5 Books that Should be
in Every Animator's Library

Becoming a good animator requires constant education and improvement. In today's online world, it's easy to get advice, tips or tutorials, whether on youtube or on professional animation websites. But if you want a more comprehensive look at animation, it's still a good idea to read some of the key textbooks on animation. Their content is timeless and the animation industry still follows the basic expertise they contain. We have selected 5 famous books for those who are new to animation, but seasoned animators will certainly find something relevant in them as well.

1. The Animator's Survival Kit - Richard Williams

If you have already created an animated sequence, it’s highly likely that you’ve come across this book before. It is one of the acknowledged classics on the basics and anyone who is just a little serious about animation should leaf through it. Williams connects the old-school animation with modern approaches and in his publication, will provide you with a lot of how-to guides and basic tips, but also advanced techniques. In addition, he describes everything in such a colourful and readable way that it instantly deepens your love of animation.


2. The Illusion of Life - Frank Thomas a Ollie Johnson

If any book deserves the nickname "Animator's Bible", then this is it. For several decades, even the greatest animators have been returning to it to remind themselves how to properly do their craft. The book analyses Disney films and focuses on the principles behind every type of animation that has appeared in films from the very beginning. At the same time, it is probably the most beautiful book among all animation publications. It’s peppered throughout with large illustrations, helping you to better visualise what you have just learned.


3. The Animator’s Sketchbook - Pixar

If working for Pixar is your dream job, then this book may help you get a little closer to that goal. But this is no ordinary read, because you complete this book yourself. The Animator's Sketchbook will teach you the whole process of animation, from character concept design to storyline structure, and it's you who complements the book with your own illustrations. In addition, quotes from famous animators, which are there to inspire and help you get to the end, accompany you all the way. Once you get to the last page, you should now be able to think and work like a modern animator.


4. Cartoon Animation - Preston Blair

Do you have a passion for cartoons? Don't be fooled by the name. Although Preston Blair deals with cartoon animation, his know-how is just as relevant to almost any kind of character animation. In his book, he focuses on 5 basic areas of animation: Character Movement, Character Development, Dialogue, Animation, and Camera. This publication differs from the others mainly in that it places greater emphasis on working with the face and expressions. Thanks to detailed work on smiles, grimaces and "lip syncing", the author helps us to really believe in his characters' lives, even though they may visually look like any fairy tale.


5. Elemental Magic: The Art of Special
Effects Animation - Joseph Gilland

To conclude our selection, we have included a book that doesn’t animate characters or objects, but special effects. Animation guru Joseph Gilland will teach you how to breathe even more life into your animations using elements such as water or fire. The author shares with the reader the processes that explain step-by-step how to achieve the best special effects you are used to seeing on the large screen. In addition, the book is complemented by beautiful original illustrations, helping you to devour it like a raspberry sundae.


There are heated discussions about which books are essential for animation, and of course there are many other brilliant publications that just won’t fit into our short list. But if you get your hands on any of this list, you definitely won’t regret it. Viva animation!

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