I thinks its good to be able to relate multiplication to various pictures. If one can grok that a straight line on a X-Y graph that goes through the origin, is a picture (a graph, really) of multiplication by some fixed parameter (2, say, or 1/3, whatever) then that also answers the question. If one can understand that your animation and the graph are "telling the same story" with slightly different illustrations, so much the better. Another picture that tells the story is to simply look at multiples of 1/2. What is 2 x 1/2 apple (two halves of an apple?) What is 1/2 of half an apple?