Laura Heit’s Animation Sketchbooks (published this month by Chronicle Books in the US, and earlier by Thames & Hudson in the UK) offers a peek inside the private sketchbooks of 51 (mostly independent) animation filmmakers. The 320-page hardcover has a straightforward format: each artist is allotted 4-8 pages that includes a career overview, brief statements about the process of sketching and keeping a sketchbook, and a gallery of sketchbook pages and stills from short films.
The artists in the book include many of the biggest names in indie animation (Koji Yamamura, Michaela Pavlatova Georges Schwizgebel, Regina Pessoa, Priit Parn, Paul Driessen) as well as some artists who are better known for their commercial work (Stephen Hillenburg, Luis Cook, David Polonsky, Fran Krause). It’s safe to say that unless you’re a regular festival attendee—or a reader of Cartoon Brew—many of the names will be unfamiliar. That’s not a criticism though. These are all artists who deserve greater exposure and this book does a fine job of giving it to them.
There’s a remarkable range of techniques, approaches and visual styles represented in the volume, as the author Heit explains in the intro: