Books 28 Jan 2010 09:34 am

WTFoster’s other book – 1

- We all know that Walter T. Foster art books published the grandaddy of modern How-To-Animate books, Preston Blair‘s Animation. But there was another book from the same publisher, and I don’t know, to this day, who put it together. I think it might have been Walter T. Foster, himself.
Animated Cartoons for the Beginner.

When I was young – 10 or 11, somewhere in there – a guy who lived in my building, Norman (I don’t remember his last name), worked for NY’s largest art store at the time, Art Brown. My father broached him and told him of my obsession for animation and asked if the guy, who was an “artist,” could help me. Norman came down to my apartment and spent a lot of time talking with me and encouraging me. He gave me a copy of both Walter T. Foster books on animation, and he won a fan forever. He soon moved out of the building but was replaced by a woman, who I guess took over his apartment, Norma
(I don’t know her last name either.)

She brought some colored pencils, watercolors and a 5×7″ drawing pad with rough surface. She wanted me to draw/paint a story. I filled that book with illustrations of a Russian fairy tale called “The Prince and the Dragon.” I liked the dragon part. As I did it, she spent time guiding me in using the materials.

There’s nothing good or notworthy in that pad (which I still have), but it put me on a path after spending so much time whining about wanting to be an animator. The kindness of strangers.

Anyway, that other book, Walter T. Foster’s Animated Cartoons for the Beginner, was always a poor and distant cousin to the Blair book. Even when I was 12, I looked down on it. I mean who draws like that? Except Nat Falk and Walter T. Foster. When I pulled the book out to show my guys in the studio, Matt Clinton‘s first comment was, “Who draws like that anymore?”

I guess they used to draw like this. Connie Rasinski and the folks up at Terrytoons perfected it, and copyists like Walter T. Foster turned it into something else.

But looking at the book today, it sure is something. It always irked me that the drawings on the right hand side (the even numbers, below) included walk cycles and movement that could be flipped. But the pages of the book weren’t correctly assembled, so the animation doesn’t flip without some big problems. It’s crazy.

1 2
(Click any image to enlarge.)

3 4

5 6

7 8

9 10

1112

1314

15

Next week, I’ll post the other half of the book and try to make some QT movie flipbooks of the pages – those I’ll have to put into proper flipping order.

10 Responses to “WTFoster’s other book – 1”

  1. on 28 Jan 2010 at 10:24 am 1.richard o'connor said …

    I’ve seen this book listed on the back flap of the Preston Blair books and wondered if it was another Blair title, although the lack of credit raised suspicions.

    Passing by the location of Arthur Brown & Bro. a few weeks ago, you’d never believe what it once was. Even when I first encountered it, the store was half (maybe less) its previous size. Now it appears halved yet again. The decay of Madison Ave, the advent of the digital arts, it’s now no more than a luxury pen shop.

  2. on 28 Jan 2010 at 10:39 am 2.Bill said …

    To Michael & Richard, Seeing the name Arthur Brown & Bro. brought back a lot of good memories of buying art supplies for the first time in our lives, does anyone remember the name of the store that replaced Art Brown?

  3. on 28 Jan 2010 at 10:48 am 3.Elliot Cowan said …

    I have this book in a shed at home.
    I also didn’t like it as a kid.

  4. on 28 Jan 2010 at 10:51 am 4.bill said …

    Wow, this brings me back. This was one of the first “How to Draw” books I had as a kid. Back in the day, the Walter Foster books were just about the only cartooning books readily available.

    Hmm… that explains a lot.

  5. on 28 Jan 2010 at 11:01 am 5.Michael said …

    You’re right, Richard. Arthur Brown & Co. was once THE place for art supplies in NY. It was a large market for any art item or frame. Probably the closest thing to it in NY, these days, is Pearl Art supplies on Canal St. Tough, that store is lacking the aura that Art Brown had. Today, it’s just a tiny name in a web of other stores.

  6. on 28 Jan 2010 at 1:50 pm 6.Chelsea Kopacsi said …

    Wow! My granddad has this book! Or did i dunno if he still does or not though…

    I guess I’m NOT the only wone for whom this book was like.. THE first ‘true’ intro to how to actually animate other then Disney movies, Old WB shorts of Bugs bunny and other characters and of course Woody Woodpecker. I can only hope he still does have this gem of a book, cause i find every once in a while since he first showed it to me in gr.7 (so I was prolly… say bout 12, 13 at the time. I’m now 23.) and I was mezmerized by it, but then again, you have to understand that thsi was the first contact I’d ever had with anythign other than the direct animations themselves of course, on how to animate! Now I’m always looking at extras on films, credits and analyzing film animaitons at times, segment by segment.I can only hope some of the good animations overseas european or elsewhere can get over here (I’m hoping to sometime see the newest incarnation of The Three Robbers personaly!) and that all hope isnt lost yet for the great art of 2-d animation.

  7. on 28 Jan 2010 at 5:09 pm 7.Stanley Falk said …

    Nat Falk was my father, and it’s nice to see how widely he is still appeciated.
    Stanley Falk

  8. on 29 Jan 2010 at 1:53 am 8.Mark Newgarden said …

    I think this one was the work of Terry/ WB animator Volney White…

  9. on 02 Feb 2010 at 4:06 am 9.Mike McLaren said …

    I got this book when I was kid. It was my intro into cartooning, alongside the Sunday funnies. I still use this book as a reference for motion, and to remind myself to give my cartoons weight.

  10. on 13 Feb 2010 at 1:57 pm 10.Charlie Judkins said …

    Hi Stanley,

    I am an animation historian, and if you’re interested, I’d very much like to talk to you about your father and his work.

    charliejudkins@gmail.com

    -Charlie Judkins

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