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

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

Of the three books from The Archive Series, this is my favourite. It covers design or the concept art for animated films.

This 256-page hardcover is filled with beautiful character designs, background paintings and storyboards. There are Mary Blair's paintings, wonderful layouts from Hans Bacher, the Lilo and Stitch drawings from Chris Sanders, pastel colour scripts from Bolt animated films and more. The art here is way more colourful than the previous two volumes on Story and Animation.

There is work dating back to the 1920s up to the latest animated films like The Princess and the Frog, and even Tangled. You will be able to see how the art has evolved with time, and the various Disney artists that have worked there and some are still working there now. There are so many styles to look at, from pencil animated characters to watercolour scenes to oil paintings.

If you have other Disney art books, some pieces of work are actually repeated, but about one fifth of the them are published here for the first time. Even so, this is a wonderful collection to get. And if you have to get only one volume out of The Archive Series, I'll recommend this volume.

This is a beautiful and inspiring collection.

Some of the artists included are Albert Hurter, Ferdinand Horvath, Joe Grant, Maurice Noble, Gustaf Tenggren, Tyrus Wong, Kay Nielsen, David Hall, Mel Shaw, Mary Blair, Bianca Majolie, Yale Gracey, Eyvind Earle, Walt Peregoy, Ken Anderson, James Coleman, Jean Gillmore, Rowland Wilson, Glen Keane, Chris Sanders, Andreas Deja, Mike Gabriel, Mike Giaimo, Hans Bacher, Chen Yi Chang, Paul Felix, Aaron Blaise, Ian Gooding, and John Musker.

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This book was borrowed from Basheer Graphic Books for review purposes. You can order the book from them. Check with Basheer on Facebook or visit their website.

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

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This book was borrowed from Basheer Graphic Books for review purposes. You can order the book from them. Check with Basheer on Facebook or visit their website.

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9 Comments

i got this the other day, fab

i got this the other day, fab book , im glad the inner brown paper inside the cover didnt rip like the first time i opened the cover of the first of the Archive series books, lucklily the 2nd book in the series didnt rip either so thats a good thing :) there that big i have to lie them flat on my bookshelf lol

yes, its a great book, as is

yes, its a great book, as is the rest of the series.

in my opinion, its strongest where it shows alternate designs, just so you can fathom what the film could have looked like. ever since seeing chris sanders' storyboards for beauty and the beast, i cant stop thinking about having a sanders-y b&b film :) and now, theres one of his designs for the beast in it, which is absolutely hilarious.
also, lionfish medusa is amazing.

the early stylistic attempts of hans bacher for a much more realistic-looking lion king are a sight to behold (and reproduced much larger than in "dream worlds")

my favorite still is the 2nd one, because it does not just allow us to look at what could have been, looks wise, but look at that peculiar stage in the production where magic happens. if the disney archives did a set of flippable drawing sequences from the nine old men, id be all over it. O.O

I think this is a great book

I think this is a great book as well- so many packed pages- I actually think this is one of the top 5 disney art books- but Ill be honest, the pages themselves have an odd, thin, cheap sort of feel to them. I wish they could have afforded to produce the series with a better paper stock. But besides that- lots and lots of visual dev in this book!

I agree with the comment

I agree with the comment above. The paper stock for this book seems cheap compared to the first two books. The overall book is beautiful, but there are some pages that have that gritty texture, almost as if they were printed on a color copier. Given the advances in color-copy printers, I wouldn't be surprised if many books whose print-runs are small are being done on high-end copiers. Overall, i would still certainly recommend this book to those who appreciate art.

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