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    The Animated Review

Animation

Bookshelf: The guys at Animated Review pick their most inspirational books

Posted by Liv Siddall,

Sometimes animators are a mysterious little sector of the creative world, no one seems to really understand how they weave the magic that they do, and so it remains rather a wonderful mystery. The Animated Review are a bunch of animation-fiends who have set out to spread the word and curate the best animation from all over the world on their site and in a very nice little printed publication. Want to know which books inspire some moving image and cartoon fanatics? Onwards, dear reader…

  • Arkabinettdesjansvankmajer

    Das Kabinett Des Jan Švankmajer

Das Kabinett Des Jan Švankmajer

Despite his films being synonymous with stop motion, Jan Švankmajer wouldn’t consider himself an animator, but a film-maker and artist. This monograph, published by Verlag für Moderne Kunst to accompany an exhibition at Kunsthalle Wienin in 2011, is a comprehensive overview of Švankmajer’s entire body of work, covering his films, animation, drawings, collages, etchings, sculptures and even photography. The variety of inspirational work contained within these pages highlights the diverse skill and creativity of this internationally recognised and multi-talented individual, and reminds us that a true creative doesn’t limit themselves to one medium or style. Švankmajer isn’t just one of our favourite animators, he ranks highly as one our favourite artists.

  • Arjulianopieflipbook

    Julian Opie: Shahnoza Dancing In White Dress / Bra And Pants

Julian Opie: Shahnoza Dancing In White Dress / Bra And Pants

Optical toys like zoetropes, phenakistoscopes and flip-books embody the playful essence and the basic principles of animation. Published by Kit Grover in 2008, this gorgeous gilt-edged flip-book from artist Julian Opie captures his minimalistic graphic portraiture style in beautiful fluid motion.

  • Arjapanesemotiongraphics2013

    Japanese Motion Graphic Creators 2013

Japanese Motion Graphic Creators 2013

Independent Japanese animators always seem to be at the forefront of stylish contemporary animation. This annual retrospective, published by BNN, is a great showcase of current trends, emerging talents, and the best animation studios across Japan. The 2013 edition includes projects from more than 100 Japanese motion graphic designers with work ranging from hand-drawn to CGI, character narratives to abstract compositions, animated fragments to feature-length movie production, and everything in between. There is literally something for every animation enthusiast! Each volume also comes with a DVD including a selection of the films featured within the book, meaning you can enjoy the work as it’s meant to be seen on a screen rather than just as printed stills. We’re already looking forward to the 2014 edition!

  • Arpictoplasma

    Pictoplasma

Pictoplasma

Great design is essential in creating a memorable character-driven animated film. Pictoplasma have been at the cutting-edge of contemporary character design since 1999. In addition to hosting annual festivals, events, exhibitions and installations across the globe, they also infrequently publish compendiums of “character encyclopaedias.” These volumes are an invaluable and inspirational source of material for illustrators and animators alike. We’ve picked out the original Pictoplasma compilation, published in 2001 by Gestalten, but all their books are equally incredible!

  • Arhedgehoginthefog

    Yuri Norstein and Francesca Yarbusova: Hedgehog In The Fog

Yuri Norstein and Francesca Yarbusova: Hedgehog In The Fog

Hedgehog In The Fog is illustrated with Francesca Yarbusova’s original artwork and sketches created for the 1957 award-winning animated film of the same name, by Russian animator Yuri Norstein. Often cited as the best animated film of all time, the narrative translates beautifully as a lavishly illustrated children’s picture book. The story is about the adventures of the philosophical little Hedgehog on his way to meet with his friend Bear. Along the way the hedgehog enters into a mysterious fog in which he encounters a horse, a dog, an owl, and a fish. There are two other titles in the Norstein & Yarbusova Collection from Rovakada Publishing, The Fox and the Hare and Mishmash. They’re all stunningly produced publications, but Hedgehog in the Fog is by far the best!

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Posted by Liv Siddall

Liv joined It’s Nice That as an intern in 2011 and worked across online, print, events and latterly Features Editor before leaving in May 2015.

Most Recent: Animation View Archive

  1. Agile-films-action-man-its-nice-that-list

    Sometimes the most disturbing, troubling but important things are best delivered with dark humour and a large dose of the unexpected. Such is the case in this powerful animation from Veterans for Peace, which sends up an advert for Action Man figures to drive home their campaign to end child recruitment into the British Armed Forces and raise the age people can join from 16 to 18.

  2. Nudinits-its-nice-that-list-

    In one of the more surreal email missives I have received, Sarah Simi informed me of her equally surreal labour of love: an entirely hand-knitted stop motion animation set in a charming little town called Woolly Bush. All of its quaint inhabitants are totally starkers, save the odd pearly king hat, vicar’s collar or socks and sandals combo. Named Nudinits and animated by Ed Hartwell, the detail is extraordinary: from tiny bubbles on beer and a little cat poop to some woolled-up bible passages, nothing has been missed.

  3. Animade-itsnicethat-list

    Tennis season is definitely in full swing now with the first game of Wimbledon kicking off (or whatever the tennis equivalent is) today. What better way to usher in the quintessentially British tournament than with some animation from our favourites Animade. Originally created for last month’s 2015 French Open as part of IBM’s interactive campaign for the tournament, eight animations and illustrations were displayed via large-scale advertisements around Paris’ Charles de Gaulle Airport and the Roland-Garros tennis stadium.

  4. Coda-itsnicethat-list

    When an animation manages to clock up more than 20 international film awards and an Oscar shortlist nomination you can be fairly sure it’s going to warrant taking nine minutes out of your busy morning – nine minutes you might have spent making coffee, or smoking, or chatting to a babe in HR – to watch. Coda is a short film by Dublin-based animation studio And Maps And Plans, which follows one lost soul’s drunken stumble home from a nightclub in the early hours of the morning. What starts as a warmly depicted story about drunk antics quickly transforms into a quiet reflection on life and mortality that will stick with you all day. At the risk of ruining the surprise I’ll stop there, but if you have them to spare, this might be the most wisely spent nine minutes you use all day.

  5. Wong-ping-itsnicethat-list

    I’m finding more and more these days that when an email from Mr Wong Ping lands in my inbox, my day immediately becomes ten times more fun. This is partly due to Wong’s email manner, and partly due to his inimitable ability to pick up on subjects which have never before been covered in animation.

  6. Sean-pecknold-nicolas-godin-orca-its-nice-that-list

    “When I first heard this song, I was like: Whuuuuuuuuu…. this rules. Then I listened to it for a few days on repeat with my eyes closed,” says director Sean Pecknold of his brilliant new video for one-half-of-Air Nicolas Godin’s new release.

  7. Blur-ong-ong-video-its-nice-that-list

    Anyone who’s ever watched the Damien Hirst-directed video for Blur’s Country House will be aware of the band’s guitarists Graham Coxon’s exemplary ability to look very, very uncomfortable. Poor thing, all bespectacled and writing about in a big brash bath that might as well be frothing over with cocaine and New Labour arrogance as with Matey bubbles. So imagine how the poor guy must have reacted to being told he had to dress as a sort of overgrown fuzzy flea, while front man Damon prances about in a large ice-cream cone costume. These are just some of the very surreal capers we see in the brand new video for Ong Ong, directed by Tony Hung, with illustrations by Spencer Wilson and using animation by Amy Sutton, Pete Mellor and Layla Atkinson at Trunk Studio.

  8. Marc-and-emma-bts-itsnicethat-list

    Clicking onto Emma De Swaef and Marc James Roels’ portfolio site is something like tentatively stepping into a fantasy world inhabited by felt miniatures. Having previously concocted this magical short about woollen wrestling puppets, the Ghent-based filmmaking duo is now back with a new and equally enchanting puppet creation, and this time it’s a sweet, tiny green gorilla.

  9. Universaleverything-sydneyoperahouse-itsnicethat-list

    It may be my former life as a hack but there’s something about the word “biggest” that always piques my interest. That said, ambition only gets you so far and you can’t sacrifice skill or style in a headlong rush for scale. With Universal Everything though, you needn’t worry. On Friday the studio created its largest projection to date, lighting up the iconic sails of the Sydney Opera House with hand-drawn animations from 22 of the world’s best creatives. Every year the landmark commissions an artist to work on its curves and Matt Pyke and his team jumped at the chance to take on an opportunity that “epitomises everything we strive for.”

  10. Brian-wilson-california-inspires-me-its-nice-that-list-

    We didn’t really need an animation to tell us how much California has inspired The Beach Boys. But nonetheless, when a sweet, pencil-drawn Brian Wilson is telling us exactly why through a beautifully crafted animation by James Blagden, we’re certainly not complaining. Aside from obvious cues like songs called California Girls and the less well-received California Saga: California; the band is synonymous with surfing and the US West Coast, though as many a pub bore has been swift to point out, only one member of the band, Dennis, actually surfed. However, throughout the animation’s two-and-a-half minutes we do learn a lot. “I was listening to Rubber Soul one night and I was so blown away I went straight to my piano to start writing Pet Sounds. I was like outta my mind. And it took us an hour – only about an hour to write God Only Knows.”

  11. Lie

    In Chinese animator Lei Lei’s newest piece of work the words Missing One Player hint at something devastating – a world in which an incomplete group of Mahjong players, are waiting to find the missing person needed to play their tile-based board game as the earth hurtles towards an unnamed planet.

  12. Treat-studios-adultswim-idents-its-nice-that-list

    As anyone who’s seen pretty much anything to emerge from the Adult Swim network will testify, its output is pretty darned weird. Sometimes in a good way, sometimes in a help-I-feel-sick way, but perhaps that’s because I never have been and never will be a teenage boy. For its no-holds-barred bonkersness and gross-out mentality, it must surely be a dream for many animators to work for the brand. So Treat Studios, which has created the latest Adult Swim trailers, were understandably chuffed to be commissioned for the project “completely out of the blue.”

  13. Unnamed-1

    GIFs are just a part of life now, like shoes or the BBC. In a world overrun with these oddly satisfying little snippets of expression, the general vibe of GIFs so far has been leaning much more on the quantity level than the quality. When you find yourself scrolling cross-eyed through the internet and you come across GIFs with such delicate majesty such as these by Rebecca Mock, it hits you like a pixelated smack in the face. Rebecca is an illustrator from New York who creates exquisite digital illustrations for the likes of The New York Times, The New Yorker, and Medium among others. Her illustrations are subtle and somewhat tender moments represented in GIF form, un-showy and delicate. Sometimes the only thing moving in the whole image is a flashing light on a laptop, or the endless sideways scroll of an iPad. How refreshing to see someone leaping on this medium, and using it to illustrate the strange new digital world we’re in.