Animation (Walt Disney Animation Archives)

        Category: Book Reviews Disney | Article posted on: June 15, 2011

With an introduction by John Lasseter—and very little else in the way of words—this second book in The Artist Series lavishly showcases the most brilliant animation created by such luminaries as 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. The artwork—much of which has never before been published—offers the opportunity to marvel at the those magical lines of pencil that brought life to so many unforgettable Disney characters. Animation represents a rare opportunity to enjoy a glimpse into the truly spectacular trove of treasures from the Walt Disney Animation Research Library.

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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.

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. 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, when Pinnochio takes his first step or the spaghetti-eating-to-kissing scene in The Lady and the Tramp.

The book beautifully reflects a history that began when typical animation terminology, such as ‘in-betweening’, wasn’t even heard of, and when animators had no literature to learn from. The appreciation comes from acknowledging that these legendary artists developed the medium themselves, and thanks to the relentless nature of Walt himself, they were able to develop the art, document it and pass on everything they had learnt to others so that ‘animation’ became 24 frames a second of pure art.