2D animation presents an individual artist's style which can be seen in every drawing or frame. You can make a film as a group or do it all by yourself, however both take time and sometimes money. Drawing animation does take time and practice, to get better you can come up with short ideas or scenes featuring a simple storyline or experiment on a technique. The word to practice is keeping your project short. So many people jump into wanting to make an animated feature film, but its better to think smaller.
One day, British animator Simon Tofield bought a Wacom tablet and wanted to make a short by teaching himself to animate using 2D software. He came up with a funny house cat character based on his cat, who bugs his owner to pay attention to him and hopefully feed him in the process. One short, lead to another and when release to the internet, we now have "Simon's Cat".
I donated the finish product to an organization in Chicago that was promoting Earth Day at the time. I met a guy at this organization who was able to put sound to my animation, the one thing I didn't know how to do. It was kind of a backward situation; I made an animated short promoting recycling which was transfer to 3/4 video, needed a sound track and had to be converted from 35mm to video. See how easy it is today...
In the end, they had a free PSA and I had a nice animation sample with sound for my reel and to send to film festivals. It won 3rd in the ASIFA-EAST animation festival and this decade, it was shown at the Green Living series conference in New York.
I believe Animators must be paid for their work and in those days, I needed to get more samples on my reel to get more work down the road. A reel is an Animator's portfolio. It prove that you can animate and showcases your style of work. So don't work for free unless you see there is a benefit to you other than money.
If there is something you would like me to go over or have any other suggestions, comments or questions, please let me know!