Christmastime is Booktime

Oh, dear Lord, there's no hiding the fact that I love books. I've tons of 'em, old and new, big and small, preferably filled with purdy pictures. Each year for my birthday and Christmas I always ask for books. Don't know why that is. Maybe it's that part of me that constantly craves information and needs to have visual stimulation in ye Olde World fashion by turning actual pages and feeling the smooth texture of paper. Maybe I just like presents. Who knows?

Since it's that time of the year again, and since I'm in a generously helpful mood, thought I'd pass along to you a list of some books that either I have and think that you might dig, or books I don't have but would look pretty nifty in my stocking currently hanging over the hearth. And perhaps yours, too. So...here we go:


As usual, I've been collecting the "This is..." series by M. Sasek. The new ones coming out in January are:

This is Britain

This is Israel. Always digging me some Sasek.

There's no cover for this one yet, but this looks pretty good: Stepping into the Picture: Cartoon Designer Maurice Noble, by Robert J. Mckinnon. I just found out about this book, so I don't know too much about it. However, I love Noble's work (known mostly for his work at Warner Bros. but also did work at Disney), and so I'll be curious to check this book out when it's available in February of 2008.


Dream Worlds: Production Design for Animation, by Hans Bacher, a former art director for Disney. Now doing his own thing in the Philippines.

Cinderella, by Mary Blair. As much as I love Sasek's work, I equally love Blair's. I haven't taken a peek at this book yet, but I'm sure it's gorgeous. For more Blair-goodness, check out Art and Flair of Mary Blair, by John Canemaker.

Thomas Allen: Uncovered, featuring the cool photographs of Thomas Allen. Intro by graphic designer Chip Kidd. I've gotten to know Mr. Allen lately, all thanks to the glory of the internets. I love his work. Incredibly ingenious set-ups of cut-out characters from pulp book covers. He's meticulous at what he does and it shows.

Desene: Sketches & Scribbles, by fellow LAIKA-ian, Ovi Nedelcu. Umm...have you had the chance to see this guy's work? Incredible.

The Ancient Book of Myth and War, by Scott Morse, Lou Romano, Don Shank, and Nate Wragg. Pretty much a Dream Team, if you ask me. Pixar artists doing the Greek gods thing. Count me in!

Popping Through Pictures: Paintings from Amanda Visell, board book that looks twice as fun as the illustrations suggest. Amanda and her co-hort in visual crime, Michelle Valigura, make up The Girls Productions.

Art and Design GAMA-GO, by Greg Long, Chris Edmundson, and Tim Biskup. I've always liked the GAMA-GO line of products, so this would be a nice thing to have to check out their designs and concepts.


I love design-y books, too. Especially the type and font variety. These two look veddy niiiice:

Hand Job: A Catalog of Type, by Michael Perry.

New Vintage Type: Classic Fonts for the Digital Age, by Steven Heller and Gail Anderson.


Yes, join me in owning these wonderful books. You won't be disappointed. "One of us....one of us...."

Three Trees make a Forest, by Ronnie Del Carmen, Tadahiro Uesugi, and Enrico Casarosa. Holy moley, what a great visual feast here. I can't get enough of these three guys. Together, they make up a strong visual collection. Lots of cute girls, if that'll sway you.

Timmy and Tammy's Train of Thought, written by Oliver Chin and illustrated by the amazing Heath McPherson. Amazing mostly for Heath's illustration talents, but also because he's from Alabama. I mean, do they actually teach art in that state? Ha ha...that's a bit of the Georgian in me. Alabama digs are always a favorite Georgia past-time. Seriously, this book is a fun, colorful look at all the different types of trains. The character designs are top-notch. Heath's style is so rich with flavor -- I think I'm going to be sick from all the sweetness. (That's a good thing.)

Fleet Street Scandal, by illustrators Chris Turham (another fellow LAIKA dude) and Kevin Dart. Together, they make up Fleet Street Scandal. Sweet drawings. More pretty ladies in this one, in a 60's pulp kind-of way. Oh, and monsters. And stunning colors. Take your pick -- this is a good one.

The Art of Ratatouille, by Karen Paik. Oh, yes. This is probably one of my favorites of the "Art of..." Pixar books. Added bonus: our man Harley Jessup is all over this book. More great work from the boys and girls of Pixar. Some day, I'll stop by for a visit.


Good ol' Jerry Beck has been busy lately, and these two books prove it:

The Art of Bee Movie, by Jerry Beck and Jerry Seinfeld. I took a quick glance in this one, and I'm incredibly impressed by what I saw. Sadly, most of what I saw did not make it onto the screen for Dreamworks Animation's latest. There's some really nice work in this book, I just hate that most of it will be overlooked. I don't have this book, but I wouldn't mind getting it. Some great work by even greater artists.

Hanna-Barbara Treasury. (Cover photo by Sherm Cohen.) Another one I don't own, but checked it out at the bookstore. A nice big tome on the art and graphics (toys and merch) of the Hanna-Barbara studios throughout the years. It's one of those conceptual books where you can open folders and envelopes to find various replicated items and what-not. A fun book, I'd rather see a book that has nothing but storyboards, model sheets, turnarounds, conceptual artwork, and original backgrounds -- but that's just the geeky animation nerd in me talking.

Okay! That's quite a list! Hope this offered some of you a chance to see what's out there for the fledgling animator/artist in your family. So, get off yer tuckus and start clickin'!


  1. I am going to have to put a couple of those on my wish list too!!
    beauties all of them.
    {I think I remember that the art of war isn't going to do another edition, so if you want to get it, get your hands on it now.}

  2. I'm sorry that I drooled on your blog, Ward. I'll clean it right up.

    I love Thomas Allen's work. Sometime I'll have to show you one of my issues of Coppola's Zoetrope: All-Story mags. Every issue features a different designer to illustrate the stories and Thomas Allen did a really nice one. Good readin', too.

  3. Yup, I too have been coveting several of these for a long time, too. So many neat books, so little money :(

    Don't forget that Nate Wragg has also done a Ratatouille story book - all new Nate art, never a bad thing :)

    And super-squees that two of them are also by LAIKA people!!
    This town feels tinier every day O_o

  4. I have an old "Jughead Double-Digest" that I can send you...

  5. Aww, yeah--- so much goodness. Many of those are on my bookshelf already or soon will be... oh yes, they will be.

    I'm really dissappointed Sasek never did a "This is Tokyo" book. Would've been awesome.

  6. Hi Ward! Nice blog. I have very old copies of the sasek books and they are falling apart. They always inspire me when need a jolt of design goodness.

  7. Hi Ward--

    I have been here once or twice-- you have a really nice blog!

    Great post here on these books. Looks like a lot of great stuff. The Biskup GAMA-GO looks cool, I might have to check that out.

    I also just made a post featuring some great art books-- more on the fine art side, but not totally. If you or any of your readers are interested, here is a link.


    Love your blog, I'm gonna put you in my links list.



  8. Thanks for the comments, guys! RJ, thanks for the heads up on those books. Nice stuff.

    Sparky, I've got that Zoetrope issue! It's amazing. I've got a few other things of his, too. Incredible work.

    Wendy, thanks for the heads up on the Art of War book.