Animation Art: From Pencil to Pixel, the World of Cartoon, Amime and CGI Paperback – 27 Aug 2004
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Top Customer Reviews
I've been reading Jerry Beck's blog (CartoonBrew) for a couple of years now, and it had greatly expanded my knowledge of the animated world. His newest book, The Animated Movie Guide, is an essential purchase for anyone with even a fleeting interest in the artform, so naturally I was expecting a lot from this book, which cost me TWICE as much(!).
Its merits lie in its content, but that is also where it suffers. Whereas the Animated Movie Guide listed every feature length animated film to be released to American theatres, Animation Art presents a chronological guide to the entire medium, including shorts, independent and international films. Each two-page spread covers a different area, so it's good as a pick-up-and-read-at-any-point type of book. These areas are as diverse as "Disney Goes To War", "The Wise Guys" and "Advertisements". So there's a lot of stuff covered. A lot of stuff I was unaware of somehow (because I'm a genius when it comes to this sort of thing).
The loss of two stars is for these two reasons:
1)There is FAR too much in there about CGI. Personally, I can't stand much CGI other than the Pixar stuff. It just seems so lifeless. The fact that almost a quarter of this book looks at CG animation is a big disappointment. It's not just those boring Shrek films (and the subsequent plague of copycat films that they spawned). It looks at The Matrix, The Lord of the Rings, Jurassic Park, Stuart Little and the Scooby-Doo movie. Hardly what I was expecting from a book which, I'm guessing, is aimed at the animatophile market.Read more ›
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
In the Foreword, Jeffrey Katzenberg observes that animation art provides a unique opportunity "to remember to know who has gone before, to really know the stories, take lessons from them, and bring that knowledge to the future. My hope is that, one day, other people will feel the same way about about those of us who are making animated films now. While it is an amazing thing to have the opportunity to create films and to bring these enormous enterprises to the world, it is something entirely different and entirely more rare to have our work remembered and considered part of the continuing evolution of an art form." Thanks to Beck, those who work their way through this magnificent volume will not only remember what has been achieved in animation art thus far; they will also understand what can yet be accomplished as others who have yet to reveal themselves through their art.
I highly recommend this volume to anyone interested in animation art, of course, but also to those who have an interest in the creation and evolution of comic books. Also to those who share my high regard for illustrators such as Al Hirschfeld whose art is celebrated in Hirschfeld on Line, now available from Amazon in both book and DVD formats.
From the early days up to the latest blockbusters of the 21st century, the authors have covered all concepts, genres and media. Including European, Asian and Canadian cartoons, stop motion, CGI and more.
Beautifully presented with many colour pictures and written by experienced contributors it leaves no stone unturned.
The only disappointment is the amount of text devoted to one of my all time favourites, Tom & Jerry.
Otherwise a comprehensive tome that will provide for anybody interested in animation.
including stop motion. It was organized by decade, by country. There were
many contributors who chose what they were most interested in and I guess
their passion rubs off because it is hard to put down and very informative.
If you want a course in animation history, just read this and save your
tuition money. I don't know how Jerry Beck does it all but we all
benefit from his dedication. Thank you, Jerry. Keep up the good work.
This is a pity, as text-wise this book clearly is a labor of love. Written by no less than 22 authors (e.g. David Gerstein, Mike Mayerson and Fred Patten), it is a celebration of almost a century of animation, from the first experiments in animated drawing to the most modern CGI.
Moreover, unlike Leonard Maltin's 'Of Mice and Magic: A History of American Animated Cartoons; Revised and Updated' or Charles Solomon's 'The History of Animation: Enchanted Drawings' it doesn't restrict itself to the United States, but tries to encompass world animation, with notable chapters on e.g. Japanese, Chinese, British, French, Hungarian, Yugoslavian and Russian animation industries. In this respect, it's a more accessible and less cerebral version of Bendazzi's 'Cartoons: One Hundred Years of Cinema Animation'.
With such a scope histories, of course, remain sketchy and at their worst consist of lists of titles, only. However, this is compensated by an abundance of color illustrations, which certainly invite the reader to look for the films himself. Moreover, I could discover only a few small errors and omissions - the exclusion of Martin Rosen and Jan Švankmajer being the most unforgivable.
'Animation Art' is thus a great introduction to the rich world of animation, and as such recommended to everyone with even the slightest interest in it.