I think it’s VERY important to look outside of animation and learn new things. Practicing a lot is great because it will strengthen your understanding of how the medium works and get you more comfortable with your workflow. However, it won’t enrich your mind with new ideas and concepts. People-watching, reading a good book, and pretty much just living your life will teach you A LOT about animation.
You can find tons of little nuggets in your everyday life which somehow relate to animation. Well-polished movement that’s nice and snappy is visually pleasing, but that’s not what makes us laugh and cry… It’s the acting choices and the ideas that do. This is not something you learn by sitting in front of your computer screen and moving things around, you get it from observing life itself! A excerpt from an interview with Rani Namaani, an Animator at Dreamworks Animation. see full article