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Tod Polson and Chronicle are Making a Maurice Noble Book


Tod Polson (El Tigre, The Secret of Kells) announced recently that he’s putting together a book on Maurice Noble that will be published in 2012 by my pals at Chronicle Books. Polson knew him as well as anybody, and I have no doubt he’s going to make this something special. This book will not only give Maurice his due, it’ll also make up for the disappointingly shallow biography of Noble that was published a few years back.

Tod describes the project on his blog:

The last few years of his life, Maurice had been working on a design textbook that described his approach to design. Unfortunately he passed away before he was able to complete the text. For most of the last year I have been working with Chronicle Books in putting together what I hope will be the book that Maurice had dreamed of. It will be chocked full of his pre-production art, notes, and thoughts from the master himself describing his process. The book will also be full of reflections from folks that knew and worked with him.

  • I will DEFINITELY be getting that.

  • Alberto


  • Mike

    I want a copy NOW!!!

  • This sounds like a fascinating read, and obviously the art will be great. A definite purchase.

  • I already reserved a spot in my bookcase for it.

  • The Gee

    This is awesome. It looks to be a great book.

  • Awesome! Thanks for doing this Tod!

  • Steven Harley


    At least we get from “Maurice Noble experts” to make the book that Maurice would’ve liked it to be! :)

  • This will be on my shelf. The first Noble biography you mentioned isn’t shallow. It’s a good book, and I’m glad I read it. Though it will likely pale in comparison to this one, for those that can’t wait to read about Maurice, I’d definitely recommend looking up Stepping Into the Picture.

    • amid

      Daniel – The earlier book, Stepping into the Picture: Cartoon Designer Maurice Noble, didn’t explore the complicated relationship between Chuck Jones and Noble in any sort of depth. That’s a whole book in itself. It didn’t explore his personal relationship with Mary Blair and how that may have affected his work. It didn’t fully explain why he left Warner Bros. in the late-1940s, just as he was starting to come into his own, and suddenly moved to the Midwest. It didn’t discuss the different approaches between what UPA was doing and what Maurice was doing — how he competed with that look yet hated the UPA work as well.

      Yes, the biography offered some new facts, but looking at the big picture, it was a failure as the story of the man’s life. The author’s limited understanding of the animation process and lack of historical context made it a shallow effort. I don’t expect Tod’s book to be a bio in the same way. It’s first and foremost an instructional book. Even still, I think Tod’s knowledge of Maurice’s techniques will make his book a far more valuable addition to our understanding of Noble’s work than the earlier bio.

      • Nice! I think you should put that in the original post. ;)

  • A book by Noble on lay out and design sounds like a winning idea.

  • Matt Jones

    I cannot wait!

  • E. Nygma

    Gotta love chronicle they put out the best books around these days. I want them to do a Art of Samurai Jack book, but I will be getting Maurices book for sure!

    Thanks for the great news! Looks like 2012 is going to be a great year…as long as the world doesn’t end.

  • Want it.

  • Jenny Lerew

    Fantastic news. This makes the second upcoming book on a 20th century animation genius I’m dying to get my hands on. Everyone who reads this blog had better make sure they buy a copy! Kudos to Tod & to Chronicle-would any other publisher do it, and do it right? Doubtful.

    • Who’s the first about?

      • Jenny Lerew

        I’ll leave that one for the author to answer. It’ll be a must-have.

      • amid

        I’m not sure if you’re referring to this Jenny, but I’m going to pretend that you are =)

      • Jenny Lerew

        Yep, that’s it! What else?

        I cannot wait til your Ward Kimball book is on shelves. For the record, Maurice always talked about Ward in my hearing with great respect-for both his talents, and his iconoclastic ways. Kindred spirits!

  • Harry McCracken

    The best published Maurice Noble book to date is Scott Morse’s Noble Boy–which despite being short and in rhyme, TOTALLY captures the guy.

  • Don Adams

    *eyeroll @ Harry*

    Please tell us you’re being sarcastic, Harry? Originally, I assumed that was the shallow book Amid was referring to.

  • Tod is a modern day man of wax. This will be amazing!

  • Borat

    Nice book, I like cartoon film!

  • Mr Polson is bullet proof and Mr Noble is a grand fellow indeed. This book will be a smashing read no doubt about it

  • There are so many books now about animation principles and so on but precious little
    about design layout and art direction . I think this is the book we’ve been waiting for!

  • Jim

    Tod Polson is awesome. This book will be too.

  • Really looking forward to this book.

  • Mark Sonntag

    Gimme, gimme, gimme . . . . can we pre-order now? Can’t wait for this one, finally it’s been so long overdue.