If you're on this forum I presume you already know what "Art of..." books are, but just in case, they're books dedicated to the production of pieces of media, most commonly movies, usually titled "Art of *movie title*" but not always. I know there used a be a book club thing here where they were commonly discussed, but thought we could have a thread for them in general, Pixar and non-Pixar, especially now that said book club is gone. 

Which ones do you guys have? What's your favorite? Least favorite? Are there any ones you really want? Any you'd recommend? Is there anything else you'd like to discuss about them?

I have books for Wreck-It Ralph, WALL-E, The Peanuts Movie, Epic, Mr. Peabody and Sherman, Blue Sky Studios, Inside Out, and Up. Most of those are taking up all my shelf space at college, but Up is back home because it got some scented oil spilled on it (left the dorm on winter break, came back and found a Glade Plug-In had leaked. I wasn't even using it [Sad_zpsb02439e1])and Inside Out is at home because it's terrible.

My personal favorite is Wreck-It Ralph's. I think it does a good job of covering everything from initial idea to final versions, and is very well organized, plus it's about original content and, as much as I love The Peanuts Movie's book, that'll always be a major plus for me. My least favorite is Inside Out for a whole rainbow of reasons you guys probably don't want to hear.

Most of the ones I want right now are Dreamworks ones. Rise of the Guardians, How to Train Your Dragon 1 and 2, the first two Kung Fu Panda movies (and probably the third, once I get around to seeing it), and Trolls. I wish I knew why Kung Fu Panda's book was taken out of print; it's obscenely expensive now, and it kind of puts a damper on my enthusiasm for the other books for the franchise since I'm really not into the idea of having a sequel book without the book for the original.

If I had to recommend any, I'd actually really suggest you guys buy one of the studio books, but do it for a studio you think is hit and miss. I bought the Blue Sky one pretty much solely for the section on the first (and only good) Ice Age movie, but I've ended up learning really interesting stuff about the other Ice Age movies, too, which I know for a fact I never would have bought books for if they had individual ones. It's nice to have a reminder that even when a movie is terrible a ton of work still went into it. Or maybe it's really sad to have a reminder of that. Either way. 

What about you guys? 


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I really love the insight that the Art of Up fed me. I also have Art of Inside Out and I was surprised by the lack of text but I still loved the book since it gave a lot of insight into what Inside Out was going to be before they settled into the new version of the film. I know most people are very dissapointed by the Inside Out book, (example above) but considering that I only have 2 books, I didn't have much to compare it to. I just devoured everything the book had.
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I got the books for Rise of the Guardians and the two How to Train Your Dragon movies for Christmas. Also Mr. Peabody and Sherman, but I had that already. 

Good haul, I'd say. [smile_zpsf797a80b] Not particularly thrilled with HttYD 2's book being almost entirely quotes when it comes to text, though. 

Luis504170 wrote: I really love the insight that the Art of Up fed me. I also have Art of Inside Out and I was surprised by the lack of text but I still loved the book since it gave a lot of insight into what Inside Out was going to be before they settled into the new version of the film. I know most people are very dissapointed by the Inside Out book, (example above) but considering that I only have 2 books, I didn't have much to compare it to. I just devoured everything the book had.

That's kind of the thing for me, I don't feel like I got any insight on Inside Out from that book. Normally they actually explain some of the stuff in the book, the reasoning and everything. Instead of just "Here's an image of Vanellope with green skin", it's "here's an image of Vanellope with green skin, which they planned to give her in order to call to mind unfinished character models, but ended up not using because they felt it made her look zombie-ish". I will always find the latter more interesting than the former, but Inside Out's book gives nothing but the former. 

There's also the less common but still there moments where the images are just flat out confusing without anything to explain them. I still don't know what was up with that one sketch of Joy's room.
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I own quite a few art of books including Wreck-It Ralph, Monsters University, Frozen, Big Hero 6, Inside Out, The Good Dinosaur, Sanjay's Super Team (the only art of Pixar book that explores the art of a Pixar short film), Zootopia, Finding Dory and Moana. I also own The Art of Pixar Book which explores all of Pixars films from Toy Story up to Cars 2 (since it was published in 2011), as well as the Art of Walt Disney, which explores all of WDAS Animated films from Snow White to 2011's Winnie the Pooh, as well as some of WDAS animated shorts, it also explores Pixars features and shorts from Toy Story to Cars 2, and also explores live action, Tim Burton's animated films for Disney, as well as the parks latest innovations, which were at the time Cars Land the expansion of California Adventure. Both books have forewords by John Lasseter. To all the Art of book readers on this forum i really reccomend the book FUNNY which explores all of Pixars gags some used and some not from films Toy Story to The Good Dinosaur,
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Not so many from Pixar, but I have a bunch of different art books. The first I owned were art books from the first three Star Wars films: 'The Art of Star Wars: A New Hope ...The Empire Strikes Back ...Return of the Jedi'. Lots of weird and interesting designs from a time when concept art still involved pencils and paint! Ralph McQuarrie's paintings stand out.
The only book I own from the other films is 'The Art of Star Wars: The Phantom Menace'. Mostly for Terryl Whitlatch's creature designs. She's one of the top people in the biz, and I also have one of her own art books, 'Animals: Real and Imagined'.

For other nerdy interests I have 'The Lord of the Rings: The Art of The Fellowship of the Rings'; 'The Lord of the Rings Sketchbook' (by Alan Lee); 'The Fabulous Art of Trudvang' (a kickstarter book of fantastic art from a roleplaying game with a strong nordic influence, but like the Inside Out book, skimps on written details); 'Myth and Magic: The Art of John Howe'; and a few others about fantasy artists and franchises.

Cartoon wise (now we're getting somewhere) - 'Batman: Animated' (designs from the cartoon that kicked off the DC animated universe); 'Prehistory of the Far Side', 'Tintin: from the archives of the Hergé museum'; 'The Art of Usagi Yojimbo': 'The Nine Old Men' (classic Disney animators, by Disney renaissance animator Andreas Deja); and most recently, 'The Art of Wreck-It Ralph' and after seeing the announcement here at Pixar Post, 'Funny!' Both good reads.

One book I'd like at the moment is 'The Art of Monsters University', but it looks like I missed the boat on that.

Quote: My least favorite is Inside Out for a whole rainbow of reasons you guys probably don't want to hear.

Oh, I don't know about that. [smile]
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Thank you for the wonderful timing there, Warren! I started typing up a response and it got me in an art book mood, so I went poking around Amazon and found that Art of Kung Fu Panda suddenly was at a still kind of ridiculous but much more affordable price! It's back up to being super expensive now, so I would've missed out without your post. 

You just saved me a hundred bucks and months of waiting (I'd have needed to wait until summer so my job started back up), all entirely by accident.

And I'm enjoying the book so far. [Big-Grin_zps23ec4c40]

(And I do own Funny!, for the record. I'll need to look for where it went.)

WarrenJB wrote: One book I'd like at the moment is 'The Art of Monsters University', but it looks like I missed the boat on that.

Missed the boat on getting the book? Why? It's eleven dollars for a used copy on Amazon. 

Quote: Oh, I don't know about that. [smile]


1. As mentioned, the general lack of actual insight. They say they want to art to "speak for itself", but, well, it doesn't. That's not a hit against the people who worked on Inside Out's art, it's just a general statement. Art books in general disclose information that you can't get from the drawings themselves. No amount of doodles will get across Vanellope having green skin to be like unfinished models, or WALL-E's eyes being inspired by binoculars Stanton was playing with at a baseball game, or that bird experts got consulted for dragons' wings, etc. etc.

Made worse by the fact that they give absolutely no insight after bragging about how special and unique the production was. They even specifically highlight character design because this was the one time where they had nothing to base it on (yet I can go read paragraphs on where the designs based off things came from). Where is the logic in any of this? 

2. Also as mentioned, lack of context leaves some things just flat out confusing. When I open Art of WALL-E and see multicolored blobs my first thought isn't "Oh, these must have been characters from an early concept wherein there were no humans" (if it was it was because I knew about the idea from somewhere else first), it's "What the heck are these things?". The difference is that when I have moments like that while reading Art of WALL-E I have text nearby to explain. Art of Inside Out doesn't.

3. It's really terrible with its space management. Sometimes they fill an entire page with a single, really simple doodle, and there's almost always a huge ring of white space around everything (I swear, it looks like they intended to put text in and then didn't bother to move anything when they decided not to). I'd think that more space for more art would be the one advantage to getting rid of the text but they don't actually utilize their space well. 

4. If there's any complaint in this list that's likely to get backlash for being mean it's this one, but I find the intro (foreword? Whichever Docter wrote) really egotistical. It talks about how no one thought Inside Out would work and, well, I've never seen a single person say Inside Out couldn't work. I know the obvious (and correct) answer to that is that my experiences don't negate Docter's experiences, but it just seems so illogical to me. What about Inside Out is so out there that it should not only illicit looks of confusion or condescending disbelief, but NOTHING BUT looks of confusion or condescending disbelief? It's a wonderful movie but the premise is a really common, basic idea, so common the film's near constantly accused of ripping off other stuff. It's like if whoever directed Trolls was all like "No one believed we could make a CGI movie starring a princess". Kind of hard to believe, and even if it did happen it'd still be stupid. 

5. It's terribly organized. Apparently the wanted it to be sorted based on what was done before production actually started and what was done during production, but both those categories are so broad it doesn't feel organized at all. Not at all helped by the fact that they didn't bother to put in anything indicating where one section ended and the other started.

6. The fact that it's only art restricts it so much. With the other books normally you get a decent amount of talk about story, research, technological stuff, etc. to go along with the art. Aside from the obvious downside of not getting that interesting information, reading another book and having it discuss various aspects of the film-making process and then "reading" Inside Out's and have it go over just visuals makes the book feel much less rounded and the production feel more generic.  

7. The entire idea is pointless. You always have the option of just not reading the text and focusing on the art if you want, and most people would gladly do so on first "read through" if the foreword asked them to, but people can't conjure up text that isn't there. It just screws over people who like the text while changing nothing for the people who don't. Removing the text COULD make more room for art, which would at least be an upside even if it isn't a worthwhile one in my opinion, but as already mentioned they don't take advantage of that. 

8. Whose bright idea was that cover? I've seen worse (Art of Home. Blah) but why the heck would you go for a photo of pinned up rough sketches instead of something actually pretty looking? Admittedly, I'd probably be fine with it if everything else in the book didn't bother me.  

And I'm not going to count this as a reason because technically it's not part of the book, but trying to sell the thing for the same amount as every other art book without any indication it isn't normal is just really sleazy to me.

On a side note, I found this comment of mine looking through old threads;
Whatever they say about Bing Bong in the "Art of Inside Out" must be really interesting, because this is a character they pretty much literally could have done anything with. 

If only I knew.

And this whole essay right here is why I didn't go into it. [Silly_zps7c205e8c]
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Bonnie wrote: You just saved me a hundred bucks and months of waiting (I'd have needed to wait until summer so my job started back up), all entirely by accident.

Heh! Happy to be of help.

Quote: Missed the boat on getting the book? Why? It's eleven dollars for a used copy on Amazon.


Would you believe I didn't think of Amazon? I got the names of a few good bookshops off there a while ago, and I generally rely on those.

Quote: And this whole essay right here is why I didn't go into it. [Silly_zps7c205e8c]

Haha! Don't worry about it, I've had plenty of essays like that where something just doesn't seem right, or where individual niggles all add up. I get everything that you've said.
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Amazon's an art book lifesaver.  Get in the habit of checking there if you ever want a specific book because if you're willing to buy used (which has worked out for me so far) you can get ridiculously good deals. Actually, I don't know what kind of prices you get at your bookstore, but compared to the prices Disney has on their online store (39.99), even buying it new from Amazon is a huge deal. Obviously they aren't always good deals, but a lot of the time. 

On an unrelated note, I got Art of Kung Fu Panda 2 and Art of Good Dinosaur for my birthday. In hindsight, I really should've warned my parents about Good Dinosaur's book being the same as Inside Out's. 
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Pixar Post - T.J.
Oh, we always keep a close eye on Amazon prices since they fluctuate so much. We add the books were watching in our Wish List and check it frequently. The best price we've seen on a Pixar Art of book was when the Art of Dory was $9 - crazy! 
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Wow, that IS a good deal. Especially for a newer book. My best Amazon art book deal is probably Art of Blue Sky. It was something like eleven bucks for a book twice as thick as the normal ones.

On an unrelated note (again), my family's going to Disney World and we were trying to think of something interesting to have characters sign. I think it'd be pretty cool to get a face character or two (or even a non-face character. It'd just be less fun) to sign the book for a movie they're in. So now I'm trying to think of a book that both is for a movie I like and has characters I'm actually likely to see. I'm thinking Art of Tangled (my sister just booked a reservation for a new character breakfast that may or may not feature Flynn. And Rapunzel. But more importantly Flynn). 

It sucks that Pixar has so few characters that can actually be in the park and the few that are aren't face characters, otherwise I'd just buy Art of Pixar. As is I think the only face character's Merida, who, even if I did like her, wouldn't be in the book. 
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Been home for about a month now, but here's my Art of Tangled;


I have to admit I'm a little disappointed, because I was debating with myself about whether I should get them to sign the cover or a page featuring them (a decision made harder because each characters has multiple pages of art dedicated to only them), and since I ultimately went with the cover (for ease) I don't think either of them really knew what it was and I probably would've gotten different reactions had I had them sign in the book. Still, fun reactions. Rapunzel said it was the "best portrait ever" and commented about it getting Flynn's nose right, and Flynn said he didn't know they were putting stories of him in books now.

(And there's the mini-frying pan my sister got signed and I didn't think to move out of the shot over there on the right. [Silly_zps7c205e8c])

I'm happy this kind of forced me to buy this, it's a really great book. Though I find it interesting that it specifies stuff about what kind of horse Maximus is and specific things unique to that kind but he just acts like a dog anyway. 

I also just bought Art of Megamind, so I have now officially doubled the number of books I had when I started this thread. (I know my collection's really lopsided. I have a tendency to have huge peaks and valleys in the interest for specific studios. ).
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Bonnie wrote: Rapunzel said it was the "best portrait ever" and commented about it getting Flynn's nose right, and Flynn said he didn't know they were putting stories of him in books now.

That's actually really cute, made me smile. [smile]
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Looks very... um... colourful. [smile]

Hullo T.J. and Julie. I'm curious about this book - can I ask a few questions? How do you think it compares with the earlier 'The Art of Pixar: The Complete Color Scripts'? Apart from including more recent films and arranged chromatically rather than chronologically, perhaps! Reports of The Art of Inside Out and ...The Good Dinosaur have made me wary about art books with minimal text, but is it important here? Both colour books seem to be more about the immediate emotional impact rather than documenting the entire development process, though do you think a few more words would lend more insight?
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Oh, and I finally ordered The Art of Monsters University, and it finally arrived. It's fantastic. [smile] I wish I had half the skill that Dice Tsutsumi and Shelly Wan have in their little fingers. (Not to denigrate the other artists on display) They're doing rough sketches and preproduction paintings, but their mastery of colour and light is right up there. Even from the start, with Dice's painting of li'l Mikey on the school bus steps... the rough brush strokes almost look more 3D and solid than the finished film!

It's given me a hankerin' for other Pixar art books, even Inside Out and TGD. [tongue]
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As of right now, the only "The Art Of" book that I currently own is The Art of The Good Dinosaur and to be honest with you, I actually don't mind the lack of dialogue and description of the art that's presented in this book! Sometimes, it's best to let the pictures to do all of the talking. But that's just mine opinion. [smile_zpsf797a80b]

The next book that's currently on my list is Song of the Sea art book. I just absolutely adore that movie so freaking much and I know that the art book is going to be a real treat to me!! Other art books that I'm aiming at getting include The Art of Inside Out and The Color of Pixar.
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