The best books on sketching, anatomy and animation for the artist

Ron Husband Author Of Quick Sketching with Ron Husband
By Ron Husband

Who am I?

I've been drawing for over 68 years and carrying a sketchbook for over 60 of those years. I've seen success as an author, I'm an award-winning illustrator of books and magazines and animated many classic Disney features. Am I an expert on sketching humans and animals? ...No. I'm constantly learning in my effort to capture humans and animals in action by following the basic principles of drawing as they apply to quick sketching. My learning is aided by these books as I prepare lesson plans or the encouragement and inspiration found within their pages. I'm married to LaVonne, my high school sweetheart of 50 years, and have three grown children and six grandchildren.

I wrote...

Quick Sketching with Ron Husband

By Ron Husband,

Book cover of Quick Sketching with Ron Husband

What is my book about?

One of the benefits quick sketching has given me is that it has sharpened my ability to analyze actions quickly. I now look at human and animal movement and see their basic shapes, the various shapes it is composed of as a whole and individually. I am able to quickly recognize special relationships between my subject or subjects; how far an arm is away from the body, the distance one foot is from another in a walk, or how one body relates to another in space. Seeing both the negative and positive shapes as equally important has given me control over my quick sketches. I am definitely a better artist today because of what quick sketching has caused me to focus my artistic attention on. 

The books I picked & why

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Atlas of Human Anatomy for the Artist

By Stephen Rogers Peck,

Book cover of Atlas of Human Anatomy for the Artist

Why this book?

This book laid the foundation of the importance of anatomy for me. I was first introduced to the pages as a college student and over fifty years later I use it as reference for myself and the students I teach. The author, through the use of his thorough, detailed illustrations, charts, photographs and explanations guide us through a maze of complicated body parts. His mastery of the human body allows him to visually present this complex topic into easily understandable material. The information contained within its pages has also been invaluable to me over the years as a constant reference in my quick sketching, illustration, and animation projects.

Cyclopedia Anatomicae

By Gyorgy Fehér, András Szunyoghy (illustrator),

Book cover of Cyclopedia Anatomicae

Why this book?

Gorgeous illustrations abound in this through presentation of the anatomy of human and animal bodies. Practical application, diagrams, charts, text, definitions, and more have made this coffee table size book a go-to reference for me over the years.

Comparative anatomy of humans and animals has been a primary interest and subject of study of mine. I teach this topic and it is constantly brought into use in my quick sketching, illustration, and animation. I consider this a must-have for anyone interested in human and animal anatomy.

The Illusion of Life

By Frank Thomas, Ollie Johnston,

Book cover of The Illusion of Life

Why this book?

I was privileged to see firsthand these two Disney Legends and their passions for the craft of storytelling through animation. I worked with Frank and Ollie as a young animation trainee. I learned the basics of animation by ‘in-betweening’ scenes primarily for Frank. In addition to ‘in-betweening’ for Frank, he would give me scenes to animate under his supervision. The principles and philosophy of the ‘Disney way’ are explained within the pages of this book and I was fortunate to have absorbed them firsthand.

Applying the principles of animation that Frank and Ollie presented has had a tremendous effect on all aspects of my art. My book, my personal award-winning illustrations, and a 38-year career with the Disney Studio bear witness of putting these principles into practice.

Drawn to Life: 20 Golden Years of Disney Master Classes

By Walt Stanchfield,

Book cover of Drawn to Life: 20 Golden Years of Disney Master Classes

Why this book?

This two-book volume of notes, drawings, wise sayings, and philosophy are and have been invaluable assets to the learning curve of myself and numerous others. I have these same handouts, in storage boxes, saved over the years. I was there in the lunch-time drawing classes Walt taught at the Disney Studio. Before each drawing session he would hand out these xerox pages. On occasion some of my sketches were included in these handouts. With humor and enthusiasm, Walt encouraged us to push the models pose, see the possibilities and more, all with a goal of making better animation drawings. 

Walt Disney's Bambi: The Sketchbook Series

By Disney Book Group,

Book cover of Walt Disney's Bambi: The Sketchbook Series

Why this book?

Bambi, Sleeping Beauty, and Peter Pan are also part of this series. This compilation of drawings by master animators Frank Thomas, Ollie Johnston, Milt Kahl, Mark Davis, John Lounsbery, storyman Joe Grant and more are truly encouraging and inspiring. Before the drawings are passed along to the clean-up stage, we see the unique and beautiful drawings of the animators with the circles for heads and construction lines visible used to convey balance, proportion, perspective, silhouette, and attitude, all while drawing the character on model. We will all have a greater appreciation for the level of drawing mastery shared inside the pages of these books. 

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