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Book Review: Paper Dreams: The Art And Artists Of Disney Storyboards

Paper Dreams: The Art And Artists Of Disney Storyboards

Paper Dreams is an oversize book about the storyboards and artists working for Walt Disney Studios. The author John Canemaker has provided great depth through his research and writing compared to the other book on storyboard that I have, Walt Disney Animation Studios The Archive Series: Story.

Published in 1999, the book takes a close look at the storytelling department of Disney, from where storyboards were created — sketches on the floor of Webb Smith's office were pinned to the board for the first time. John Canemaker has loaded the book with lots of quotes from Walt Disney, the animators and story artists, providing insights into the storytelling process. The evolution of storyboards and their relevance are laid out to us, as each animated short gets progressively longer until full length movies were created.

There are chapters on profiles of story artists and their work. The more famous ones include Bill Peet, Joe Ranft, Joe Grant, Chris Sanders, among many others. We're introduced to their personal style of storytelling, their characteristics and interaction with other artists. There are many interesting stories like how Walt would criticise storyboards so as to improve them, a process which was called "plussing", or how different artists would defend their boards against critiques from others.

In addition to the commentary, the book's also filled with original storyboard scans from the library, photographs and paintings, all selected from their impressive archive from 1930s to the late 1990s.

There's a lot to be learned from the book, highly recommended to animation fans, art students, Disney collectors and pop culture enthusiasts.

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Paper Dreams: The Art And Artists Of Disney Storyboards is available at Amazon (US | CA | UK | DE | FR | JP) and Book Depository

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