The two books are
Preston Blair- How to Draw Carton Animation (1st one you should get)
Preston Blair- How to Animate Film Cartoons (a little more advanced)
For relatively short books, they carry almost everything you'll need to be a good animator. May also want to check out some of the life studies by Muybridge (He took a series of photographs which show all sorts of motion in stages), and I have previously reccomended "The Illusion of Life - The Art of Disney Animation", but it seems to be currently out of print and difficult to acquire. If you happen across a copy, by all means pick it up.
I also own "Chuck Amuck : The Life and Times of Animated Cartoonist", Chuck Jones' autobiography which also has lots of helpful hints and concepts sprinkled throughout. (It doesn't hurt that I learned just about everything I know from classic WB animation )
Great books! Muybridge was very groundbreaking. I'll definitely pick up the Preston Blair books, and I've heard about the Disney one, but the only copy I ever saw was under glass and had a whopping price tag...sheesh.
simply put, get "The Illusion of Life: Disney animation" The most complete book on the subject ever written. Not only a how-to-book, but the voluminously illustrated volume is for everyone trying to do it to enjoy(if you can find this extraordinarily priceless 575 page bible).
It's the fascinating inside story by two long-term Disney animators Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston, who not only worked with the legendary Walt Disney himself but also
The book answers everbody's questions about the amazingly lifelike effects of Character animationand disney animation for that matter. from the perspective of two men who had an important role in shaping the art of animation. Let's not forget, was it not for Disney, japanimation style (inspired from Betty Boop and Bambie)as we know it would not exist.
The Burne Hogarth "Dynamic Figure Drawing", et. al. books are excellent for comic-style drawing, and good in general. Also, "The Artist's Complete Guide to Facial Expression"
by Gary Faigin is invaluable for learning to draw expressions (he even touches a little on how to simplify an expression - good for cartooning).
The newest edition is Digital animation. though it came out a while ago and doesn't cover flash it does deal with doing some vector stuff in After Effects. specifically how that kid show blues clues is done. It's a good book in general on the topic of animation and all the methods. lots of cool stuff about stop motion. Thats what macromedia needs to do, bring stop motion to the internet. he he