Free Animation Book Idea #2

Picking up where we left off last month, here’s another book idea that’s free for the taking. The proposal is rather straightforward: a collection of fine artwork created by animation artists. This was actually the first book idea I ever pitched (and subsequently had rejected) around 2001. I still think it’s a keen idea.

While most animators dabble with artwork on the side, a certain subset has treated their extracurricular artistic pursuits with the same passion and discipline as their animation day jobs. Seeing their artwork reveals unique insights into the artistic process, and serves as a fascinating study of the compromises that individual artists have to make when synthesizing their work for the group-oriented demands of animation production.

The key to such a book would be curating it with the right mix of artists. It wouldn’t be too difficult to get started. Any number of personal blogs and websites showcase the fine art of contemporary animation artists. There are also a handful of websites showcasing examples of artwork by Golden Age animation artists. For example, Chuck Jones has this page of personal work:Chuck Jones

Disney and UPA background painter Bob McIntosh is repped at Trigg Ison Fine Art:Bob McIntosh

McIntosh’s co-worker at Disney and UPA, Jules Engel, is displayed here: Jules Engel

Examples of Marc Davis’s art are scattered online here, here, and here.Marc Davis

And Len Glasser has a video of his personal art projects posted onto YouTube:

These guys are just the tip of the iceberg. The richness and diversity of artwork by animators spans across the twentieth century through every conceivable art movement and style. This has the potential of being a beautiful and very unconventional animation art book.


  • Tobias Lind

    Amid,
    I would propose that “somebody” did a yearbook of the current artists.
    (And do retrospective yearbooks as well.)
    I think that it’s not only valid for us who enjoy their work but also a valuable outlet for the artists themselves.

    Since I live in Sweden, I don’t have access to the venues as I would have if I lived in SF or LA, but occasionally I get hold of animators and story artists own self published books. Among my favorites are Enrico Casarosa, Ronnie del Carmen, Bill Presing… (yeah I know, mostly Pixar)

    I also discovered many artists by getting hold of the comic/graphic novel collections like Flight and Afterworks. I was also lucky to get hold of the Totoro Forest Project book when it was available. And those books give a glimpse of the artists own style and ideas.

  • http://jessicaplummer.blogspot.com Jessica Plummer

    Tobias – I like the idea of a yearbook too; it would make for a fun way for artists around the globe to collaborate with each other on a publication that others can see, not just a one time appearance at a venue.

    I’m curious what brew readers make in their non-animation time. I know a lot of animation artists tend to do more abstract exploration (like the examples above), but I personally work in more classical representation. Oh and woodworking…that’s more of a craft than an art but I still like it!

  • http://weirdocorner.blogspot.com Eric Noble

    I like that idea. How about Milt Kahl’s wire sculptures?

  • Robert Schaad

    Fantastic idea. Those are some great examples, too.

  • http://www.synchrolux.com Kevin

    This is precisely why the Animation Guild built an art gallery into the new building, and why TAG is having monthly art shows/receptions to show off member’s personal work. If anyone is around Burbank the first Friday of each month, come by the TAG building on Hollywood Way.

  • http://rwentworth.blogspot.com Sir Richard Wentworth

    Great idea Amid! It’s so neat to see fine artwork from animators whose personal styles are so readily identifiable in their animation work, and it’s fun to try and spot what part of the artist’s animation aesthetics make are visible.

    For this theoretical book, the works could be displayed with title only, and the creators’ names listed by page in an index in order to allow the first-time viewer to encounter the work on its merits and on its own terms. Knowing the creator of a piece, it’s nearly impossible for me to view it without mentally juxtaposing the cartoon work onto it somewhere in the back of my head (a fun pursuit as well).

    Anyhow, someone oughtta do it!!!

  • Alan Smithee

    With so many of the artists’ fine art work being represented and still sold in various forms, the only drawback of a book of this sort is that it can quickly become a bit of a legal and rights issues morass.

  • ZombieJosh