Monday, November 14, 2011

Disney Archive Series: Layout & Background

The Walt Disney The Archive Series: Layout & Background is a large luxurious book that covers, as you might have guessed, the layouts and backgrounds of many of Disney's animated features. Opening with a small introduction by John Lasseter, the book documents work from the very first few Mickey Mouse films all the way to 2010's Tangled. Every major film has at least a couple pages, and there is also a good deal of work from lesser know pieces. In this book, we are finally able to stop and appreciate some of the more beautiful and well thought out backgrounds of the Disney Animation career. For, as John Lasseter writes, "The genius of these backgrounds is that they do all the work, ...showing us where all the action takes place and help us understand the unspoken rules affecting the characters' behavior... without ever calling attention to themselves or interrupting the flow of the story"

What is really interesting about this book is that it IS both layout and background. Often there are opposing pages where the left holds the 'layout, full of notes and remarks to the painter. Then on the right page there is the completed work, ready to be animated on top of. 

Sleeping Beauty, along with a few other backgrounds, gets a full, fold-out, three page spread! So very beautifully worth it

What is really wonderful is seeing all of these collected in one place. This way, it is easy to appreciate huge variety of different styles of background. While Disney characters may be accused of having a certain look, the same cannot be said of their sumptuously diverse backgrounds.

The opening image of Oliver and Company, recognizable New York City, with just the right amount of grit and texture. And the iconic twin towers. 

The Hunchback of Notre Dame, and you have to appreciate how much time must have been spent on such an intricate bit of background!

Pros: A large book with heavy binding, almost no writing, just pictures. It is very good at avoiding catching images in the center seam, and the paper is thick and glossy. This book is probably one of the sturdier I have. I recommend all of my books, but I have to say this one is very quickly becoming one of my very favorites. 

Cons: This is layout AND background. Therefore there is a little less of each. There are some animated features where there are backgrounds I wish I could see, but are not represented. But this is to be expected of such a huge compilation. A wonderful book!

How To Buy: Amazon

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