10 books like The Illusion of Life

By Frank Thomas, Ollie Johnston,

Here are 10 books that authors have personally recommended if you like The Illusion of Life. Shepherd is a community of 7,000+ authors sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Icon

By Frank Frazetta,

Book cover of Icon: A Retrospective by the Grand Master of Fantastic Art

This was the first book compiled by Cathy and Arnie Fenner on the art of grandmaster fantasy artist Frank Frazetta. My first thought was to choose the Ballantine collection of his work because of its nostalgic quality (I was fifteen when I bought it), but this much later Underwood collection went way beyond a simple collection of art due to the care and love put into the production by the Fenner’s, who knew frank personally and admired his art. It's a big art book and the images fill the pages. If I have one gripe about art books in general it’s that the images are nearly always too small, not so here, this is a beautiful showcase that I have treasured and re-read hundreds of times.

Icon

By Frank Frazetta,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This volume follows the work of fantasy artist, Frank Frazetta. Born in Brooklyn in 1928, he absorbed the colourful pulp adventures of Tarzan and Flash Gordon, and in the 50s he excited the next generation of fantasy lovers with his illustrations of Vampirella and Conan the Barbarian.


Mirage by Boris Vallejo

By Boris Vallejo,

Book cover of Mirage by Boris Vallejo

Once again I could have chosen the old Ballantine Edition, ‘the art of Boris’ for nostalgic reasons but this was the book I drooled over most as a young working illustrator. The fact that a living artist could paint in oils with such finesse was astonishing to me. One of those rare books I bought multiple copies to study from over the years (I cut the pages out and tape them to my easel for inspiration). Decades later Boris would graciously write the foreword to my first book ‘sci-fi and fantasy oil painting techniques’, which was the honour of a lifetime.

Mirage by Boris Vallejo

By Boris Vallejo,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Mirage by Boris Vallejo as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

ENTER A WORLD BEYOND YOUR WILDEST DREAMS...A world of sensational sex goddesses...brazen, muscled men...incredible, mythical beasts. MIRAGE Few artists are as imaginative, skillful, and versatile as Boris Vallejo.


Transluminal

By Jim Burns,

Book cover of Transluminal: The Paintings of Jim Burns

Although all the other books on this list feature American artists this pick is by an astonishing Welsh artist. As a young illustrator in London, I was aware of Jim's incredible work and still own a well-worn copy of his first art book from that period. Unlike his American counterparts, Jim worked mostly in acrylics with some airbrush, and he greatly influenced me with his sense of atmosphere and the scale of his imagination. The fact that we both worked in London at the same time, In the same field, and never met until recently makes me a little melancholy. They say you shouldn't meet your heroes; I find this not to be true. Once again Nice big full-page images, as all art books should be!

Transluminal

By Jim Burns,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This new collection of paintings reveals Jim Burn's idiosyncratic obsessions and fantasy visions rendered in a photo-realistic style. They are accompanied by his own witty and informative text, explaining the thoughts behind each one. Included are anecdotes from science fiction writers who worked with him.


The Art of Jeffrey Jones

By Cathy Fenner (editor), Annie Fenner (editor),

Book cover of The Art of Jeffrey Jones

Jeff Jones was a giant of fantasy illustration who followed in the footsteps of Frank Frazetta with great success, although the two men couldn't have been further apart in personality. Tired of restrictive art direction Jeff left illustration to evolve his style into fine art. He was one of those rare fantasy artists whose later works were stronger than his early works.

Jeff was a complex and tortured soul; an alcoholic who changed gender later in life to his own regret– a life lived to extremes. Jeff befriended me briefly online before his untimely death and it was wonderful to engage with him. Once again the Fenners created a labour of love here and the book is filled with full-page images and illuminating text.

The Art of Jeffrey Jones

By Cathy Fenner (editor), Annie Fenner (editor),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Art of Jeffrey Jones as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From the 1960s through the early 1980s Jeffrey Jones was one of the most respected creators of fantasy and science fiction art. Comfortable as both a book cover illustrator and as a comics artist, Jones gained a large and loyal following that resulted in his being honored with a World Fantasy Award for Best Artist. Renowned for his paintings for the works of Robert E. Howard and Fritz Leiber, Jones' atmospheric style became a major influence on subsequent generations of artists. Though he left the commercial field in the late '80s to devote his full attention on Fine Art, Jones…


Understanding Comics

By Scott McCloud,

Book cover of Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art

I’m going to tell you a secret. The working title for my own book was Understanding Entertainment, because I was so inspired by reading Understanding Comics. This book will help you understand the strange relationship between visual art and storytelling that is central to videogame design. The book hardly mentions video games, but when you read it, the applications to games will be obvious to you. More importantly, this book is one of the best “explainers” you’ll ever encounter. If you can make a game tutorial that is 1/10 as lucid as Understanding Comics, you will have done your game a great service. I’m such a huge fan that I not only got Scott to sign my copy, I persuaded his whole family to sign it, too.

Understanding Comics

By Scott McCloud,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked Understanding Comics as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The bestselling international classic on storytelling and visual communication "You must read this book." - Neil Gaiman Praised throughout the cartoon industry by such luminaries as Art Spiegelman, Matt Groening, and Will Eisner, Scott McCloud's Understanding Comics is a seminal examination of comics art: its rich history, surprising technical components, and major cultural significance. Explore the secret world between the panels, through the lines, and within the hidden symbols of a powerful but misunderstood art form.


Marc Davis

By Disney Book Group, Marc Davis (illustrator),

Book cover of Marc Davis: Walt Disney's Renaissance Man

This book is filled with artwork and sketches that are filled with energy. I love that Mark Davis offers a variety of different styles and development roughs that are so inspiring and make you want to sketch. The value I received from acquiring this book was giving me a greater sense of appreciation for playing with different mediums.

Marc Davis

By Disney Book Group, Marc Davis (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?


Walt Disney once said of Marc Davis, “Marc can do story, he can do character, he can animate, he can design shows for me. All I have to do is tell him what I want and it’s there! He’s my Renaissance man.” As such, Davis touched nearly every aspect of The Walt Disney Company during his tenure. He began as an animator, whose supporting work on Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and Bambi inspired Walt to promote him to full animator.

In the ensuing years, Davis breathed life into a bevy of iconic Disney characters, including Cinderella, Alice (in…


How to Draw Comics the Marvel Way

By Stan Lee, John Buscema,

Book cover of How to Draw Comics the Marvel Way

How to Draw Comics the Marvel Way teaches artists step by step how to build construction and energy into their poses. Helping you create more dynamic versions. I love that it is really clear and simple to understand giving the artists extreme value that will guide them whenever they draw from imagination or from life.

How to Draw Comics the Marvel Way

By Stan Lee, John Buscema,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked How to Draw Comics the Marvel Way as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Illustrates hitherto mysterious methods of comic art using as examples such Mighty Marvel heroes as Thor, The Silver Surfer, Spider-Man, and The Hulk.


Cartoon Animation with Preston Blair

By Preston Blair,

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

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.

Cartoon Animation with Preston Blair

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,…


Drawing the Head and Hands

By Andrew Loomis,

Book cover of Drawing the Head and Hands

Andrew Loomis worked in editorial and advertising in 1930s America. At the time, most skilled artists were preoccupied with experimenting and high art. Meanwhile, the growing consumer culture required a lot of professional artists to work also on advertisements. This Andrew Loomis’ work is a manual meant to explain complicated human anatomy concepts in a simple manner – a sort of an ABCs for visual artists. It’s an excellent book for beginners!

Drawing the Head and Hands

By Andrew Loomis,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Drawing the Head and Hands as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The human head and hands are the most difficult elements in figure drawing, but world-class illustrator Andrew Loomis' classic primer offers the solution. Revered among artists for his mastery of figure drawing and clean, realist style, Loomis' hugely influential art instruction books have never been bettered. "Drawing the Head and Hands" is the second in Titan's programme of facsimile editions.


Three Years in Wonderland

By Todd James Pierce,

Book cover of Three Years in Wonderland: The Disney Brothers, C. V. Wood, and the Making of the Great American Theme Park

This is an excellent book on understanding how Disneyland developed and some of the crazy things that Walt Disney was advised to do for his theme park. What I love about this book is the full behind-the-scenes look at how Disneyland came into being and the philosophy behind the decisions that were made in those early years.   

Three Years in Wonderland

By Todd James Pierce,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Three Years in Wonderland as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

While the success of Disneyland is largely credited to Walt and Roy Disney, there was a third, mostly forgotten dynamo instrumental to the development of the park - fast-talking Texan C. V. Wood. Three Years in Wonderland presents the never-before-told, full story of ""the happiest place on earth."" Using information from over one hundred unpublished interviews, Todd James Pierce lays down the arc of Disneyland's development from an idea to a paragon of entertainment.

In the early 1950s, the Disney brothers hired Wood and his team to develop a feasibility study for an amusement park Walt wanted to build in…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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