Thursday, June 15, 2017

BIRTH OF AN INDUSTRY (2015, Nicholas Sammond)

Nicholas Sammond. Birth of an Industry: Blackface Minstrelsy and the Rise of American Animation. Durham, Duke University Press, 2015.

/ PDF / English / 400 pages /0822358522 / 978-0822358527

In Birth of an Industry, Nicholas Sammond describes how popular early American cartoon characters were derived from blackface minstrelsy. He charts the industrialization of animation in the early twentieth century, its representation in the cartoons themselves, and how important blackface minstrels were to that performance, standing in for the frustrations of animation workers. Cherished cartoon characters, such as Mickey Mouse and Felix the Cat, were conceived and developed using blackface minstrelsy's visual and performative conventions: these characters are not like minstrels; they are minstrels. 
They play out the social, cultural, political, and racial anxieties and desires that link race to the laboring body, just as live minstrel show performers did. Carefully examining how early animation helped to naturalize virulent racial formations, Sammond explores how cartoons used laughter and sentimentality to make those stereotypes seem not only less cruel, but actually pleasurable. Although the visible links between cartoon characters and the minstrel stage faded long ago, Sammond shows how important those links are to thinking about animation then and now, and about how cartoons continue to help to illuminate the central place of race in American cultural and social life

Sunday, June 11, 2017

THE ART OF WALT DISNEY (1988, Christopher Finch)

Christopher Finch. The Art Of Walt Disney: From Mickey Mouse to the Magic Kingdoms. New York. Portland House. 1988

/ PDF / English / 160 pages / 0517664747 / 978-0517664742

First published in 1973, The Art of Walt Disney is one of the most successful and influential illustrated art books on American popular culture ever published. This book was the first to reveal the wealth of concept art, animation drawings, and archival material created in the course of animating films. In this newly revised edition, author Christopher Finch has thoroughly reworked every chapter to incorporate the vast achievements of The Walt Disney Company in filmmaking, theater, and theme parks, from Walt’s day to the present, including all-new exciting chapters on Pixar Animation Studio and Walt Disney Animation along with extensive interviews with their chief creative officer, John Lasseter, and president, Ed Catmull. Offering hundreds of new images and unparalleled access to leading filmmakers and artists at The Walt Disney Company, The Art of Walt Disney will once again capture the imaginations of animation fans young and old.

Friday, June 9, 2017

OUT OF THE INKWELL (2011, Richard Fleischer)

Richard Fleischer. Out of the Inkwell: Max Fleischer and the Animation Revolution. Lexington University Press of Kentucky, 2011.

/ PDF / / English / / 232pages / 0813134641 / 978-0813134642

Max Fleischer (1883–1972) was for years considered Walt Disney's only real rival in the world of cartoon animation. The man behind the creation of such legendary characters as Betty Boop and the animation of Popeye the Sailor and Superman, Fleischer asserted himself as a major player in the development of Hollywood entertainment. Out of the Inkwell: Max Fleischer and the Animation Revolution is a vivid portrait of the life and world of a man who shaped the look of cartoon animation. Also interested in technical innovation, Fleischer invented the rotoscope―a device that helped track live action and allowed his cartoons to revolutionize the way animated characters appeared and moved on-screen. In the 1920s, Fleischer created a series of "Out of the Inkwell" films, which led to a deal with Paramount.

Their character KoKo the Clown introduced new animation effects by growing out of Fleischer's pen on-screen. As the sound revolution hit film, the studio produced shorts featuring the characters interacting with songs and with the now-famous bouncing ball that dances across lyrics projected on the screen. Max Fleischer's story is also one of a creative genius struggling to fit in with the changing culture of golden age cinema. Out of the Inkwell captures the twists and turns, the triumphs and disappointments, and most of all the breathless energy of a life vibrantly lived in the world of animation magic. (Amazon)

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

THE ART OF THE IRON GIANT (2016, Ramin Zahed)

Ramin Zahed. The Art of The Iron Giant. Insight Editions, 2016.

/ PDF / English / 144 pages / 1608878880 /  978-1608878888

This beautifully illustrated book revisits the classic film The Iron Giant, with unprecedented access to rarely seen development art and storyboards from the Warner Bros. archives.
In director Brad Bird’s beloved and critically acclaimed 1999 movie The Iron Giant, an inquisitive young boy named Hogarth Hughes forms a powerful friendship with a robot visitor from outer spaceSet in the days of the Cold War, the film follows the adventures of Hogarth and the Iron Giant as they try to escape a town’s hysteria, a shady government agent, and the US military.
Featuring the voices of Vin Diesel, Jennifer Aniston, Harry Connick Jr., Cloris Leachman, John Mahoney, and Eli Marienthal, The Iron Giant is considered one of the classic animated gems of the era, offering a beautiful mix of hand-drawn and CG animation. In celebration of the timeless legacy of the film, Warner Bros. released a special remastered Signature Edition featuring two new scenes.

The Art of The Iron Giant takes an in-depth look at the making of this modern classic, featuring interviews with the director and the talented members of the creative team who worked endless hours to bring their vision to the big screen. Including never-before-seen images, concept art, backgrounds, and storyboards, this deluxe volume provides fascinating insight into the creative process, in addition to offering a sneak peek at some of the alternative images and plotlines the filmmakers considered before coming up with the final version of the movie. Showcasing the brilliant work of Brad Bird and his tireless team of masterful artists, The Art of The Iron Giant is a must-have companion to the movie and a wonderful testament to the enduring magic of this animated classic. (Amazon)

HOLLYWOOD CARTOONS (2003, Michael Barrier)

Michael Barrier. Hollywood Cartoons: American Animation in Its Golden Age. Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2003.

/ PDF / English / 672 pages / 0195167295 978-0195167290

In Hollywood Cartoons, Michael Barrier takes us on a glorious guided tour of American animation in the 1930s, '40s, and '50s, to meet the legendary artists and entrepreneurs who created Bugs Bunny, Betty Boop, Mickey Mouse, Wile E. Coyote, Donald Duck, Tom and Jerry, and many other cartoon favorites.

Beginning with black-and-white silent cartoons, Barrier offers an insightful account, taking us inside early New York studios and such Hollywood giants as Disney, Warner Bros., and MGM. Barrier excels at illuminating the creative side of animation--revealing how stories are put together, how animators develop a character, how technical innovations enhance the "realism" of cartoons. Here too are colorful portraits of the giants of the field, from Walt and Roy Disney and their animators, to Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera.
Based on hundreds of interviews with veteran animators, Hollywood Cartoons gives us the definitive inside look at this colorful era and at the creative process behind these marvelous cartoons. (Amazon)

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Thursday, April 20, 2017


Ken Shue. A Disney Sketchbook. Disney Editions, 2012.

/ PDF / English / 152 pages / 1423165691 /978-1423165699

Thursday, March 30, 2017

THE ART OF PIXAR (2011, Amid Amidi)

Amid Amidi, The Art of Pixar: The Complete Colorscripts and Select Art from 25 Years of Animation, San Francisco, Chronicle Books, 2011.

/ Epub / English / 320 pages / 0811879631 / 978-0811879637

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

FUNNY! (2015, Jason Katz)

Jason Katz. Funny!: Twenty-Five Years of Laughter from the Pixar Story Room. San Francisco, Chronicle Books, 2015.

/ PDF / English / 168 pages / 1452122288 /  978-1452122281

The funny pictures are always diformed, with certain characteristics exagerated. But the thing is you pretty much know who are these characters: speaks about how Pixar is now part of Pop Culture... Their characters are as recognizable as Mickey, Chaplin, Bugs Bunny, Michael Jackson, Nomi Malone or:
"I'm funny how, I mean funny like I'm a clown, I amuse you? I make you laugh, I'm here to fuckin' amuse you? What do you mean funny, funny how? How am I funny?... You said I'm funny. How the fuck am I funny, what the fuck is so funny about me? Tell me, tell me what's funny!"

Saturday, March 25, 2017

THE NOBLE APPROACH (2013, Tod Polson)

Tod Polson. The Noble Approach: Maurice Noble and the Zen of Animation Design. San Francisco, Chronicle Books, 2013.

/ PDF / English / 176 pages / 1452102945 / 978-1452102948

Nice book about the most influential animation designer of all time. There's also a bit of a bio here: his humble beginnings at the art school, working with Disney: he was the background painter in many of the Silly Symphonies, notably the Oscar winning The Old Mill (1937), eventually he became a background/layout artist working in Snow Whites, Bambi, Pinocchio, Fantasia and Dumbo... and then, he joined the strike against Disney! he was one of the very few "selected circle" artists to join, he had everything to lose but he did it anyways cause "it wasn't fair to the guys on the lower rungs". So he fought, won and... finally leave :(
During the war time period, started the first of many collaborations with Friz Freleng, Chuck Jones, Bob Clampett, Robert Mackimson.  
In 1951 he joined the Chuck Jones animation unit as layout designer and history was made, thus it begans his work at Warner Bros. Designing and creating background layouts for Duck Amuck, What's Opera Doc?, Kiss Me Cat. Then Working at MGM, retirement and coming out in the 90's. Etc. Etc.

But mainly this is an outline on the design philosophies of Maurice Noble, ilustrated with some of his designs: where to get inspiration from, how to choose color, how to break down the layout, etc. His logical approach to animation design: "Backgrounds and characters should work in harmony" and a simple line art style never interferes with a gag, design should always support a story not the other way around. (by pelida77)     

By the way, if you are any interested in background art take a peek at this amazing blog by Rob Richards:

"The real art of animation is filled with ideas and beauty and is never-ending joy"
(Maurice Noble)

Thursday, March 16, 2017


Don Peri. Working with Disney: Interviews with Animators, Producers, and Artists. Jackson, University Press of Mississippi, 2011.

/ EPUB / English / 192 pages / 1604739401 / 978-1604739404

Frank Thomas reveal us a picture about Walt, and what exactly made him so great: couldn't actually animate or even draw, couldn't write, wasn't a designer... He just knew exactly which was the right way to go and what was good and what wasn't "He was always right" (Dave Hand) though he shares some of his regrets on how they weren't able to follow the path traced by Fantasia (1941) (seems to blame the war for that)
Ollie Johnston tell the story of the dark days of the strike... such an emotional episode, leaving a mark on everyone involved, almost 40 years later!
According to Marc Davis, Wilfred Jackson was pedantic as fuck and Le Clarc "way ahead of any of us"; seems that he hated a lot of persons in the studio but
"It was like being on a baseball team, and if a guy hits a Home Run, even if you don't like him you
love him at that moment because you win the game."
None of them try to hide the fact that Disney was a fucking pain in the ass (Lance Nolley remember multiple stories about the famous Disney's Wrath), but they all try to explain in awe his genius: like little children that cannot fully comprehend what just happened. 
And there's a lovely touching moment on the last time Marc saw an already very sick Walt, showing him his pictures and how he was very pleased laughing at them: if anyone has any doubts that Walt was an animator at heart, that's exactly how the Man spent the last days of his life... 
Any conversation with Walter Lantz is like diving on Animation History; he was in the business from the very first days of the William Randolph Heart and similar, he sort of gives the boss to boss perspective with Walt. 
Then you got some Inbetweeners, background artists and just good old simple animators interviews (which is great, cause gives a different perspective, ya'know?), TV shows, some park people... etc.

Friday, March 10, 2017

THE ART OF ZOOTOPIA (2016, Jessica Julius)

Jessica Julius. The Art of Zootopia. San Francisco, Chronicle Books, 2016.

/ PDF / English / 160 pages /  1452122237 / 978-1452122236

Some years ago Disney finally bought Pixar (and John Lasseter's soul muhahahaha). The idea was having them as a subsidiary separate studio releasing CGI animation features and to keep the Walt Disney Animation Studio making beautiful classic style "2D" animation... That didn't work, sigh... Classic animation is dead for the most part, sigh, sigh... But something odd happened... Disney did in fact absorb the Pixar style and business model (which is what they wanted), but, here is the weird part, they make it even better! like Wtf! And this days Disney is releasing super original, innovative work (like this feature Zootopia, a kids silly movie that is really about prejudices, stereotypes and racism!!!) and Pixar, or Disney-Pixar whatever you wanna call it, is stuck on safe cruiser mode: Nemo's sequel, Toy Story 11 (Woody should die already ok?: burn him alive), Cars Sequel again, The Incredibles sequel... Yeah they're still Top Notch film makers don't get me wrong, but something is not entirely there... Even Inside Out (beautiful and all...) but yeah: safe! Well, like 20th century's greatest poet used to say: Nothing Lasts Forever.

Ok, so another "Art Of" with all the usual stuff you find in this sort of books: fine... With a very minor look to what went into the making of the awesome film Zootopia (needs more words, interviews, the original script, some stupid production memo idk, something!...)

(by pelida77)

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Monday, March 6, 2017


The Art of Disney Pixar Finding Dory. San Francisco, Chronicle Books, 2016.

/ PDF / English / 179 pages /  1452122245 / 978-1452122243

In-depth looks into the process of of making the beautiful Pixar sequel to Nemo.With a preface by John Lasseter (Big Boss), Andrew Stanton (Director) and Steve Pilcher (Production Designer)
Early character sketches on scrap paper, to graphic artist renditions of logos or posters that dress the sets of the film provides digital paintings but also pencil sketches, storyboards, notes about color theory and how color and lighting is used to elicit particular emotions, colorscripts and text with even more insights into the art which fills the pages.


Jeff Lenburg. Hayao Miyazaki: Japan's Premier Anime Storyteller (Legends of Animation). New York, Chelsea House, 2012.

PDF / English / 160 pages / 1604138416 / 978-1604138412

Ok, so... another biography... Very useful as an introduction into Hayao's life and deep enough
to satisfy a hardcore fan. 
His early life in Bunkyo, Tokyo, were his father was director of Miyazaki airplanes, a plane parts manufacturer. His mother sickness, all things that had of course a profound influence on him. 
One of his primary inspirations: Osamu Tezuka. Discovering Hakujaden (1958) and deciding on becoming an animator.

Work in Toei Douga

Joining the staff of Toei Douga, working as an in-betweener in Wanwan Chûsingura (1963), 
Shonen Ninja Kaze no Fujimaru (1964), Ookami Shounen Ken (1965), 
Gulliver no Uchu Rkyoko (1965); then being elevated to key animator and working on Hustle Punch (1965), Rainbow Sentai Robin (1966), Mahotsukai Sally (1968).
As part of the production team of Taiyou no Oji Hols no Daiboken, Hols Prince of the Sun (1968), a landmark in japanese animation history and the first of many collaborations with Isao Takahata Producing key animation, designs and storyboards for Nagagutsu o Haita Neko, Puss in Boots (1969) a prototype for Hayao's later feature Cagliostro. Screenplay, animation, design contributions in The Flying Phantom Ship (1969)

Leaving Toei - Pre Ghibli 

He joined Takahata and Yoichi Otabe in Toei's rivals A-Pro (a studyo that animated for Tokyo Movie Shinsha), making two shorts: Panda Kopanda (1972) and a sequel Panda Kopanda: Amefuri Saakasu no Maki (1973) Both considered prototypes for Totoro. Then producing arguably the first animated TV series intended for teenagers, Lupin III.
 Designs and layouts for Alps Girl Heidi (1974) and Three Thousand Miles in Search of Mother (1976) Anne Green Gables (1979)... all representative works of Takahata 

Being promoted to Director and breaking through with Future Boy Conan (1977) Directing his first feature anime Lupin III: The Castle of Cagliostro (1979)

Studio Ghibli

The making of Nausicaä of the Valley of The Wind (1984), Miyazaki's environmental concerns, his love for aircraft and flight; his pacifist and anti military attitude; and his morally ambiguous characters. On the strength of the success of Nausicaä, he and Takahata co found their own animation studio.
Their first project an original anime Laputa: The Castle in the Sky (1986) an animation with a strong Welsh influence and partly rooted in Celtic culture.

His greatest triumph to date My Neighbor Totoro (1988) the story of two sisters befriending a mythical furry creature in a traditional village life environment. Following the success of Totoro another masterpiece Kiki's Delivery Service (1989), the story of a 13 year old witch in training who, in witch tradition, leaves home to spend a year alone in a new town in order to establish herself as a full witch.

Porco Rosso a high flying adventure about an Italian air force pilot turned into a crimson pig, and a bounty hunter protecting ships from marauding air pirates where he combined two passions: flying and Italy. He intended the film for middle-aged people but kids loved it. In 1995 Ghibli streak a deal with Disney to distribute their films outside Japan.
Then comes Princess Mononoke (1997) a very dark film about the destructive power of greed in an ancient mythical setting. And finally Hayao's greatest financial success Spirited Away (2001) about a 10 year old girl discovering a mysterious bathhouse full of ghosts and spirits... and a little more, well a lot more. Enjoy (pelida77)