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…
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.
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.
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!
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!
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!