For some unknown reason, people are always asking me for advice on pitching a series or getting a job in animation. If I knew how to do those things, I’d have a series on the air or a job in animation myself. Thankfully David B. Levy has written the two most important books on pitching, developing and working in animation production I’ve ever read: Your Career in Animation and Animation Development. They are not only great reads, they are must-reads. Dave has been there, done that and he tells the truth. His writing style is warm and comfortable. His texts always tell it like it is. His third book has just come out and its another essential volume. Directing Animation not only draws upon his own considerable experiences in the industry, but relates a lifetime of lessons learned by animation veterans, cartoon creators and independent animators from Levy’s extensive interviews. He explains the differences between directing TV series, commercials, independent shorts, webtoons and features, going over all the details and pitfalls, in ways anyone – even a network executive – will understand. Highly recommended — even if you already have a job and are successfully directing, this is a book you should have on your shelf.
I haven’t picked up any of the previous volumes in the Disney Archive Series, but the Disney Book Group graciously sent me a copy of their latest one, on Design, and its absolutely gorgeous. It’s 256 glossy oversized pages filled with select pieces of pre-production art from just about every Disney feature (from Snow White to Tangled), several 1930s shorts and even from the Disneyland TV show. It’s beautifully curated with choice examples from the greatest talents in the studio’s history: Tenggren, Mary Blair, Marc Davis, Eyvind Earle, Mel Shaw and on and on… These books can be enjoyed simply for the art collected within, but more importantly they serve as an invaluable inspiration for animation artists working today and for generations of artists to come. For that alone, Walt Disney Animation Studios, The Archive Series: Design is highly recommended.