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Thursday, May 04, 2006

Media: Preston Blair's Animation First Edition

This post is just the tip of the iceberg... see reason number 8 on our The Top Ten Reasons To Support The A-HAA for links to more great art instruction posts.

An Online Drawing Course Taught By Preston Blair and John Kricfalusi! Click For Details...

Preston BlairPreston BlairPreston Blair's Animation (Book 1) is the best "how to" book on cartoon animation ever published. When Blair put the book together in 1947, he used the characters he had animated at Disney and MGM to illustrate the various basic principles of animation. Apparently, the rights to use some of the characters were revoked after the book was already in the stores. Publication was halted for a time, and he was forced to redraw most of the MGM characters, replacing them with generic characters of his own design. The revised edition went on to become a classic, and the first edition was forgotten.

Cartoon BrewCartoon BrewAnimation historian, Jerry Beck, whose excellent blog Cartoon Brew is in the bookmarks of just about everyone in the animation business, has been hunting for a first edition of Blair's landmark book for many years. He finally found a copy in a collection of material that belonged to legendary animator, Dave Tendlar. If you are familiar with the revised edition, you're in for a treat. Pull out your copy and compare it to these scans...

Preston Blair
Preston Blair
Preston Blair
Preston Blair
Preston Blair
Preston Blair
Preston Blair
Preston Blair
Preston Blair
Preston Blair
Preston Blair
Preston Blair
Preston Blair
Preston Blair
Preston Blair
Preston Blair
Preston Blair

For more on Preston Blair's "Animation", see... Part Two


Marc Deckter of Duck Walk has posted side by side comparisons of the first edition and revised edition of this book, so you can clearly see the difference. Check it out at...

Preston Blair's Variations On A Theme

In his blog Goober Sleave, Kevin Langley has identified that some of the drawings in the book derive from MGM model sheets. See...

MGM Model Sheet Sources

If you don't have Preston Blair's book yet, Get It Now! No cartoonist, aspiring or professional should be without it. If this book was good enough for Dave Tendlar, it's good enough for you.

Stephen Worth
Animation Archive

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At 11:20 PM, Blogger Lito said...

Wow, you really have cool stuff here. I wonder if I can do something this in my blog Download Ebook

At 12:41 AM, Blogger Raj said...

Those some great about taking you back to yesteryear. Great stuff.

At 7:11 AM, Blogger Clarke (Csnyde) said...

Wow what a difference huh?

It's amazing how much more appealing and full of life these characters are than those "dumb-downed" & generic versions Blair was forced to go with afterwards.

What a shame...

But at least we have great folks like Steve and Jerry who are kind wnough to share these sort of treasures with us and to let us take a peek at such great material that would have been otherwise doomed to be forgotten.

Steve, I have the grabs you asked for that relate to a lot of these pages and will be posting them to my blog later today.

I can't wait to see the rest of the pages from this book.

At 8:17 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

hi steve,
I just wanted to let you know what a fantastic job you are doing with the archive. Iook forward to every update.

Bert Klein

At 9:22 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh Man.... I was just telling someone about this book. Thanks for scanning it in!

At 10:33 AM, Blogger Kris said...

I wonder why most of the MGM studios characters were asked to be removed, since it seems like he had explicit permission to use them.

Very strange also that Screwy Squirrel and Tex Avery's wolf were removed, but Red and a skipping Disney-style squirrel from a Screwball Squirrel cartoon are left in.

It's kind of funny that the owl sequence, some other material from Bambi, the fox from Pinocchio, and some stuff from Fantasia is in the modern editions, while the "Three Little Pigs" character and Thumper on the "cute character" page are long gone.

At 11:01 AM, Blogger Duck Dodgers said...

Wonderful post!
I can't wait to see the remaining half of the book!

At 1:00 PM, Anonymous jorge garrido said...

Steph, Jerry, and John. I just want to say THANK YOU FOR THIS!!! This is an amazing find! I'll be copying this book for years to come! This book is amazing!

I don't say this often but BEST POST EVER.

At 1:55 PM, Blogger Marc Crisafulli said...

Thanks for this... it's just this kind of rare material that's gonna make the Animation Archive invaluable to many for many years to come.

At 9:32 PM, Blogger Julián höek said...

what a great post!!! this is pure gold. please keep posting these rare version of blair's book. if it's posible ALL!!!
i didn't know that it was originaly made with know characters. it was amazing seeing that the cat construction was in fact tom!!
pleeese post the rest!!

At 10:38 PM, Blogger cableclair said...

thank you thank you thank you! You're doing a fantastic job with these archives, I can't thank you enough.

At 10:52 PM, Blogger Trevour said...

I'll have to agree with Jorge... BEST POST yet!

At 5:56 PM, Blogger Josh "Just What the Doctor Ordered" Heisie said...

I have the Preston Blair book John is always raving about (with the yellow cover). These drawings are even better than in that one!

Why did he change them??? Is is because he lost the rights to put MGM characters in the book?

At 8:01 AM, Anonymous P.C. Unfunny said...

I see it's basically the same book I have, the re-print, "Animation 1 " but it obviously dosen't have alot of the MGM characters.I am glad I am not missing out on any inportant lessons,

At 11:00 AM, Blogger Katie said...

I've been waiting so long to see the original book! Thank you Steve! I love that page with all the squirrels...

At 12:11 AM, Blogger stormko said...

Wow...I don't know what to say, except to thank you for continuing to be generous enough to share all that you do. People like you, Jerry Beck, John K, etc, are giving great animation "culture" a chance to survive in coming generations. I am so envious Beck being able to hold that book, smell it's age. haha. To echo the previous posts, THANK YOU!

At 7:01 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

When I was a little kid my dad gave me an old copy of Preston's book and I used to draw from it all the time. I just recently dug it up agian,as I'm now in art school. Until now, I had now idea what I was sitting on all these years, but I agree that it is an amazing resource!

At 8:24 PM, Anonymous Havoc said...

Hey, wow. My father used to do layout work for Hanna Barbera in Australia, and he's got a whole series of these books. His copy of this one, while with a different cover, definitely has Tom&Jerry and these images in it. I must tell him it might be vaguely valuable.

... or would have been, if us kids hadn't coloured in half of it and drawn in the other half ... :)

At 10:31 AM, Anonymous Michelle said...

Wow. I'm so glad I found this, my teacher forwarded it to me and this is so wonderful. Thank you!

At 9:27 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What to say! I am at a loss.
I am from a small corner of India, and only knew the name of Preston Blair's book. Your effort is just too good. I feel I am dreaming....

Best things in life really happen when you least expect it.

Thanks, thanks a lot of.

At 3:31 PM, Anonymous Schwertel said...

Great book for animation!!!
Thank you for the archive.
Hope a lot of 3D-animators read it also

At 3:14 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey really neat stuff on these pages I do remember a lot of these from when i was a kid.

I think they still show these on Turner Claasic movies sometimes so maybe you can catch them up.

Gives a very good idea on just how you might get started drawning some of your own.

Thank's for the information.


At 10:28 PM, Anonymous Jeremy Casper said...

Wow! What incredible memories! This was the first "how to" drawing book I ever had... I wore it to shreds; I probably drew every character in the book... SEVERAL TIMES... Preston Blair had a huge impact on my illustration style... I can still see remnants of it in my work toady... Thanks for posting!


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