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Preston Blair's "Advanced Animation" (1st Edition)


preston.jpgCreated in 1947, "Advanced Animation" has often been called the best "how-to" book on cartoon animation ever published.

Found at ASIFA - Hollywood Animation Archive, they write:

Animation 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.


This is definitely worth checking out!


  1. I got the book in Dutch (since that is my native language) It really is a source of help, if you want to draw cartoons. (which of course will become 3d models later on :) ).

    Nice to see the very first edition :)

  2. I have the (changed) new version with the yellow cover. There is no animation book that is so packed with information! I also have his "How to animate film cartoons" - it is just as valuable.

    Preston was a genius.

  3. I put a comment about that on my site. This "book" has been freely available online for several years now. The later edition was even converted to a more web friendly format and somewhat expanded content. All freely available for download.

    So assume if the jpeg images of the pages are free for everyone, a simple compilation to pdf with no modification should be fine - kind of like changing the jpegs to tga's.

    If anyone knows better please help me out. I am under the impression that this content is in the public domain or something.....?

    Like if someone mirrored my keying tutorial, I suppose I could see a situation why I might courteously ask them not to if I was depending on the exclusive of the web traffic the content created, but I don;t know if that would constitute a copyright violation...

    Actually the more I think about it, I'm gonna take that link down. If anyone wants to save themselves the hassle of converting to pdf, email me.

  4. The material on the ASIFA site may still be protected by copyright. It is not public domain. The ASIFA-Hollywood Animation Archive is a 501(c)(3) non-profit educational institution. As such, we have special provisions of "fair use" under copyright law. Some of these provisions do not apply to individuals who might choose to redistribute our media files.

    You can use an image or two to accompany links to our articles, and feel free to use the material for reference yourself. But please don't repackage or redistribute the images or separate the media from the accompanying articles.

    For more information, please see the Terms of Use of the ASIFA-Hollywood Animation Archive.

    Stephen Worth
    ASIFA-Hollywood Animation Archive

  5. Good to see the respect given to Stephen W's polite post.
    Seems that the PDF's have been pulled from the above sites.
    Make your own PDF but keep it off the web. :)

  6. The entire ASIFA site is a hugely valuable resource for animation history and reference. I highly recommend digging around the site, as there are character sheets for hundreds of characters, sketch pages by tons of highly talented and creative artists spanning the history of animation and lots of information on specific animated films and shorts from the past. They are one of my more frequent online stops :D

  7. On the site they compare the original version of the book with the reprint he was forced to make (After MGM changed their minds about letting him use their characters in his book). Like posters on the site, I agree that the original art was more alive. The original characters had more 'character'. The generic characters are constructed the same way (so the purpose of the book --to teach drawing animated characters-- remains fulfilled), its just that the original art is so much better, even though there is more detail in the newer characters. Its like comparing the new Saturday morning cartoons vs. the old cartoons from the '30s and '40's. Something got lost along the way.

  8. Mr.Preston Blair also has a concise book of around 32 pages, the one which has basics of drawing characters.Can somebody let me know where can I get that from???

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