Monday, August 6, 2007

The Bible of Animation


Those who know me know I love a good treasure hunt. It's true. There's something spectacularly exciting about going on a search for that item that can only be found by going to special nooks and crannies of the earth. Now, while acquiring this book wasn't exactly the most painstaking expedition I've ever been on, it was no less exciting for me. Every animator has in his or her possession Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston's The Illusion of Life - aka the Bible of animation. Of course, as is my fate with all good things, I only discovered the existence of this book after it had gone out of print (Gimme a break folks, the first publication was 26 years ago - 3 years before I was even born).

The thing isn't that this book is extraordinarily hard to find. At least two or three pop up on Amazon or Ebay at any given time. But the general point is that I had been longing for this book for some 5 or 6 years so finally acquiring one was a real thrill for me. So one pleasant evening after work two weeks ago I had my first encounter with Second Story Books - a wonderful used bookstore in Dupont Circle with just about any book you can imagine. To my utter delight they had a whole section devoted not just to art, but to animation and cartoons in general. So, for just 30 bucks I got my very own copy of the Illusion of Life and left for home glowing with joy.

5 comments:

Megan said...

so if i search the words lainey and bible on google, do you think it will take me here?

Davelandweb said...

What a great book! I remember receiving it as a gift as a child...yes, I am a few years older than you! Nice blog—enjoyed discovering it today!

loosetoon said...

Well done! Now imagine it's 1993, the year I got my first animation job, and the first printing is already out of print and it hasn't been reprinted yet, and every used copy you've ever seen is $300-$400! Thank the maker they reprinted this gem in the late 90's. I bought 2 copies just in case. Haha!

Matt J said...

Yeah-it was reprinted around a decade ago-is it really that hard to find these days? I remember seeing it on sale in the Disney Store.

I first came across the 'bible' in 1994 in my art school library-& it was like finding the Holy Grail! It was a true revelation-I checked it out every 2 weeks for the rest of the year! At the end of the course I asked the librarian if I could BUY it from the library & she sympathetically agreed to let it go 'on the side' if I pretended I'd lost it & then pay! It was an old, first print edition without a cover-quite a hefty tome. The reprint was on lighter paper & is almost half as thick!

Scott said...

30 bucks?

Not bad. I got mine at Walt Disney World (Downtown Disney) for 60 about four years ago.

Good find!