Here's a simple animation which shows the fundamentals of spacing in your drawings.

The closer your drawings are together, the slower an action will appear, whereas the further apart your drawings are, the quicker your action will appear.

Mixing these in one animation will give your animation a better sense of movement.  This animation principle is often called "Slow in and Slow out" in classical animation terms.

You'll see below as well for creating fire, but using circles as a starting reference point for a lot of different things in animation is quite common, particularly here for this flowing piece of fabric.

I persevered for many years to get to a point where I felt confident animating stylised fire without reference, but I always used reference to understand the movement of fire. My method these days is to use circles as the main "bulk" of the fire, which is a good way of capturing the undulating vortexes of heat and flame.

This is a simple animation just showing the main shapes you could use to start exploring how a flag flows. One thing to consider when creating this idea is making sure the base of the flag is tethered to the flagpole.
This is a simple animation just showing the main shapes you could use to start exploring how a flag flows. One thing to consider when creating this idea is making sure the base of the flag is tethered to the flagpole.

This little animation here is a way of showing how you can exaggerate an action a little more by adding things like anticipation, arcs and pushing the poses more in an action so it's more entertaining.

This is a classic "Flour Sack" exercise that many animators do as a way of experimenting with weight, volume, mass and character.  I produced this for students to show how the "legs" of a flour sack might cross over when it is sneaking across the stage.

REFERENCES

Any good animator should use primary references to inform their movement choices, even if that's simply observing movement first hand to get a rough idea. Analysing captured video reference is a step further to then stylise that movement into your own unique piece of animation.
Below are some suggestions for where you can find some good online sources for movement reference, as well as some of my own, but I'd always suggest to capture your own reference footage to study.
Additionally, lower down, I have included some fun secondary references to old TV shows and movies that you may or may not have seen, but might provide some interesting research that might inspire you.

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