropping posts on the reg. You probably already know Golden Wolf and follow them, but for those who don’t… why?
Gregg is seriously doing amazing stuff. Last year he did the Mythical Mondays project. I can’t wait to see what he does this year.
Gunner is another up and coming shop that I am excited about. Their feed is a bit light right now, but each animation post has my mouth watering.
Impactist makes beautiful images. Plain and simple.
Jake is a true veteran of motion, but I’ve always felt photography was his true calling. Look at his feed to see why. Some of his shots were used in the second season of True Detective. That is how good they are.
Let me just put this out there: I love Jay’s work. Like I really love it. And so should you. Looking forward to seeing what he does with the good people of Oddfellows!
Jean-Michel’s 3D explorations are fantastic and captivating, and his style really shines through in his feed.
By day he’s a warm and fuzzy director. By night, he’s living a sultry life in black and white. The images come in bursts and always leave me enthralled.
Kyle’s last 8 or so posts have me hungry for more. He’s one of the secrets of Buck’s success, so follow him to keep up with the best.
Magoz has a great feed of clever editorial illustration and simple animation. Love his use of color and proportions in his characters.
This is hands down my favorite animation feed on Instagram. Markus is a golden god.
Nicolas’ work is outstanding and a bit out there. Lots of double tapping on his feed.
Oddfellows just ramped up talent and opened a new studio in Portland. Exciting things are bound to happen and so much goodness already has happened. Can’t wait to see more from them.
Polyester Studio does some solid animation work that’s worth a follow and some love.
I discovered Romain’s work when he followed me, and boy am I glad he did. Great stuff to feast your eyes on.
Rafael is an amazing illustrator and now an art director at Giant Ant. His feed is full of his illustrative work and amazing character design.
Sarah Beth Hulver
Sarah Beth has quite an amazing kitchen sink feed with pictures from her life with her beaux @tymo_ and her cat. Her illustration and lettering work is pretty top notch, too!
Every image Sean takes is a piece of art. You won’t get much in terms of his stop motion masterpieces, but you will probably like every image of his you scroll by.
Tactile Matter/Kenesha Sneed
Kenesha may be more into pottery than styleframes these days, but boy is that pottery gorgeous.
Tim’s work spans a plethora of styles. His drawing is out of this world bizarre, but it was his minimal Tiny Adventures that left me wanting so much more!
Tuna’s built quite a big following already, but there’s a reason behind it: She’s immensely talented and deserves another follower for her nearly 50K fan base.
I love Yukai’s style, which I think has influenced character design in motion graphics over the last couple of years. Love her patterns, animation and color choices.
While I generally am not a huge fan of this type of work, I think Zeitguised was one of the first and they do it well.