Sunday, August 29, 2010

Walter Foster Books

It’s easy to overlook the Walter Foster series of art instruction books. They showed up everywhere, and a lot of them were pretty hokey and formulaic.

But there were some gems among them. For example: "Animation" (#26) and “How to Animate Film Cartoons” (#190) by Disney veteran Preston Blair, who gave millions of budding animators the basics of walk cycles, squash and stretch, and overlapping action. As a kid I was spellbound by the series of drawings of the dancing alligator from Fantasia.

Other recommended titles:

“Frederick Waugh’s Paintings of the Sea” (#153) was recently mentioned by Armand Cabrera on his blog. It is a gallery of the great seascape painter.

“How to Paint from Your Color Slides” (#64) had a fine ship painting by Carl Evers, along with the sketches that led up to it.

“Perspective Drawing” by Ernest Norling (#29). The one I learned from as a kid. Very clear introduction to one-, two-, and three point perspective.

“Heads & Figures in Charcoal” by Charles LaSalle (#51). LaSalle was a magazine illustrator who studied under Harvey Dunn.

“Figures in Action” (#191) and “Heads/2” (#197) by Andrew Loomis. Many of the best plates from his hard-to-find books.

Walter Foster Books
Preston Blair on Wiki
Waugh at Armand Cabrera’s Art and Influence.
Carl Evers discussed in "Today's Inspiration."


jeff jordan said...

I learned a ton of stuff from various Foster books, and even in some of the hokey ones there were gems. I grew up in a place where there weren't any teachers, so those books were a great antidote.

H.K.Hollinstone studio said...

I love these books, have quite a few of them myself.

Max said...

I own some of the Walter Foster books and they are very informative. I have a few on painting and drawing. I also have the complete Preston Blair book, Cartoon Animation. It's quite handy as it shows a lot about constructing a character, gesture, movement and composition.

There have been some other nice volumes too that are now out of print. I have two such Walter Foster books - one on marker rendering and the other using felt pen with watercolor.

James O'Shea said...

Speaking of books/magazines, have you seen the latest Sci-Am MIND magazine on Visual Perception?:

Don Cox said...

I believe the current edition of the Preston Blair book contains everything that was in both the Walter Foster books.

The Norling perspective book probably contains the same material as the currently available Dover book called "Perspective Made Easy". This can be bought for peanuts and is in my opinion the best perspective guide for beginners.

(I have a couple of dozen books on perspective to compare.)

aquafortis said...

I had some of these when I was a kid! I think I mostly just copied pictures out of them (which is what I did a lot of at the time) but I had a couple of the cartooning-type titles, and you're right, those weren't bad.

Jussi Tarvainen said...

These are fantastic books. I actually have an original Andrew Loomis Figure Drawing for All it's Worth 191 by Walter Foster for sale if someone is interested.

Everett Patterson said...

You are lucky to have that, Jussi! Anywhere you can get your hands on Andrew Loomis stuff, you should. (I'll have to content myself with my bootleg photocopies of "...For All It's Worth", shhh)

James Gurney said...

Don, the earlier Preston Blair book (called simply "Animation" #26 is a little different than the later. It has less color, but more kinds of walk cycles. The character models are closer to Disney and Warner Brothers originals, and he backed off those in the second edition. There's enough non-overlapping material to make both of them worth getting if you're into animation.

Mark Tedin said...

Some of those old Walter Foster books were great and had some really useful color mixing recipes, even if you weren't going to paint the seascapes.

Mark Tedin said...
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robh said...

thanks for the heads up. Carl Evers is one of my favs and hi stuff is rare !!! bought it on Amazon!