Book Review: Animation: Walt Disney Animation Studios: The Archive Series

Animation: Walt Disney Animation Studios: The Archive Series

John Lasseter mentions in the introduction his first job in college was pulling animation sequences from "the morgue" – Disney's archive of animation artworks. Well, this book is filled with those animation boards from "the morgue". Specifically, these are boards before the clean up process — before sketchy pencil lines are removed and colours, backgrounds added.

The second book in The Archive Series is still a huge thick hardcover with the boards printed gloriously big. Compared to the first volume, every artist is now properly credited to their work. There are a couple of fold-outs which are unnecessary because the art isn't printed across the fold anyway.

This book is primarily on the character art and animation. Artists and animators who want to give their characters life, make them act or emote, will gain a lot from this book. This is more so than the first book because here it features a lot of expressions and gestures. There's no mistaking how the characters feel or what they are doing just by looking at their expressions and poses.

For animation sequences, well, the boards included are actually a mixture of in-sequence and standalone. You'll probably be able to recognise the many memorable scenes, like how Dumbo swings from her mother's trunk (sweet!), when Pinnochio takes his first step or the spaghetti-eating-to-kissing scene (classic!) in The Lady and the Tramp.

Plenty of legendary artists are included, like Ub Iwerks, Norm Ferguson, Ben Sharpsteen, Hamilton Luske, Dick Huemer, Grim Natwick, Art Babbitt, Fred Moore, Bill Tytla, Frank Thomas, Ollie Johnston, Milt Kahl, Marc Davis, John Lounsbery, Ward Kimball, Eric Larson, Les Clark, Wolfgang Reitherman, John Sibley, Bill Justice, Clyde Geronimi, Ted Berman, Glen Keane, Andreas Deja, Eric Goldberg, Mark Henn and Tony Bancroft.

This is an inspiring book recommended to animators.

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Animation: Walt Disney Animation Studios: The Archive Series is available at Amazon (US | CA | UK | DE | FR | IT | JP | CN) and Book Depository

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2 Comments

its a wonderful book - it was

its a wonderful book - it was a day-one purchase for me.
as you mentioned, its all drawings of animation frames - usually not complete frame-by-frame sequences but rather the important frames where you often can see the notes where the inbetween frames between these key pictures have to be inserted to produce the desired animation affect.
i disagree about the foldouts being unnecessary - they allow more frames per page, and thus being able to appreciate the sequence in question easier, noticing the subtleties better without having to constantly flip pages back and forth.

what is a necessary drawback with this book is that while it is of impressive size (a friend likened its appeal to bringing back memories of the fairytale books of his childhood), it can only contain so many snapshots of disneys vast animation history. for every masterful drawing or scene, scores of just-as-memorable ones spring to mind. we dont get any single frame of robin hood, and just one single picture of the "possible mate" dog/girl pairings of 101 dalmatians (walk cycles for those would have been a dream come true). we get some baloo and some king louie, and but one frame of milt kahls astounding shere kahn.
but then, we get more than enough lovely character drawings (edgar of aristocats dancing in shirt and shorts - hilarious!) from all eras, just as much as could possible be crammed inside such a book. there is a lot to be learned from these drawings - not just for people dabbling in animation - because they are drawings made for telling story and character.

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