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Disney Feature Animation; Recommended Reading

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Disney Feature Animation; Recommended Reading

This is a list of Recommended Reading for talent training at Walt Disney Feature Animation. Thought it would be nice to share it with you all and you can start your own checklist :D

Walt Disney Feature Animation
Recommended Reading

WALT DISNEY ANIMATION - Production/ Artists/ History

1. Aladdin: The Making of an Animated Film by John Culhane (1992)

2. The Art of Mickey Mouse, by Craig Yoe (1991)

3. The Art of Walt Disney, by Christopher Finch (1993)

4. Bambi: The Story & the Film, by Ollie Johnston & Frank Thomas (1990)

5. The Disney Touch, by Ron Grover (1991)

6. Disney Animation: The Illusion of Life, by Ollie Johnston & Frank Thomas (1981)

7. Encyclopedia of Disney Animated Characters, by John Grant (1992)

8. Fantasia, by John Culhane (1983)

9. The Disney Studio Story, by Richard Holliss & Brian Sibley (1988)

10. The Man Behind The Magic: The Story of Walt Disney, by Katherine & Richard Greene (1991)

11. Too Funny For Words, by Ollie Johnston & Frank Thomas

12. Treasures of Disney's Animation Art, by John Canenaker (1982)

13. Walt Disney's World of Fantasy, by Adrian Bailey (1982)

14. The Disney Films, by Leonard Maltin (1984)

15. The Ultimate Disney Trivia Book, by Kevin Neary & Dave Smith (1992)



1. Animation From Script to Screen, by Shamus Culhane (1988)

2. The Animation Workbook, by Tony White (1986)

3. Basic Animation Stand Techniques, by Brian G. O. Salt (1977)

4. Cartoon Animation: Introduction to A Career, by Milton Gray (1991)

5. The Complete Kodak Animation Book, by Charles Soloman & Ron Stark (1983)

6. How To Create Animation, by John Cawley & Jim Korkis (1990)

7. How To Draw Animation Storyboards, by Bob Singer (1992)

8. Make Your Own Animated Movies & Videotapes, by Yvonne Anderson (1991)

9. Scriptwriting For Animation, by Stan Hayward (1977)

10. Timing For Animation, by Harold Whitaker & John Halas (1981)

11. Walter T. Foster Art Books Series:
Cartoon Animation: Basic Skills, by Walter Foster
How To Draw Cartoon Animation, by Preston Blair
How To Animate Film Cartoons, by Preston Blair



1. Chuck Amuck: The Life and Times of An Animated Cartoonist, by Chuck Jones (1989)

2. Emile Cohl, Caricature & Film, by Donald Crafton (1990)

3. The Fleischer Story, by Leslie Cabarga (1988)

4. The Great Cartoon Directors, by Jeff Leuberg (1983)

5. Tex Avery, by Patrick Brion (1984)

6. Tex Avery: King of Cartoons, by John Adamson (1975)

7. Talking Animals and Other People, by Shamus Culhane (1986)

8. The Walter Lantz Story, by Joe Adamson (1985)

9. Winsor McGay: His Life and Art, by John Canemaker (1987)



1. American Animated Films: The Silent Era (1897-1929), by Dennis Gifford (1990)

2. Bugs Bunny: Fifty Years and Only One Grey Hare, Joe Adamson (1990)

3. Cartoon Confidential, by Jim Korkis & John Cawley (1991)

4. Doing Their Bit: Wartime American Animated Short Films, 1939-45, by Michael Shull & David Witt (1987)

5. Enchanted Drawings: The History of Animation, by Charles Solomon (1989)

6. Encyclopedia of Animated Cartoons, by Jeff Leuberg (1991)

7. Encyclopedia of Cartoon Superstars from A to (Almost) Z, by Jim Cawley & Jim Korkis (1990)

8. Felix: The Twisted Tale of the World's Most Famous Cat, by John Canemaker (1991)

9. Illustrated Encyclopedia of Cartoon Animals, by Jeff Rovin (1991)

10. Looney Tunes & Merry Melodies, by Jeff Beck & Will Friedwald (1988)

11. Of Mice and Magic, by Leonard Maltin (1987)

12. That's All, Folks!: The Art of Warner Brothers Animation, by Steve Schneider (1988)


BOOKS ON DRAWING (Human and Animal Figures)

1. Anatomy Lessons From the Great Masters, by Robert Beverly Hale (1977)

2. Art Anatomy of Animals, by Ernest Thompson Seton (1977)

3. The Art of Animal Drawing, by Ken Hultgren (1950) (Recently re-issued in soft cover)

4. The Book of A Hundred Hands, by George Bridgeman (1962)

5. Bridgeman's Life Drawing, by George Bridgeman (1962)

6. Constructive Anatomy, by George Bridgeman (1962)

7. The Drawings of Heinreich Kley, (1961)

8. Drawing The Female Figure, by Joseph Sheppard (1975)

9. Drawing The Human Head, by Burne Hogarth (1965)

10. Drawing The Male Figure, by Joseph Sheppard (1976)

11. Drawing Media & Techniques, by Joseph A. Gatto (1987)

12. Dynamic Anatomy, by Burne Hogarth (1958)

13. Dynamic Figure Drawing, by Burne Hogarth (1970)

14. Figure Drawing Comes To Life, by Albert Seckler

15. Figure Drawing For All It's Worth, by Andrew Loomis

16. Heads, Features and Faces, by George Bridgeman (1962)

17. The Human Machine, by George Bridgeman (1972)

18. More Drawings of Heinrich Kley (1962)

19. On The Art of Drawing, by Robert Fawcett

20. Vilppu Sketch Book, by Glen Vilppu (1994)


PHOTOGRAPHIC REFERENCE (of Human and Animal Figures)

1. Atlas of Foreshortening: The Human Figure in Deep Perspective, by John Cody (1980)

2. Human and Animal Locomotion - Volumes I, II, & III, by Eadwead Muybridge (1979)

3. The Human Form In Action and Repose, by Phil Brodatz & Dori Watson (1968)

4. Illustrator's Figure Reference Manual (1987)

5. Illustrator's Reference Manual of Nudes (1989)



This is only a tiny sampling of the almost limitless number of titles dealing with every aspect of live cinema production and the history of motion pictures.

1. Cinematography, by Kris Malkiewicz (1973)

2. The Elements of Cinema, by Stefan Sharff

3. Eugene Lourie: My Work in Films, by Eugene Lourie (1985)

4. Film Design, by Terrence St. John Marner (1974)

5. The Film Sense, by Sergei Eisenstein (1970)

6. Flight of Fancy: The Great Fantasy Films, by Kennth Von Gunden (1989)

7. How Movies Work, by Bruce F. Kawin (1992)

8. Introduction To Film, by Robert S. Withers

9. The Moving Picture Book, by William Kuhns

10. Special Effects: Creating Movie Magic, by Christopher Finch (1984)

11. The Technique of Special Effects Cinematography, by Raymond Fielding

12. Understanding Movies, by Louis Giannetti (1987)

13. Wide Screen Movies, by Robert E. Carr and R. M. Hayes (1988)

14. Hollywood Art: Art Direction In The Days of the Great Studios, by Beverly Heisner (1990)

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Thanks, this is awesome!

here's a nice little PDF list of books as well. This has tons of books that may be out of date, or not really applicable to your line of interest, but it is a pretty comprehensive list, maybe too comprehensive, you may get a little lost, but check it out anyway.

That's a great list, thanks alot for posting this!
These should keep my wallet empty and me busy for quite a while..

Recommended Reading

Wow--I THANK YOU THANK YOU for this incredible list!!! I been working on a collection and only was aware of about one-tenth of the books on your list. So now for the fun part---to find them and complete my collection!!

The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing. ---Walt Disney

I :) Orlando, Discount Hotels Orlando

This is a great list. Many of these books are out of print or hard to find, but they're all worthy additions to any animator's library.

Another terrific book that isn't on the list - probably because it doesn't fit neatly into one of the categories - is "Composing Pictures" by Don Graham. Graham was a drawing teacher at Disney during Walt's day, and this is his one and only book.

And two more - Walt Stanchfield also taught drawing classes during Disney's heyday, and the notes he handed out in classes have been compiled into two books that will publish soon. The notes are pure gold, and I can't wait to see what the books look like.

Has anyone tried...

Character Animation Crash Course! by Eric Goldberg


great list and definitely it helps for all animation lovers.

Thanks for the list
It will surely help those who have interests in drawing!

hello there.!

That's a pretty good list, but in need of updating. Someone needs to get on the ball to update it to include "Character Animation Crash Course" by Eric Goldberg or "The Animator's Survival Kit" by Richard Williams.

(while they include out-of-print , hard to find books like 3. Basic Animation Stand Techniques, by Brian G. O. Salt (1977) , 4. Cartoon Animation: Introduction to A Career, by Milton Gray (1991) , 5. The Complete Kodak Animation Book, by Charles Soloman & Ron Stark (1983), 6. How To Create Animation, by John Cawley & Jim Korkis (1990) . Wha ...? Go figure.)

And how does "Disney Animation: The Illusion of Life" by Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston rate being listed at #6 on the list of "WALT DISNEY ANIMATION - Production/ Artists/ History " ? I'd put The Illusion of Life as the #1 recommended reading in that category as well as in the other category of "BOOKS ON PRODUCTION TECHNIQUES ".

Another update should be the soon-to-be published Walt Stanchfield notes "Drawn to Life: 20 Golden Years of Disney Master Classes" Vol. 1 and Vol. 2 .

For storyboarding I'd add to the list "Prepare to Board: Creating Story and Characters for Animated Features and Shorts" by Nancy Beiman.

I'd also highly recommend Tony White's most recent book: "Animation from Pencils to Pixels: Classical Techniques for the Digital Animator".


DOH ! I just realized the original posting was from 2005 and the thread has recently been resurrected. But even in 2005 that book list was out-of-date. They didn't list the Richard Williams book "The Animator's Survival Kit" which is essential reading.

I thought Don Bluth's The Art of Storyboard was rather good, too, in spite of it being very short. That also means it's very affordable, though. My storyboard teacher came from live-action and she kind of failed to ignite my genuine interest in that particular field. One read of Bluth's book which dealt more directly with 'our' medium and I was hooked, though.
I was wondering why Mr Williams book wasn't listed, too. It's an awfully good read for people who already had some school education on the subject or business experience. I could niggle that it's a bit unstructured so that it's hard to find specific topics through a table of content or an index, but then again, it starts at the beginning and ends at the end. Plus, the countless drawn examples make it very comprehensible.
Bluth's The Art of Animation Drawing fell short of my expectations, unfortunately. It only skims over a lot of important aspects and never deals with any as specifically as Williams' book. I'd only recommend it as additional reading and/or for Bluth fans.

Well this book is not Disney but I thought I would throw it into the mix.
"Stop Staring" by Jaxon Osipa

He is currently working as a director at Lucas Arts.