Books by animation artists Books by animation artists

Publishers Like Animation Artists

Books by animation artists

One of the more inspiring trends recently has been seeing book projects by animation artists being picked up for distribution by mainstream book publishers. For example, last fall, Pixar’s Sanjay Patel had his book The Little Book of Hindu Deities published by Plume, an imprint of Penguin. Then, Pixar’s Ronnie del Carmen and Enrico Casarosa (along with Tadahiro Uesegi) had Three Trees Make a Forest released by Gingko Press. And now, the boys at Blue Sky Animation have announced that their graphic anthology Out of Picture will be published by Villard/Random House. The first Out of Picture volume will be reprinted this winter and a second brand-new volume will also debut from Villard.

It’s no accident that mainstream publishers are increasingly looking towards the creative works of animation artists. There is an incredible wealth of talent working in our art form today, and most of them are not allowed to explore the full range of their creative potential in their day jobs. Today’s savvy artists, however, aren’t content to accept the realities of the current industry, and are pursuing new outlets of self-expression ranging from short films to comics to these book projects. If anything, I expect we’ll be seeing many more high-profile book projects from the animation community over the coming years.

  • It is inevitable that having to commit to collaboration and collectivity within the animation process, the typical artist will want to get back into being locked inside his/her studio to create something for themselves. This has certainly been the case for me having started my own self-publishing saga a couple of years ago.

    Whatever the case maybe, whether it’s pure self-indulgence or wanting to share an idea without having to compromise, it satisfies an inherent and important need for artists to express themselves. It also forms a comfortable cushion creatively when you know that at the end of the day, you can always dwell in your own ideas after a hard days work making studio animation.

  • Andrew Lee

    I agree.

    Coming home and painting, or working on my short film, or whatever little endeavor I have going on outside of work makes for a nice balance at the studio.

    At the end of the day,…doing my own thing, on my own time, with my own gut…

    That’s the good stuff.

  • Floyd Norman

    It’s also a way of bringing your work to the attention of mainstream publishers. It’s always a tough sell when publishers don’t know you. Self publishing is an effective way of raising your profile.

    As one who has worked both mainstream and independent, this is a very good thing.

  • I agree with Louie del Carmen. I encourage this behavior as well. I believe these types of artist will create the greatest works. Also, if self publishing now becoming more easly accessible, it seems like a perfect oppurtunity for professional artist working on larger projects a chance to find their own paths.

    Nothing beats a long night working on a book completely created by yourself, and maybe one day enjoyed by everyone!

  • Esn

    James Farr (creator of the Xombie series) also has a bunch of comics and an illustrated novel coming out.

  • Bill Field

    Michel Gagne and Ragnar also come to mind– I’ve never thought of myself as just an animator or just an illustrator- I’m a cartoonist, but too often we are pigeon-holed into being one or the other. There is reason to find satisfaction in print and on film- they serve different aspects of my talent/skillset.

  • amid

    Bill and Esn: Thanks for the comments, but the point of the post was about artists who are having their work published by major publishers, not self-publishing or having work released by small specialty publishers. There’s nothing wrong with self-publishing, and in fact, Out of Picture and Sanjay Patel’s book have their roots in self/specialty publishing. I was trying to point out how major publishers are recognizing the work of these artists now.

  • The Sketchtravel project (which still runs) available on has a resonance (at least it tries) with these excellent books. The sketchbook will be print at the end of its trip. This project allows many artists to express themselves without usual production deadlines and imposed themes. It’s important to show that behind mainstream and predictable productions where a lot of creativity is drowned, we find hugely talented guys with amazing imagination and intrepid styles. Personally I bought these three books ;-) ! Keep Creating !

  • Katertot

    I am an editor at a major publisher in the children’s department, and I have to say that though I applaud places like Penguin for putting out books by Pixar artists, I get frustrated because I think that publishers aren’t looking at animators often enough.

    With the recent surge in popularity of comics, graphic novels, and other sequential art, everyone is picking up on comic artists, and I feel like animators might actually have an even better eye and style for books (being at a young readers imprint, I’m of course thinking specifically of picture books, but certainly don’t limit the possibilities to that). Animators have such a great feel for pacing, movement, and style, and would probably think outside of the page in a way that most editors, authors and illustrators of printed matter never would!

    Anyway, I for one am certainly keeping my eye on animators, and I’m very happy to hear that I’m not the only one who is. I hope that the trend continues– it’s only a matter of time, right? It’s a great thing that these books are getting published, and I really hope that editors continue to look more closely at more obscure animators as well as the bigger teams like Blue Sky and Pixar.

  • Hi, I’m interested in being an illustrator for various types of books, I just recently retired after 3 1/2 years as a United States Marine, and 15 years as a Police Officer at 45 years, I’m at a wonderful time in my life to explore and learn, grow and enjoy.

    I like the feel on this page, the dialogue and work that is represented and would like to meet artists and build on this new chapter of mylife.

    I am an artist by birth, have been working off and on in the Comic book and Graphic Illustration industry (part time) in the last 20 years.

    And now I’d love to do it full time creating images that make people smile and want more. I would appreciate any assistance in breaking into or applying in the proper fashion to companies and publishers.

    Could someone assist?

    Roman Morales III
    [email protected]

  • I’ve just finished writing my memoirs “Flyin Chunks and Other Things to Duck”..I’ve worked in animation for 47 years and I have put my experiences down on paper…I have no idea where to start to get it publish..Wait a minute…I just started here….Anybody have any ideas which might be useful to me???