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

Walt Disney Animation Studios The Archive Series: Story

The Archive Series: Story is a huge and thick hardcover book. Although the title has the word "story" in it, readers looking for the Disney storytelling process will be sorely disappointed. John Lasseter's foreword is pretty much all the text in the book.

This book is about storyboards.

Over hundreds of storyboard panels are included in the book, for movies and shorter episodes. Some of the titles include The Three Little Pigs, Snow White (1937), Dumbo (1941), Alice in Wonderland (1951), The Jungle Book (1967), Beauty and the Beast(1991) and a whole lot more, including lesser known ones. The latest one is the 2002 Lilo & Stitch. This book is an archive of storyboards created for traditional animation.

There are about 1 to 6 storyboards on each page. There are no captions although a few of them have scene descriptions and scribbles. This archive picks random storyboard sequences from each animation. Unfortunately, most of the storyboard sequences are not complete. Many times I have followed through interesting sequences only to be cut off with a new title on the next page. It's really a minor quibble given the hundreds of thousands of storyboards to choose for the book.

Plenty of legendary artists are included, like Bill Peet, Burny Mattison, Joe Rinaldi, Ub Iwerks, Eric Goldberg, Marc Davis, Mel Shaw, Roger Allers, Joe Ranft, Chris Sanders, Hans Bacher, Elmer Plumer, Gaetan and Paul Brizzi, Erdman Penner, Ferdinand Horvath, Glen Keane, Brenda Chapman, Gustaf Tenggren, Ken Anderson, Andy Gaskill, Kay Neilsen, John Dunn, Earl Hurd, Webb Smith, and Carl Barks, just to name a few. The artists are credited to their work on the index at the back.

This whole book is an example of masterful application of storyboard techniques, like cutting scenes, composing, moving the (camera) view and stuff like that. But you must already know some basics to see them — this is not an instructional book. There are also plenty of styles of art to look at. It's valuable resource for anyone into storyboards.

This is a highly quality book that's pretty much worth the money, but a more appropriate title would be "The Archive Series: Storyboards".

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