Books Celebrate Animated Films

Article excerpt

Each summer the Evansville Vanderburgh Public Library hosts animation camps and classes for students. Animation is an expanding field and highly popular among today's children and young adults. This is evident by the growing number of animated films, including "Monsters University," "How to Train Your Dragon," "The Croods," "The Lego Movie," and others. May marks the beginning of the summer blockbuster season and there will surely be animated movies to accompany your superhero franchises and raunchy frat comedies. Below are a few books that celebrate the art of animated films, while discussing early pioneers and simple ways to create videos.

For starters, there would not be the beauty of stop-motion animation if it weren't for Ray Harryhausen. "Ray Harryhausen's Fantasy Scrapbook" takes you inside the mind of the late artist. Harryhausen pioneered stop-motion animation in films like the original "King Kong," "Clash of the Titans" and "The 7th Voyage of Sinbad." The book contains grotesque models, fantastical storyboards, and sketches from many of his films. Page by page we are reminded of the possibilities of artistic innovation, in an age of CGI effects and other Hollywood gimmicks.

Harryhausen's influence can be seen in films today that use stop- motion animation. One recent animated film that used this technique was "Para-Norman." If you loved that movie, then you may want to check out Jed Alger's "The Art and Making of ParaNorman." Chapters like The Workshop of Little Wonders and Where the Story Comes to Life highlight the teams of animators that bring the characters to the screen. Each chapter also contains colored photographs of numerous props, puppets, and three-dimensional models used in the film. The book is like a toy chest just waiting to be opened. …


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