Friday, May 17, 2019

Cartooning: Animation 1 with Preston Blair

Cartooning: Animation 1 with Preston Blair is a tutorial guide to series line drawn cartoon style characters. Released 7th May 2019 by Quarto on their Walter Foster imprint, it's 40 pages and available in paperbound format. Artist/inspiration Preston Blair's iconic style will be instantly recognizable to anyone who has ever watched a classic cartoon from Disney, Tex Avery's MGM, or Hanna-Barbera. It's very nice to see his work being presented in an accessible format to a new generation of art students.

Roughly 10% of the page content is used in the introduction and techniques chapter. There's a general tools and materials intro which leads directly into the unit chapters showing how to draw different units (heads) as well as tutorials for changing the basic shape and perspective (squashing, elongating, facial expressions etc).
The tutorials show action and position through simplified line drawings in sequence, animation style. The artist provides helpful diagrams showing both the incorrect and corrected positions to illustrate movement and follow through. I found those very helpful. There are times when the student knows that a drawing isn't quite right but can't put their finger on exactly what is wrong. These side by side comparisons help.

The simplified series drawings are followed by several character type tutorials showing different positioning, anatomy, facial expressions and ratios for 'pugnacious', 'cute', 'screwball' and other characters.

Approximately 25% of the page content contains 'flip book' style series drawings showing range of movement, with characters sneaking, skipping, running, walking etc. This includes 2 and 4 legged characters. These series are packed in 4 or more per page and are very simplified. There are also several specific step by step tutorials that cover several pages showing individual characters sneaking, running, etc.

There's also a very useful tutorial on mouth and face anatomy while speaking. Different mouth and face positions are shown for individual letters and words.

The book is clearly aimed at students of animation, but I can see it being very useful for anyone who wishes to learn to draw in that classic animation cartoon style.

Five stars, lots of info here.

Disclosure: I received an eARC at no cost from the author/publisher for review purposes.

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