Animation Books To Watch For in 2014

You’re probably still browsing through all the coffeetable art books you received for the holidays this year, but it’s never too early to start planning for next year’s animation-related tomes. We examined publishers’ catalogs and have identified some animation titles that you’ll want to check out in 2014. Not all of next year’s books have been announced yet, but the eleven books below should provide plenty of artistic inspiration and informative reading for animation enthusiasts.


1. Magic Color Flair: The World of Mary Blair
Pre-order on Amazon
by John Canemaker
Release date: March 11, 2014

Created for the Walt Disney Family Museum’s 2014 Mary Blair exhibit, Magic Color Flair is an authoritative collection of Blair’s life’s work—including the precocious paintings she made as a student at the renowned Chouinard Art Institute; the enchanting concept drawings she created for numerous Disney films; her lovely illustrated Golden Books, which are still treasured today; and the rarely seen but delightful advertisements, clothing designs, and large-scale installations that she devised later in life. Curated by Academy Award–winning animator John Canemaker and annotated with fascinating information about her artistic process, Magic Color Flair is a bold, lively look into the work of an equally bold and lively creative, whose invaluable influence and keen eye helped shape some of the world’s favorite Disney experiences.



2. The Art of the Disney Golden Books
Pre-order on Amazon
by Charles Solomon
Release date: April 8, 2014

The Art of the Disney Golden Books celebrates a legacy that has now thrived for more than eighty years and continues to influence new generations of artists and filmmakers. A remarkable lineup of talent, many of whom were Disney Studio artists- including Mary Blair, Alice and Martin Provensen, Gustaf Tenggren, Al Dempster, Retta Scott Worcester, and Bill Peet-created the illustrations for the early Disney Golden Books. Through interviews with contemporary animators who recall tracing the characters in their childhood Disney Golden Books, paintings by artists who influenced and inspired the Disney Golden Book illustrations, and a generous complement of Golden Book artwork-much of which was thought to have been lost until very recently-the rich tradition of the series is explored in this vibrant volume.


3. Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration
Pre-order on Amazon
by Ed Catmull
Release date: April 8, 2014

Creativity, Inc. is a book for managers who want to lead their employees to new heights, a manual for anyone who strives for originality, and the first-ever, all-access trip into the nerve center of Pixar Animation—into the meetings, postmortems, and “Braintrust” sessions where some of the most successful films in history are made. It is, at heart, a book about how to build a creative culture—but it is also, as Pixar co-founder and president Ed Catmull writes, “an expression of the ideas that I believe make the best in us possible.” The essential ingredient in that movie’s success—and in the thirteen movies that followed—was the unique environment that Catmull and his colleagues built at Pixar, based on philosophies that protect the creative process and defy convention, such as:

  • Give a good idea to a mediocre team, and they will screw it up. But give a mediocre idea to a great team, and they will either fix it or come up with something better.
  • If you don’t strive to uncover what is unseen and understand its nature, you will be ill prepared to lead.
  • It’s not the manager’s job to prevent risks. It’s the manager’s job to make it safe for others to take them.
  • The cost of preventing errors is often far greater than the cost of fixing them.
  • A company’s communication structure should not mirror its organizational structure. Everybody should be able to talk to anybody.
  • Do not assume that general agreement will lead to change—it takes substantial energy to move a group, even when all are on board.


4. The Art of DreamWorks Animation
Pre-order on Amazon
by Ramin Zahed
Release date: April 15, 2014

Founded in 1994 by Steven Spielberg, Jeffrey Katzenberg, and David Geffen, DreamWorks Animation instantly became a world-renowned animation studio with blockbuster franchises including Shrek, Madagascar, and Kung Fu Panda. Though its earliest films, such as The Prince of Egypt, feature traditional hand-drawn cel animation, DreamWorks soon forayed into claymation with Chicken Run and Wallace & Gromit, and pioneered advanced computer animation with films such as Antz, Shark Tale, and How to Train Your Dragon.

Brimming with concept art, preproduction designs, and char­acter sketches, DreamWorks Animation marks the studio’s 20th anniversary and offers unprecedented behind-the-scenes access into its archives. An introduction by DreamWorks cofounder Katzenberg provides insider perspective on the studio’s most popular films, as does running commentary from artists and direc­tors on all of DreamWorks’ 30 films to date.


5. Genius, Animated: The Cartoon Art of Alex Toth
Pre-order on Amazon
by Dean Mullaney and Bruce Canwell
Release date: May 6, 2014

The third in a series of illustrated books—the first two books were Genius, Isolated: The Life and Art of Alex Toth and Genius, Illustrated: The Life and Art of Alex Toth.


6. America Toons in: A History of Television Animation
Pre-order on Amazon
by David Perlmutter
Release date: May 15, 2014

Animation has been part of television since the start of the medium but it has rarely received unbiased recognition from media scholars. More often, it has been ridiculed for supposedly poor technical quality, accused of trafficking in violence aimed at children, and neglected for indulging in vulgar behavior. These accusations are often made categorically, out of prejudice or ignorance, with little attempt to understand the importance of each program on its own terms. This book is a serious look at the whole genre of television animation, from the early themes and practices through the evolution of the art to the present day.

Examining the productions of individual studios and producers, the author establishes a means of understanding their work in new ways, at the same time discussing the ways in which the genre has often been unfairly marginalized by critics, and how, especially in recent years, producers have both challenged and embraced this “marginally” as a vital part of their work. By taking seriously something often thought to be frivolous, the book provides a framework for understanding the persistent presence of television animation in the American media–and how surprisingly influential it has been.


7. The Lost Notebook: Herman Schultheis & the Secrets of Walt Disney’s Movie Magic
Pre-order on Amazon
by John Canemaker
Release date: May 27, 2014

Discover the secrets behind Fantasia, Pinocchio, Dumbo, and Bambi—all through the lens of early animation’s most enigmatic and fascinating character, Herman Schultheis. A technician at the Disney Studio in the late 1930s, Schultheis kept a covert scrapbook of special effects wizardry, capturing in photographs and text the dazzling, behind-the-scenes ingenuity of early Disney films. Later, when he mysteriously disappeared into a Guatemalan jungle, his notebook was forgotten … and with it, the stories of how these beloved animated classics were made.

Miraculously unearthed in a chest of drawers in 1990, Schultheis’s notebook is now available for all to see at the Walt Disney Family Museum in San Francisco—and in this compelling and beautiful book. Part annotated facsimile of the scrapbook itself, part biography of the complicated, overly ambitious man who made it, The Lost Notebook is a goldmine for Disney and animation enthusiasts and a vivid, riveting account of one man’s plight to make it big in early Hollywood.


8. Mickey Mouse: Emblem of the American Spirit
Pre-order on Amazon
by Garry Apgar
Release date: September 2, 2014

The first illustrated biography of the cultural life of an enduring global icon, Mickey Mouse: Emblem of the American Spirit is the compelling story of how the singular artistic vision of a unique individual took on a life of its own and became an instantly recognizable character known the world over. Spectacularly illustrated with rarely seen archive images, art historian Garry Apgar, weaves a fascinating narrative about the nature of creation, changing generations, and how a fictional character came to embody the personality of a nation. Part art history and part cultural study, Apgar’s Mickey Mouse narrates how the character was initially developed by Walt Disney and Ub Iwerks, how his irrepressible spirit grew to huge popularity during the Depression, and how he became a politically charged cultural icon of international reach.

9: A Mickey Mouse Reader
by Garry Apgar
Release date: September 2014

An anthology of articles and essays by, among others, Diego Rivera, E. M. Forster, Maurice Sendak, Stephen Jay Gould, John Updike, and Walt Disney himself.

10. Adventure Time: The Art of Ooo
by Chris McDonnell
Release date: Fall 2014

With five seasons under its belt, the hit Cartoon Network series will be the subject of a comprehensive ‘art of’/’making of’ book. The book will be written and designed by Cartoon Brew’s own Chris McDonnell, who curates and writes the site’s Artist of the Day feature.

11. Bendazzi’s Cartoons
by Giannalberto Bendazzi
Release date: Hopefully sometime in 2014

This will be the long-awaited update to Bendazzi’s invaluable reference book Cartoons: One Hundred Years of Cinema Animation. Anyone who is serious about world animation history needs a copy of this by their side.


  • Grant Beaudette

    Preordered the Shultheis book a couple months ago. Can’t wait.

  • top_cat_james

    Jack Mendelsohn’s run of his “Jacky’s Diary” comic strip is coming out from IDW Publishing-

    http://www.amazon.com/Jackys-Diary-Jack-Mendelsohn/dp/1613778384

  • Matt Jones

    The Schutheis ‘scrapbook’ at the WDFM in San Francisco is fascinating and what an intruguing life (and death). Can’t wait!

  • Pedro Nakama

    I have an Alex Toth book I bought at Comic-Con back in the 90′s “Alex Toth by Design”. It has a lot of character sheets in it from Hanna Barbera. Really good. I’m not sure if it’s available any more.

  • Jorge

    Also, there’s the english translation of Miyazaki’s Turning Point, the sequel to Starting Point.

  • https://vimeo.com/channels/wharton Brett Wharton

    Where’s the petition for the Ward Kimball book?

  • Caitlin Cadieux

    Great article, my shelves are brimming but you can never get enough. Particularly looking forward to the Mary Blair book and the Adventure Time art book, if it does emerge!

  • Bob McLain

    Apgar’s Mickey Mouse books sound wonderful. Jim Korkis just released his own take on Mickey – “The Book of Mouse” – advertised as a complete history of Mickey Mouse from the early shorts through the costumed character in the parks:

    http://www.amazon.com/The-Book-Mouse-Celebration-Disneys/dp/0984341501