I have this book on the history of animation called "Animation Art: From Pencil to Pixel, The History of Cartoon, Anime & CGI" by Jerry Beck. It is a pretty amazing book. If I were to teach a class on Animation, this would be my history book.
I would like to profile some of the work of the early pioneers of animation.
HUMOROUS PHASES OF FUNNY FACES (1906)
J. Stuart Blackton (1875 - 1941)
" Humorous Phases of Funny Faces featured an artist's hand drawing the faces of a man and a woman with chalk. The faces begin to interact: the man blows cigar smoke and tips his hat. To achieve this movement, Blackton used a combination of chalk drawings and cut-outs.
To make it appear that his drawings moved, Blackton would make changes to them between the frames, resulting in a sequence in which the artist draws a face, his hand leaves the frame and the faces roll their eyes or blow cigar smoke. The hand appears again and erases the emboldened aniamted characters."
GERTIE THE DINOSAUR (1914)
Winsor McCay (1867 - 1934)
"To produce Gertie, McCay drew 10,000 images onto rice paper and then mounted them on cardboard. Once they had been mounted, McCay was able to flip the drawings through a primitive machine to check his work. Gertie the Dinosaur was the first animated film with a star and a storyline. McCay gave his dinosaur star a personality and emotions, by painstakingly animating tiny details, such as tears dripping and dirt particles falling."