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Great Animation Books for Your Career

If you want to learn anything, nothing beats the efficiency of books. However, if you are an animator seeking inspiration and reference, we have the best animation books for you to start with.

Animation books for Beginners

Several platforms on the Internet can help you find all the information you need. iAnimate is an online animation school unlike any other. We like teaching beginner's guide to animation and are dedicated to giving you the knowledge and motivation you need to succeed.

So here are our best books for animation students, beginners, juniors, and even professional animators in no particular order at all. So give them a read, and let us know what you got from them.

Great Animation Books for Your Career

1. Disney Animation The Illusion of Life - Frank Thomas & Ollie Johnston

Two legendary "Nine Old Men" animators have created a masterpiece wrapped inside a book. They are the Walt Disney Company's legendary animators.

It was my first animation book. In addition, it taught me much about the animation process and inspired me to become the animator I am today.

It walks you through Disney's whole picture-making process. So, look no further if you are looking for Disney's magical secret. Furthermore, the book offers animators in-depth knowledge of the history of animation and other essential animation principles.

2. Animator’s Survival Kit – Richard Williams

You are probably familiar with the excellent animator who framed Roger Rabbit (The Pink Panther). Richard Williams, the famed animator, is also the author of this fantastic book. Many animators consider it to be the Bible of animation. With this perspective, you can appreciate the significance of this book.

Although it’s one of the 2d animation books geared for 2D animators, the principles are equally relevant to 3D. As a result, it is an excellent place to begin for any budding animator.

The book focuses on animation fundamentals, from bouncing balls through run cycles. Furthermore, the book's hallmark focuses heavily on approaches useful in the animation business.

We like people named Richard ;)! This has helped me with my animation cycles and taught me how to think in frames. I have looked at walks, runs, and animations differently since then.

3. Cartoon Animation - Preston Blair

One of the animation books that has always been an inspiring one to get my animation juices going. Preston Blair, alias Fantasia, is an institution for 2D animation newbies. Likewise, this book by him is a must-have for every animator.

The book includes all you need to know about animation concepts and methods. It will teach you to generate dynamic movement, construct a character, and animate language with action.

4. Acting for Animators - Ed Hooks

Animation pros highly recommend this book. The most crucial reason is that Ed Hooks write it. However, he does not need an introduction but may be unfamiliar to newcomers.

Ed Hooks is a world-renowned acting coach and educator who conducts Masterclasses on acting for animators. His books offer working ideas and examples to assist you in improving your acting abilities.

Acting abilities are essential for every animator because they allow you to bring your characters to life. So, acting is a vital animation component, and this book may help you with that.

5. Character Animation Crash Course - Eric Goldberg

As the title suggests, this book offers a brief overview for any animator. Eric Goldberg, the book's author, is another legendary animator, voice actor, and film director who has worked for Walt Disney Animation Studios and Warner Bros. Animation.

I, too, had the chance to open up with Eric during a masterclass. He is an inspiration to everybody who pushed me to take my animation to the next level. It was a thrilling experience to rub shoulders with a well-known animator.

All of the techniques, analyses and deep insights into the world of animation are covered in this book. Moreover, Goldberg's amusing, instructive remarks based on his 30-plus years in the animation industry are sprinkled throughout the book's material.

6. Drawn to Life: 20 Golden Years of Disney Master Classes - Walt Stanchfield

This one specific book has changed a lot of animators! It helped me sharpen my view towards animation and directing in particular. I’ve read the animation books Walt Stanchfield, the famed animator, teaches life drawing workshops in all three volumes of "Drawn to life." So, these books should be properly read.

Every page of this book provides tidbits of drawing knowledge or philosophy. Furthermore, it will inspire you to consider drawing in a new light.

7. Timing for Animation - Harold Whitaker and John Halas

Two of the world's most well-known animators, Harold and John, have written this book. It covers all you need to know about the importance of time in animated films as well as the art of timing.

8. Animated Performance: Bringing Imaginary Animal, Human, and Fantasy Characters to Life - Nancy Beiman

Nancy Beiman, a well-known expert in the animation industry, has written this book. She is a professor at Sheridan College in Oakville, Canada. She has also produced, directed, created, storyboarded, and animated commercials, specials, features, and new media projects for television.

This book focuses on the character of any animation. It demonstrates how a character's actions might appear to "come to life" when they reflect their position's emotional or narrative context. So, it is all about the animator's art of acting and his characters.

9. Simplified Drawing: For Planning Animation - Wayne Gilbert

This book focuses on fundamentally drawing the human form's not just for animators; illustrators, character designers, and comic artists are also welcome.

Because some of the top animators utilize it at ILM, Walt Disney, Blue Sky, EA, and others, the book has a high practical value, which should convince you to pick up this book.

I wish I had landed on this book as a younger animator. However, there are such great and straightforward learnings that you can apply as an animator. In addition, it is an easy and fun read.

10. Directing the Story - Francis Glebas

Francis Glebas, a Disney storyboard artist, gives artists a structural approach to effectively and dramatically communicate visual storytelling through his book.

It focuses on using the storyboard to best express the tale and captures the emotional essence.

This book's most prominent feature is it explains visual storytelling by telling you a tale. This makes it much easier to read since you are learning about storytelling and are also invested in the story and eager to find out how it ends.


The demand for animators is high, but what sets successful animators apart is their ability to maintain consistency while telling new stories. Being an animator can be a long and winding road, depending on your path. But if you have the desire and support, nothing can stop you!

So, if you want to work as an animator, you will need to know where to begin and who to learn from. While we have covered some of the best animation books, each person's path is unique.

The best way to learn is to have a mentor or someone who can guide you through your animation. So if you want to learn from the best, contact us, and we can help you become industry-ready.

Artilce by Richard Arroyo & iAnimate Team

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