Review: CARTOON ANIMATION with Preston Blair

The wide wonderful world of Walter Foster books!

Maybe like me, you grew up with Walter Foster books. In the ’70s, when I was a boy, these oversized (old Life Magazine format) books were already wonderful relics from a bygone era, most dating back two or three decades. I knew, right away, that they came from another time and place but they were so well put together and the instruction seemed so crisp and clear that I just loved them even if I had no idea how I was supposed to take that information and become a famous cartoonist in New York or a famous animator in Hollywood. No matter. That could always be dealt with sometime in the future. These same Walter Foster books have been reprinted many times over filling the heads of countless people of all ages with fanciful dreams that may or may not ever come true. It didn’t seem to matter. The books themselves were so wonderful! I have been looking at a recent book from Walter Foster, now an imprint at Quarto Publishing Group. It is a classic and brings up a lot of happy memories, Cartoon Animation with Preston Blair.

Cartoon Animation with Preston Blair

Animation with Preston Blair is a fine example of the lineup of Walter Foster books from Quarto in a contemporary trade paperback format. Preston Blair, born in 1908, was trained in fine art and illustration and went on to become a leading animator at Disney. Blair animated such famous work as the Hippos dance in “Dance of Hours” and Mickey Mouse in “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice,” both in 1940’s Fantasia. Blair is also known for his work at MGM, most notably his animation with Tex Avery. And he is also known for his work at Hanna-Barbera for The Flintstones. Blair offers plenty in the way of lively and inventive examples.

A page from Cartoon Animation with Preston Blair

Upon a closer examination, it’s clear that this book is a treasure trove of samples and guidelines to inspire an artist at any level. A book like this will help get you on track because it makes no pretense and gets to the heart of the matter: page after page of straightforward drawing. And new animators will appreciate plenty of examples of anatomy, perspective, and various movement along with timeless principles.

From Cartoon Animation with Preston Blair

Combining two previous titles, this manual is organized into six chapters covering cartoon construction, character development, movement, animation principles and animated acting. The retro drawings alone are worth the modest price for this 128-page fully illustrated book. Solid instruction never goes out of style and is timeless. This is recommended for all ages.

For more details, visit Quarto Publishing Group right here.


Filed under animation, Art, Book Reviews, Education

10 responses to “Review: CARTOON ANIMATION with Preston Blair

  1. Having Studied animation, that may have been a text book of mine back in the day 🙂

  2. Shankar Subramanian

    Wonderful! Just what I needed. Will look for this.

  3. My husband and I had a few of these books when we were kids. You’re right that they are very well done. When I had my own kids, I was surprised by how timeless they were yet their dilapidated covers failed to interest the next generation. Now, I feel like I need to look through some storage boxes and see if we still have them. Thanks for the moment of nostalgia.

  4. I have followed Comics Grinder for years and just love it, Henry. I know you write and draw your own comics. You have a wonderful prose novel that I enjoyed very much about the wacky adventures of a Mexican man of means out of his element in the U.S. and you still find time to do such thorough interviews and all sorts of other creative projects. I wish you well, sir!

    • Well, thank you! This is very much appreciated! Stay tuned. There is so much more ahead! And, by the way, I am open to collaborations, to advertisers, to publishers, all sorts of possibilities. Thanks again.

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