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.