BOOK REVIEW – A Disney Sketchbook

Author: Ken Shue
ISBN: 1423165691

On Sale: 10/09/2012
Price: $50.00 US / $55.00 CAN
Ages: 18-30 (Lee’s Notes: Or any Disney fan, of any age!)
Imprint: Disney Editions
Description: Imagine if one sketchbook had been passed down through the decades from one Disney animator to the next, with each one making a contribution before leaving it in the talented hands of another artist. That idea was the inspiration for A Disney Sketchbook. Films and shorts from throughout the history of the company are featured—beginning with Steamboat Willie and ending with Tangled—demonstrating the ingenuity and skill that have remained a constant at Walt Disney Animation Studios since 1928.
Review: So goes the official press release of this beautiful publication. Now I’m going to impartially gush about it for the rest of the post!
From the Foreword we learn that this book contains unprocessed, unlinked, unpainted, and un-rendered selections of Disney drawings. They come from the various stages of film development: Animation thumbnails, rough animation drawings, layout drawings, and other pieces used for story and visual development. And although the artists never thought of these drawings as stand-alone artwork, but only the means to tell a story, one can’t help but view them as one would a painting hanging in the finest art gallery!
These works have been organized in a rough chronological order, understanding that many of the films they represent overlapped in their production schedules.
So which artists are represented herein? A list: Ub Iwerks, Joe Grant, Frank Thomas, Ollie Johnston, Marc Davis, Milt Kahl, Andreas Deja, Eric Goldberg, Glen Keane, as well as many other Studio drawings and works by some unknown artists.
In the Introduction we find quotes from many Disney artists about how they approached their drawings. The text in this book is contained on only 4 pages, but what they contain is well worth the read.
On the Pages that follow, we find only bare drawings. No captions. No explanations. No credits. No… nothing. Just artwork. And I loved it! Part of the fun for any true Disney fan will be in trying to guess the film that the drawing is from. Actually, this is quite easy. But more challenging is trying to guess the Artist responsible! You’ll need to get your Disney Geek on to succeed in this!

Speaking of the pages, they are heavy card stock, much like a real sketchbook would be. It’s a real treat to turn these pages!

This is a great book to ‘read’ together as a family, with each age group getting something different out of it. I’d give this book 4.5 stars out of 5, only because some might prefer more text, however unnecessary it would be.
I’d like to thank Disney Publishing Worldwide for sending me this preview copy.
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