Force: Dynamic Life Drawing for Animators is a book that I’ve personally had experience with before starting this review.
If you’ve ever been to Disney World, you’ll know that there are certain stores where you can go and see artists drawing your favorite Disney characters(drawings which you can then buy, of course).
While I was working at Disney World, on one of my days off I went to one of these stores and approached one of these artists.
I asked him what resources he would recommend to an aspiring animator such as myself and he specifically mentioned this book.
Upon buying and reading the book, I understood why he had recommended it.
Force: Dynamic Life Drawing for Animators is a book that aims to teach artists how to give the illusion of movement to their drawings in a simple to understand format.
What better skill is there for an animator to have?
- Series: Force Drawing Series
- Format: Digital, Paperback
- Author: Michael D. Mattesi
- Publisher: Focal Press
- Edition: 2nd Edition
- Original Published: 2003
- Edition Published: 2006
- Page Number: 244 pages
- Book Dimensions: 0.8 x 8.5 x 11 in
- Languages: English
- ISBN-10: 0240808452
- ISBN-13: 978-0240808451
The Anatomy of Movement
Author Mike Mattesi is a veteran animator with credits on films from Pixar, Disney and many others.
Let’s just say that if you’re a wannabe animator, you’d probably want to listen to all the things this guy has to say!
Luckily he’s put all his years of experience in the animation industry into Force: Dynamic Life Drawing for Animators.
Just after reading through the first few pages, you can really tell this guy knows his stuff.
The thing that this book constantly tries to push is the fact that you have to be able to bring life to your poses.
If a drawing is stiff and motionless no one will be fooled into believing that the drawing is “alive”. That’s the whole point of animation!
Bringing a drawing to life can be a hard concept for artists to grasp in practice, but luckily author Mike Mattesi breaks it down into simple shapes at first before going into actual figures.
This helps you learn the basics before you start working on more complex things like the human body.
While this book has fantastic lessons for animators and classical artists alike, I feel that a solid foundation of anatomical knowledge is needed to truly get everything you can out of it.
I’d suggest getting a good book on anatomy and flipping through it a couple times before getting this book.
As I’ll discuss in the second part of this review, you won’t be able to find the “force” in your drawings if you don’t know how the human body can exert that force.
What does “force” mean exactly? Let’s find out.
Finding the Force
Animators need to be able to quickly convey what a character is doing to be able to work efficiently on a team.
This level of efficiency is brought to Force: Dynamic Life Drawing for Animators, with the author teaching us several staple techniques of the animation industry to help us learn: squash and stretch and exaggeration to name a few.
Once you begin to learn these techniques you’ll begin to be able to apply them to your drawings to create poses that really show the “forces” in the pose.
The “forces” described in the book are the forces that the figure in the drawing is either exerting or being manipulated by.
Mike Mattesi is big on being “active” when drawing. What exactly does that mean?
It means that you need to be aware of each and every line you’re putting down on the page. You need to be able to identify the forces in the figure and actively craft your lines to demonstrate those forces, or your drawing will come out stiff.
Once you practice this enough you’ll be able to “feel” the forces in the drawing and once that happens you’ll be able to get even better quicker.
Like with everything in drawing, once you have the right techniques all you have to do is put in the time and you’ll begin to see results.
Force: Dynamic Life Drawing for Animators is not only a good book for learning concepts of animation, it’s a good book for learning how to better draw figures in general!
The book is created by industry veteran Mike Mattesi, who has worked on several projects for Disney and Pixar.
Bringing life to your poses is what this book strives to teach you to do, but don’t worry the author makes it easy!
However, I believe that some knowledge of anatomy is required to get the full extent of what this book has to offer.
Force: Dynamic Life Drawing for Animators teaches several animation techniques that help artists be able to accurately depict the “forces” in a pose.
However, in order to really get good at recognizing forces Mike Mattesi stresses that you must remain “active” when you draw.
This means always being aware of why you’re making the mark you’re making on your paper, and being able to analyze a pose to detect what forces are in it.
Force: Dynamic Life Drawing for Animators is a must have for any aspiring animator and it certainly will be in my collection for a very long time.
While the book isn’t a step by step guide, it gives aspiring animators priceless advice with detailed illustrations to help bring home the message.