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A good book list

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A good book list

Hi all,

I remembered there were threads about good animation books, but I can't find them anymore. Does anyone have a complete list of books required by any animation programs provided by accreditted schools? Or any books that you think should be included in the course of learning animation? Thanks

Hi there.

Well, I'm currently doing a personal project of archiving what people have said in this forum, start from the period when the forum was back on (i heard the old forum got crashed or something, i don't know, and I'm not sure about it either), and I remember reading some of the posts containing some of the recommended readings and simply copy pasted it. The project is just 1/4 way through, so if the thread you're talking about was recent, then most probably it won't be as complete and accurate. But here's the list. Hope you find it at least a little bit useful. Oh, by the way, I've never read any of them. If any book is on the list, then the only reason it's there is because someone ever recommended it. I'm trying as hard as I could to keep track of any argument against the recommendation, so please excuse me if there are any books that you or anyone here in this forum found out un-useful (if the word's even existed at the first place). Any further commenting on any books listed here are very highly appreciated. Oh, and I'm really sorry if I copied people's post w/ their exact wordings without giving out enough credits. I never have plan on sharing the note besides to myself, though, but.. I.. oh well, please do claim your contributions and I'll just fix it asap.


Preston Blair's book, “Cartoon Animation.”

The Blair book is also offered in a free online edition :

Christopher Hart's book, “How to Draw Animation” (comment by animated ape: “Sorry, I'm gonna have to un-recommend the Christopher Hart's drawing book series. I feel he just has very bland, average style. To me they just look like designs from a first or second year student, and I would just assume to study from a higher level than that.”)

“Cartooning . the head and figure” by jack hamm

”Fun with a pencil” : andrew loomis

Glen Vilppu's “Drawing Manual”

"Animation The Looney Tunes Way" by: Tony Cervone

Kent Hultgren's “Animal Anatomy”


"The Animator's Workbook" by Richard Williams

"The Illusion of Life"

- "CGI Filmmaking - the Creation of Ghost Warrior" a recent publication by Timothy Albee on how he created his 22 minute animation in 6 months.

- "Animation From Script to Screen" by Shamus Culhane, which is a really interesting perspective and history of 2D animation plus includes insights from the author who was an animator for both television and feature films. No, there's no 3D but it is still an interesting read.

- "Acting for Animators" by Ed Hooks

- "The Human Figure in Motion" and "Animals in Motion" by E. Muybridge. Excellent photographic references for movement.

- "How to Get a Job in Computer Animation" by Ed Harris. Has some lovely anecdotes and interviews from professionals in the industry in addition to all of the other information about this as a career.

- Any of the Disney "Art of..." books. Beautiful artwork and a great way to see how the artists took the story and character concepts and brought them to life. Whether or not the feature animation was successful or not is probably quite a different story

”Flash MX Design for TV and Video”
by Janet Galore, Todd Kelsey

”Hollywood 2D Digital Animation: The New Flash Production Revolution”
by Sandro Corsaro, Clifford J. Parrott

”The Flash Animator”
by Sandro Corsaro (for signatures) The Art of Visual Story Telling – Steranko
I have the book and it pretty much does as the title suggests - it breaks down the art of telling a story visually. To sum it up, the book talks about elements of a good story, storyboarding, setting up characters, camera angles, lighting and color, timing and pace, and offers a "tricks of the trade" section. All the information presented is meant to be applied to animation, comics, video games, and live-action films.

Stan Lee and John Buscema have a very simple approach to it in How to Draw Comics the Marvel Way

Designing Cartoon Characters for Animation Brian Lemay

"Story" by Robert McKee which is all about writing screenplays

"If life deals you a bad hand... cheat."

Hey Divaliant, thanks so much. That's so helpful and generous of you to share your private notes with us. I shall tell you my comments on these books after I have read them


Too that list I'd add a recent book--

Draw the Looney Tunes--a fairly comprehensive how-to and has VERY good examples within. One of the few books to actually get me excited about the material-should be a text book at any school doing 2D.

A few others that have merit:
Shot by Shot by Samual Katz.
Storyboards: Motion in Art by Mark Simon
Don Bluth's Art of the Storyboard
SKETCH Magazine
Draw Magazine.

If you are into comics then Wizard magazine has a complied book called HOW TO DRAW that is excellent as well--but its comics specific.

"We all grow older, we do not have to grow up"--Archie Goodwin ( 1937-1998)

Storyboards: Motion in Art by Mark Simon

Exploring Storyboarding by Wendy Tumminello

Last night I found out more. Maybe this is the list you were talking about. So sorry if anything on this list is already being listed above.

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)

"If life deals you a bad hand... cheat."

Last night I found out more. Maybe this is the list you were talking about. So sorry if anything on this list is already being listed above.

That is a pretty good list of titles but Monica Lee needs to keep in mind to only pick out one from each group topic. Some of those books can only be had on ebay, if there.

Heres a great book if you are into drawing. I found it a wonderful book to use and have in my collection. Its called The Natural way to Draw by Kimon Nicolaides. Heres a link and review of it . Buy it and enjoy!

All the best

I always recommend this one:

Understanding Comics by Scott McCloud

It's by far one of the most interesting books on story telling in a visual medium. It's a fun read too (it's all in the form of a comic book). Personally, I think it should be required reading for anyone who wants to tell stories visually. Only a handful of pages that only apply to comics, the rest easily applies to all visual mediums.

I particularly found the discussion on iconic vs realism very insightful and helpful.

Side note: It's a theory book, not a how to book. But good theory is so important once you've gotten the basics of the tools and technology down.

Producing solidily ok animation since 2001.

Now with more doodling!

Whenever possible, go directly to the source.

With DVDs, it's now possible to step-frame through cartoons (or live action, as a source for exaggerated illustration), imitating each frame that composes an animation. I recommend this technique above any book that's out there.

Thanks for sharing your list

Thanks for sharing your list with animation books. I also lost the thread and had to register to thank you for that. You may have heard about other books about the Holocaust. My little brother needs to be explained what it is and I read in the article that there are different books for children with the correct explanation. Perhaps you could suggest something else.

In addition to your huge list

In addition to your huge list of good books, I will add the book Anowa. On this site you can check out its summary to see if you like this genre and style. I wish you a pleasant reading. And also enjoy your favourite books.