14 awe-inspiring flip books

Flip book
(Image credit: Andymation)

Flip books have been enjoyed since the late 1800s, and flip book animation is now recognised as one of the first forms of interactive media. Creating flip books is still popular among artists, with beautiful and inspirational designs still being made every day. 

Artists can express themselves their flip book animations, adding personality and expression not found in more formal pieces – in a similar way to these top examples of doodle art. In this article, we've picked our favourite examples of flip books. 

01. Super Mario Bros 1985 FlipBook

Watch this flip book and feel you've jumped straight into playing an actual Super Mario game. The level of detail is astounding, from the characters themselves to the points indicators, which pop up as Mario collects flowers and squishes Goombas. Mario even grows big. You can support Flip Book Artist on their Patreon page, and see more on their YouTube channel.

02. Grumpy Cloud

Grumpy Cloud is a hand drawn flip book, full of wit and personality. Though it's a super-short flip book animation, drawn in a simple style, it tells a real story through the vivid characters and colours. Andymation is a seasoned flip book artist – check out his YouTube channel for more of his work, including a video showing how the Grumpy Cloud animation was created.

03. Connect the dots

Flip books: Dots & Lines

Dots & Lines invites you to create flip book animations by connecting the dots (Image credit: Zumbakamera/Flipboku)

Created by animation studio Zumbakamera, Dots & Lines are a pair of flip books (released by Flipboku), which invite you to connect the dots to make jumping characters and spinning geometric shapes. Dots (see it above) features animations, whereas Lines displays optical illusions. Each book has multiple animations, depending on where you put your thumb to flip the pages. It's a fun, interactive riff on the flip book and it serves as some great inspiration.

04. Leonardo DiCaprio gets his Oscar

It was a glorious moment when Leonardo DiCaprio finally won an Oscar for Best Actor for his performance in The Revenant. And you can relive the heartwarming experience over and over again, thanks to this brilliant (and surprising!) offering from flip book animator, The Flippist.

05. Best 2014 World Cup goals

What better way to demonstrate your pen skills than creating a flip book celebrating the best goals of the 2014 World Cup. That's exactly what Stabilo has done here, and the result is a great mix of ball control and animation skills.

06. Hole punch

You don't need the best pencils or pens to create an amazing flip book. Here, Scott Blake used a hole punch to create a mesmerising animated pattern with added depth. It might be short, but it bears plenty of rewatching as you try to figure out exactly how he did it.

07. Colibri

Artist Juan Fontanive has one-upped the original flip book and has created a series of flipbook machines. Combining sculpture and animation, this gorgeous bird-themed illustrated flipbook will inspire any artist. Hand-assembled by Fontanive, the motorised machines allow the illustrations to speak for themselves – showcasing the intricate detail with every flip.

08. Harmine cat

These Lightly Books were created by Japanese illustrator Harumin Asao and see a wide range of kooky and quirky characters coming to colourful life. We love her illustrative style and the way she incorporates this into her flip books.

09. Spilling water

This series of mechanical flip books is an original kinetic art project by Wendy Marvel and Mark Arnon Rosen. The photos used in the sequence were taken by Eadweard Muybridge, 1830-1904. You can see more from the series on the mechanical flip book website.

10. Brief History of Pretty Much Everything

We just love this inspiring flip book by artist James Francis Bell aka DispleasedEskimo. At just over three minutes long, hundreds of awesome biro drawings tell a brief history of, well, pretty much everything. It's not hard to see why this animation has had over 4.2 million views on YouTube. Just brilliant.

11. LG Viewty

We can't even imagine how long it took the artist who created the detailed illustrations for these Matrix-inspired flip books. The animations are part of a commercial created for the LG Viewty mobile phone. And the company clearly chose the right medium to advertise with, the spot having been viewed over 16 million times on YouTube.

12. Submarine vs Bayonet

Another from artist Ben Zurawski, aka The Flippist, was inspired by President Obama's talk about bayonets and submarines in a presidential debate with Mitt Romney. The outcome? A short but very sweet 30-second animation, which depicts the candidates playing a game of Battleship. Zurawski's has many other brilliant flip books on his YouTube channel, including another humorous one featuring Romney.

13. Cut out flipbook

Our minds were a little blown when we first saw this amazing flip book by paper engineer Matt Shilan. As the pages turn so does the shape that features upon them, creating a jaw-dropping 3D effect. You will watch this more than once. Guaranteed.

14. Let Me Drive

Flipbooks are clearly popular among music video directors, this time featuring in Canadian indie rock group Winter Gloves track Let Me Drive. Using individual photos of the band in various poses and situations, the images were translated onto paper and assembled as flip books to create the band's performance.

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Dom Carter

Dom Carter is a freelance writer who specialises in art and design. Formerly a staff writer for Creative Bloq, his work has also appeared on Creative Boom and in the pages of ImagineFX, Computer Arts, 3D World, and .net. He has been a D&AD New Blood judge, and has a particular interest in picture books.