The Illusion of Life: Disney Animation

The Illusion of Life the holy bible of animation books.

If you are considering entering the animation field then by all means purchase this book and read it thoroughly. Speaking as someone who started animation awhile back and needed to learn from the best, I found this one book the most helpful. I was turned onto the book from one of the actual Disney animators and we were able to discuss being in the business. It’s what he, and most of the others that work there, consider the Bible of Animaton. His words. The book itself is not for a quick read or a nightly read. It’s an education and industry guide for the world of movies. As I’m working on any project, you can bet I reference this book a lot.

A classic. Great history, characters and timeless techniques. Comprehensive analysis of traditional animation concepts that largely translate to the digital world. Just get it already.

For the uninitiated, Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston are some of the best known of Disney’s Nine Old Men, a group of Disney animators who worked at the Disney studio during what many call “The Golden Age of Animation”. They were there during the production of some of the most memorable and cherished Disney classics like Sleeping BeautyPinocchio, Fantasia, and Lady and the Tramp. During the Golden Age, Disney sought to elevate animation to an art form. The Illusion of Life reveals how this was accomplished, from the perspective of the artists who were there.

This is where you’ll learn all about the Twelve Principles of Animation, which Disney’s Nine Old Men developed. If you’re unfamiliar with the 12 Principles, you will be after reading the book. They’re all explained in detail, not just what each principles is but how Disney animators applied them to their craft. (or look at this video)


This book gives a history of the early days of animation that shaped this empire. The artwork is amazing and I love to look at it over and over.

Purchase: The Illusion of Life on Amazon


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