100 books like Drawn to Life

By Walt Stanchfield,

Here are 100 books that Drawn to Life fans have personally recommended if you like Drawn to Life. Shepherd is a community of 9,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of The Illusion of Life

Ron Husband Author Of Quick Sketching with Ron Husband

From my list on sketching, anatomy and animation for the artist.

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.

Ron's book list on sketching, anatomy and animation for the artist

Ron Husband Why did Ron love 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.

By Frank Thomas, Ollie Johnston,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked The Illusion of Life as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The most complete book on the subject ever written, this is the fascinating inside story by two long-term Disney animators of the gradual perfecting of a relatively young and particularly American art from, which no other move studio has ever been able to equal.

The authors, Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston, worked with Walt Disney himself as well as other leading figures in a half-century of Disney films. They personally animated leading characters in most of the famous films and have decades of close association with the others who helped perfect this extremely difficult and time-consuming art form. Not to…


Book cover of Atlas of Human Anatomy for the Artist

Ron Husband Author Of Quick Sketching with Ron Husband

From my list on sketching, anatomy and animation for the artist.

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.

Ron's book list on sketching, anatomy and animation for the artist

Ron Husband Why did Ron love 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.

By Stephen Rogers Peck,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Atlas of Human Anatomy for the Artist as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Stephen Rogers Peck's Atlas of Human Anatomy for the Artist remains unsurpassed as a manual for students. It includes sections on bones, muscles, surface anatomy, proportion, equilibrium, and locomotion. Other unique features are sections on the types of human physique, anatomy from birth to old age, an orientation on racial anatomy, and an analysis of facial expressions. The wealth of information offered by the Atlas ensures its place as a classic
for the study of the human form.


Book cover of Cyclopedia Anatomicae

Ron Husband Author Of Quick Sketching with Ron Husband

From my list on sketching, anatomy and animation for the artist.

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.

Ron's book list on sketching, anatomy and animation for the artist

Ron Husband Why did Ron love 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.

By Gyorgy Fehér, András Szunyoghy (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Cyclopedia Anatomicae as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Designed for both professional and amateur artists, Cyclopedia Anatomicae is an essential guide to mastering the fundamentals of anatomical drawing. In addition to the human figure, it covers horses, dogs, cats, pigs, apes and more. Detailed, fully annotated illustrations of the skeletal, joint, and muscular systems clarify the proportions of each body type and lay the foundation for reproducing movements with true-to-life accuracy. With more than 1,500 illustrations, tips on drawing techniques, and informative explanations of the basics on human and animal anatomy, Cyclopedia Anatomicae provides the helpful guidance any artist can use.


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

Ron Husband Author Of Quick Sketching with Ron Husband

From my list on sketching, anatomy and animation for the artist.

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.

Ron's book list on sketching, anatomy and animation for the artist

Ron Husband Why did Ron love 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. 

By Disney Book Group,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Walt Disney's Bambi as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Spring 1997 is the fifty-fifth anniversary of the theatrical release of Bambi. This celebratory volume is filled with original sketches and color studies from the Animation Research Library and the personal collections of Bambi animators Ollie Johnston and Frank Thomas, many of which have never before been seen by the public. Walt Disney's Bambi reveals how animators Ollie Johnston, Frank Thomas, Marc Davis, Ty Wong and others transformed the Felix Salten story; how each of the beloved characters evolved; how the palette of the seasons was refined; and how the life of the forest was breathed into the animation.


Book cover of Ink & Paint: The Women of Walt Disney's Animation

Jake S. Friedman Author Of The Disney Revolt: The Great Labor War of Animation's Golden Age

From my list on American history that read like you’re binge-watching.

Who am I?

I'm an expert in animation history, having written three books on it, dozens of articles, and appeared on TV documentaries about it. I've also been a college professor for about 13 years, so I know what a story needs to maintain interest. These books have that. They're about different chunks of American history, some political, some artistic, all cultural. But they're also focused on the people who made the history, and showing how they got to where they were, and why they matter. These books let me walk in the shoes of subjects, and whisk me back to their time and place. If a book passes the empathy/time-machine test, it has won me over.

Jake's book list on American history that read like you’re binge-watching

Jake S. Friedman Why did Jake love this book?

A treasure trove of artwork, photos, and most of all, a record of the women of Disney history. Expertly and lovingly researched.

This book chronicles Disney animation behind-the-scenes throughout its entire run, decade by decade. Sometimes arduous, sometimes creative, but generally positive. Who would have thought that among the women of the Ink & Paint department were actual chemists mixing colors?! These women have been widely unsung, making them the true underdogs of Disney animation. And I’m always a sucker for an underdog.

Not to mention the few women early on who rose through the ranks to become designers and even animators, lest they be forgotten. This book breathed vibrant life into a wing of Disney animation that I personally had never explored before.  

By Mindy Johnson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Ink & Paint as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From the earliest origins of animated imagery, the colorful link between paper and screen was created by legions of female artists working on the slick surface of celluloid sheets.

With calligraphic precision and Rembrandtesque mastery, these women painstakingly brought pencil drawings to vibrant, dimensional life. Yet perhaps as a reflection of the transparent canvas they created on, the contributions and history of these animation artists have remained virtually invisible and largely undocumented, until now.

Walt Disney's pioneering efforts in animation transformed novelty cartoons into visual masterpieces, establishing many "firsts" for women within the entertainment industry along the way. Focusing on…


Book cover of Animation: A World History: Volume I: Foundations - The Golden Age

David Perlmutter Author Of The Encyclopedia of American Animated Television Shows

From my list on understanding the history of animation.

Who am I?

I am a freelance writer from Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, specializing in media history and speculative fiction. I have been enchanted by animation since childhood and followed many series avidly through adulthood. My viewing inspired my MA thesis on the history of animation, out of which grew two books on the history and theory of animation on television, America 'Toons In: A History of Television Animation (available from McFarland and Co.) and The Encyclopedia of American Animated Television Shows (available from Rowman and Littlefield). Hopefully, others will follow.

David's book list on understanding the history of animation

David Perlmutter Why did David love this book?

Bendazzi is one of the world's leading authorities on all aspects of animation.

This multi-volume set is his magnum opus, detailing the art of animation as it has evolved over the course of decades on multiple continents.

Thoroughly researched and documented, it is essential for any serious animation scholar's shelf.

By Giannalberto Bendazzi,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Animation as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A continuation of 1994's groundbreaking Cartoons, Giannalberto Bendazzi's Animation: A World History is the largest, deepest, most comprehensive text of its kind, based on the idea that animation is an art form that deserves its own place in scholarship. Bendazzi delves beyond just Disney, offering readers glimpses into the animation of Russia, Africa, Latin America, and other often-neglected areas and introducing over fifty previously undiscovered artists. Full of first-hand, never before investigated, and elsewhere unavailable information, Animation: A World History encompasses the history of animation production on every continent over the span of three centuries.

Volume I traces the roots…


Book cover of Of Mice and Magic: A History of American Animated Cartoons

David Perlmutter Author Of The Encyclopedia of American Animated Television Shows

From my list on understanding the history of animation.

Who am I?

I am a freelance writer from Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, specializing in media history and speculative fiction. I have been enchanted by animation since childhood and followed many series avidly through adulthood. My viewing inspired my MA thesis on the history of animation, out of which grew two books on the history and theory of animation on television, America 'Toons In: A History of Television Animation (available from McFarland and Co.) and The Encyclopedia of American Animated Television Shows (available from Rowman and Littlefield). Hopefully, others will follow.

David's book list on understanding the history of animation

David Perlmutter Why did David love this book?

This is the book- the one that helped me to understand why animation is and always will be important.

Maltin is thorough and impartial, explaining the strengths and weaknesses of classic animated films with clarity and skill. He has been the standard I have always sought to emulate in my own animation writing.

By Leonard Maltin,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Of Mice and Magic as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Film historian Leonard Maltin recreates a whole era of Hollywood cartoons, from Betty Boop to Spielberg's "An American Tail". It also brings the reader up to date on the modern work of Walt Disney and the Warner Bros studio, plus new developments in animation. The book includes a filmography of cartoons and sources for video rental.


Book cover of Hollywood Cartoons: American Animation in Its Golden Age

J.B. Kaufman Author Of Pinocchio: The Making of the Disney Epic

From my list on American animation history.

Who am I?

Like so many others, I discovered Disney in childhood. When I was five years old my parents took me to see a Disney movie in a theater, and the experience was so overwhelming that I still recall it vividly. It was the beginning of a lifelong passion for classic films, a passion that has led me to a career as a film historian. For me, writing a book about a film is mainly an excuse to do the research, to get inside a film and explore it, and find out what makes it tick. It’s invariably a fascinating journey, and if I can share that fascination with readers, I’m happy.

J.B.'s book list on American animation history

J.B. Kaufman Why did J.B. love this book?

During the 1960s, a wonderful periodical called Funnyworld began to chronicle animation history with unprecedented depth and eloquence. It was the work of Michael Barrier, and as it continued, it offered glimpses of the research he was conducting for a book to be published by Oxford Press. The book was finally finished and published more than three decades later, and reflects Barrier’s depth of insight, the thoroughness of his methods, and his dogged perseverance; his research included interviews with literally hundreds of artists from every American cartoon studio. Hollywood Cartoons stands as a definitive study of its subject, an essential reference (and enjoyable read) for any lover or serious student of classic animation.

By Michael Barrier,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Hollywood Cartoons as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In Hollywood Cartoons, Michael Barrier takes us on a glorious guided tour of American animation in the 1930s, '40s, and '50s, to meet the legendary artists and entrepreneurs who created Bugs Bunny, Betty Boop, Mickey Mouse, Wile E. Coyote, Donald Duck, Tom and Jerry, and many other cartoon favorites.
Beginning with black-and-white silent cartoons, Barrier offers an insightful account, taking us inside early New York studios and such Hollywood giants as Disney, Warner Bros., and MGM. Barrier excels at illuminating the creative side of animation-revealing how stories are put together, how animators develop a character, how technical innovations enhance the…


Book cover of Cartoon Animation with Preston Blair: Learn Techniques for Drawing and Animating Cartoon Characters

Stephen Silver Author Of The Silver Way: Techniques, Tips, and Tutorials for Effective Character Design

From my list on to inspire you to sketch.

Who am I?

Stephen Silver has been a professional working artist, character designer, and teacher in the industry for over 30 years. He developed intellectual properties for some of the largest media companies in the world; such as Disney, Warner Bros., Nickelodeon, Sony, MAD Magazine, Reel FX, Bento box, Hasbro, Universal, DreamWorks, and more. Stephen is responsible for the visual character development and design of some of animation’s most iconic shows; including Disney’s Kim Possible, Nickelodeon’s Danny Phantom, and Disney’s Clerks: The Animated Series, to name a few.

Stephen's book list on to inspire you to sketch

Stephen Silver Why did Stephen love this book?

I believe this is one of the greatest books for breaking down and understanding the emotion and simplicity of construction. I love that it offers a variety of animals and humans to draw from and it can save you so much time by teaching you the basic fundamentals of drawing cartoon faces that will guide you throughout your career.

By Preston Blair,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Cartoon Animation with Preston Blair as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

By following the lessons in Cartoon Animation with Preston Blair, you can make any character—person, animal, or object—come to life through animated movement!

While animators must first know how to draw, the animation process involves much more than just good drawing skills. In this new edition, acclaimed cartoon animator Preston Blair shares his vast practical knowledge to explain and demonstrate the many techniques of cartoon animation. Learn the knowledge and skills animators must have, including: How to construct original cartoon characters by developing a character’s shape, personality, features, and mannerisms How to animate movements such as running, walking, dancing, posing,…


Book cover of Creating Animated Cartoons with Character: A Guide to Developing and Producing Your Own Series for TV, the Web, and Short Film

David Perlmutter Author Of The Encyclopedia of American Animated Television Shows

From my list on understanding the history of animation.

Who am I?

I am a freelance writer from Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, specializing in media history and speculative fiction. I have been enchanted by animation since childhood and followed many series avidly through adulthood. My viewing inspired my MA thesis on the history of animation, out of which grew two books on the history and theory of animation on television, America 'Toons In: A History of Television Animation (available from McFarland and Co.) and The Encyclopedia of American Animated Television Shows (available from Rowman and Littlefield). Hopefully, others will follow.

David's book list on understanding the history of animation

David Perlmutter Why did David love this book?

Murray, the creator of the wonderful shows Rocko's Modern Life and Camp Laslo, details in full the story of his own career in animation while at the same time exploring the mechanics of producing animation for television.

He includes interviews with his colleagues and contemporaries in the field which are revelatory about how many great programs of the 1990s and 2000s were produced, and fills a major research gap in the process.

By Joe Murray,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Creating Animated Cartoons with Character as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This is a comprehensive, step-by-step guide to creating characters and the world they live in and what it takes to get ideas on the screen. The tone is approachable and encouraging, from an Emmy Award-winning artist. It features behind-the-scenes and in-progress storyboards, photos and art from several popular animated series, such as "Rocko's Modern Life" and "Spongebob Squarepants". This book targets the scores of aspiring cartoon animators who are seeking a comprehensive, step-by-step guide to creating characters and the world they live in. "Creating Animated Cartoons with Character" was born out of Emmy Award-winning illustrator and animator Joe Murray's experiences…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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