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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another excellent work by Tom Bancroft!
Since I was 3 years old I wanted to be a Disney animator. I've practiced and practiced and gotten pretty far studying the masters of animation. But there was always just a little something missing. This book has already given me the boost I need. It has tons of helpful advice for anyone from novice to advanced users. Most books on character design really only scratch the...
Published on May 3, 2012 by wandrlust

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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Buy The Print Version, Not The Kindle
Don't buy the Kindle version of this book. As good as the book is, the Kindle conversion mutilates it. Section headings frequently appear at the bottom of pages with the accompanying content on the following page. Captions are separated from their illustrations. Special characters are omitted from words (such as naive, which comes out as simply "nae"). Some of the...
Published 7 months ago by Scott Thomas


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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another excellent work by Tom Bancroft!, May 3, 2012
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This review is from: Character Mentor: Learn by Example to Use Expressions, Poses, and Staging to Bring Your Characters to Life (Paperback)
Since I was 3 years old I wanted to be a Disney animator. I've practiced and practiced and gotten pretty far studying the masters of animation. But there was always just a little something missing. This book has already given me the boost I need. It has tons of helpful advice for anyone from novice to advanced users. Most books on character design really only scratch the surface. Tom Bancroft takes a chisel and turns that surface into a carefully sculpted work of craftsmanship. He allows us on the "outside" of the industry to finally get at all the juicy tips he learned in his time at Disney. Outstanding work, Tom. I'm forever a huge fan.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars BEST HOW-TO BOOK ON CARTOONING EVER?, May 7, 2012
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This review is from: Character Mentor: Learn by Example to Use Expressions, Poses, and Staging to Bring Your Characters to Life (Paperback)
I don't know where to begin praising this book. Sure, there's TONS of how-to books on cartooning out there
but FINALLY here's a book that is hyper-specific on the little nuances of creating characters. "Twinning", using depth,
specifics on how wrinkles work on clothing, etc. In addition, there's contributions by other artists like Terry Dodson,
Stephen Silver, etc. Also, there's some assignments for the reader to do. Tom's Disney-esque drawing style is just bursting with
life and energy. (Obviously a graduate of CAL-ARTS.)

Please note that this may not be a book for beginners. The book focuses more on bringing life and energy to your
characters.

I highly recommend purchasing Tom's previous book "Creating Characters with Personality" too by the way.

A MUST for any aspiring cartoonist!
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good book on bringing your characters to life, June 18, 2012
This review is from: Character Mentor: Learn by Example to Use Expressions, Poses, and Staging to Bring Your Characters to Life (Paperback)
Length:: 1:01 Mins

Character Mentor is sort of an extension of Tom Bancroft's earlier book Creating Characters with Personality.

The first book focuses on the actual designing of characters. This book focuses on bringing the characters to life with body language, specifically by using expressions, poses and staging. In other words, this book is about acting using your characters.

It's filled with tips and insights, just like the first book. As the book title suggest, the teaching style here is one of mentoring. There are many assignments included, and Tom Bancroft has included his students' work, together with his mentor notes on the different ways to improve the result. You'll feel the years of experience seeping through the pages as he explains. It's all very simple and practical tips you can use to improve your characters instantly.

There are many wonderful illustrated examples in the book to show how important acting is to creating believability. One look at them and you'll be able to guess accurately how the character is feeling, who the character is or what the scene is about. These are all done without dialogue. The goal of the book is to impart the knowledge of getting to that level of clarity with your characters, the same sort of clarity you would expect from a masterful silent movie.

The book also includes a section on composition. It teaches you how to frame your scene with your characters to better tell a story. While this section is not technically character design, it's still useful knowledge. Several guest artists are also invited to have a go at an assignment. Artists such as Stephen Silver, Sean Galloway, Terry Dodson, etc. You get to see how their interpret the story scene in their own way.

This is an insightful book to character design. It's a great addition and supplements the first book well. Recommended to artists with some basic knowledge on character design, which is to say you should check out Creating Characters with Personality if you haven't done so.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Real Deal, May 7, 2012
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This review is from: Character Mentor: Learn by Example to Use Expressions, Poses, and Staging to Bring Your Characters to Life (Paperback)
In the fields of animation and illustration, the craft of character design is often completely overlooked by the casual observer. Instead, the human eye perceives the most well-crafted characters as living things, whether we're looking at a sequence of frames or simply one static image, because the finest character designers have learned what exactly tricks the brain into seeing life in lines.

There have been a handful of books over the last thirty years or so that have touched on this topic to one degree or another. However, these are very often oversimplified, starting with volumetric shapes and hurrying through the details to arrive at the quickest complete character possible. Such methods are certainly valid and universally applicable -- for first-year animation students, perhaps, or fledgling comic book artists. Up until now, the question of what makes a character truly unique and lively has been left as something the novice must explore him/herself.

Tom Bancroft's book is probably the first one of its kind that goes past this basic level. Right off the bat, Tom assumes the reader is not only intelligent but avidly interested in the details. He explores perceptual cues, the various methods of conveying emotion and personality (which are far more numerous than simply drawing a smile or a frown), and the tiny little decisions that can completely alter the way an audience will see a character, for better or for worse.

Tom's experience as a veteran of Disney's traditional animation era really shines through here. And in an age where technology provides an ever-increasing range of shortcuts, it's ultimately all the more important that these techniques be detailed and passed on to the next generation of artists. Check this out -- you won't regret it.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Buy The Print Version, Not The Kindle, November 30, 2013
By 
Scott Thomas (Fort Wayne, Indiana) - See all my reviews
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Don't buy the Kindle version of this book. As good as the book is, the Kindle conversion mutilates it. Section headings frequently appear at the bottom of pages with the accompanying content on the following page. Captions are separated from their illustrations. Special characters are omitted from words (such as naive, which comes out as simply "nae"). Some of the art doesn't download fully. This book has every indication of being run through some automatic conversion application without any proofreading (or even a proof look-at).

Buy the book in print and avoid the Klumsy Kindle Konversion.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not just for animators, May 8, 2012
By 
Ivan Flores (CHICAGO, IL, US) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Character Mentor: Learn by Example to Use Expressions, Poses, and Staging to Bring Your Characters to Life (Paperback)
Over the years many people have purchased how to draw books of any find from How to the Draw the Marvel Way to How to Draw Manga series, all of which are good in their own respects. What makes this book significant to any aspiring artist who wants to get into comic books or animation, Tom Bancroft explores the in between details that some of the How to books don't explore. Beyond facial expressions it explains the small details like "why does this pose look funny or stiff". This is a must have for anyone getting into the field.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great book but not for beginners, December 5, 2013
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This review is from: Character Mentor: Learn by Example to Use Expressions, Poses, and Staging to Bring Your Characters to Life (Paperback)
This is a great book and, as always, Tom Bancroft is a master of his craft but be forewarned - previous experience is required. This is not a book that will ease you into the art form, nor is it meant to. If you're a beginner and would like to learn Bancroft's style check out his other book "Creating Characters with Personality".
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book, June 10, 2012
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This review is from: Character Mentor: Learn by Example to Use Expressions, Poses, and Staging to Bring Your Characters to Life (Paperback)
This book is an easy read. There's enough useful stuff throughout to be well worth the purchase. It's the kind of book I can go back to time and again. I'm happy I got this book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic, November 22, 2012
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I just bought this book yesterday and I'm already in love with it. I sat down and read the entire thing and already I feel like just reading it has helped me improve quite a bit. It's not a "beginner `s book" in my opinion. I mean, don't get me wrong; the advice in this book is something I wish I'd learned earlier on. However; it doesn't really give you step by step instructions for anything. It won't show you how to build a character, but instead how to bring life into the characters you already created.
I really love this book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great book at a great price!, August 21, 2012
This review is from: Character Mentor: Learn by Example to Use Expressions, Poses, and Staging to Bring Your Characters to Life (Paperback)
Best part of my day when I found this book at Barnes & Noble. It's highly useful for anyone looking to be a cartoonist, involving easy to understand lessons and assignments along with examples of other young artist's works that are constructively critiqued and revised. It covers anything you would learn in a top notch cartooning class and more, including silhouette, expressions, posing, staging, balance, and even how the slightest head tilt can change a drawing's mood entirely. My copy was also the last one on the shelf; it's like destiny! It's a great book at a great price and I highly recommend it to any artist looking to improve their talents.

Brenda
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