Animation covers everything from Tex Avery's split-second slapstick and The Simpsons' knowing digs at pop culture, to Hayao Miyasaki's strong-willed heroines and Yuri Norstein's delicately rendered folktales. Often dismissed by the uninitiated as 'kid's stuff', any detailed look at animation reveals a technically complex, sophisticated and endlessly inventive medium. Intended both as a guide and an introduction to this fascinating field, the Pocket Essential Animation examines and celebrates this genre in its many forms. It explores the careers, techniques and key films of many of the major animators. It begins with pioneers such as Winsor McCay, the Fleischer brothers and Walt Disney when the 'House of Mouse' was only a twinkle in his eye. Then brings you right up to date with Nick Park's claymation and the slick CGI comedies of John Lasseter's Pixar studio. In between, it takes in the innovations of Norman McLaren, the sexual obsessions of Bob Godfrey and the agit-prop surrealism of Jan svankmajer. Kid's stuff, indeed.
From the moment Mickey Mouse stepped aboard Steamboat Willie, animation has been a global phenomenon. Animated cartoons had been screened for years, creating silent stars like Gertie the Dinosaur, but the advent of sound took the medium into a new dimension that has since given the world more icons than its live-action counterpart. Whether its Bugs Bunny, or Tom and Jerry, or newcomers like Wallace & Gromit and Toy Story's Woody & Buzz, animation continues to create characters that are loved by children of all ages - from 8 months to 80 years! Animation has grown from its Saturday Morning Matinee cartoon roots and Walt Disney's timeless full-length movies to encompass everything from claymation to the latest advances in computer imaging. For the first time, Jeremy Clarke brings together the innovators of animation from around the world - Japan's legendary Hayao Miyazaki, Czech surrealist Jan Svankmajer, American CGI wizard John Lassiter and Britain's own maestro Nick Park - in one volume covering everything from the classic to the cutting edge.