The Walt Disney Company first collaborated with Pixar Animation in 1995.
Toy Story was Pixar’s first feature film and it had a massive impact on the industry. It was the first ever computer-animated feature film and since then, Disney and Pixar have worked together a further 16 times on titles like Finding Nemo, The Incredibles and Inside Out.
Since the release of Monsters Inc. in 2001, each Disney Pixar animated film has been accompanied by an illustrated insight into the film. The Art of Disney Pixar books offer an inside look at the making of Pixar’s work. Published by Chronicle Books, the series of 14 volumes is hugely popular.
- The Art of UP
Released in May 2009, Up was the first animated 3D film to open the Cannes Film Festival.
Filled with beautifully vibrant colours and a sweet, emotional soundtrack, the film won the award for Best Animated Feature and Best Original Score at the 82nd Academy awards in 2010 and was a financial success.
Up follows senior citizen Carl Fredricksen as he pursues his dream of living atop a cliff overlooking Paradise Falls, accompanied by young wilderness explorer Russell.
Its matching art book includes a foreword by Director Pete Docter, who speaks of his childhood and motivations for becoming an animator. Many of his early sketches and character designs for the film are scattered throughout The Art of Up, alongside a look into his trip to the Guyana highlands.
Tim Hauser’s book details the team of artists’ time in South America and of how they used cameras, paints and pens to record the nature of the land. Photographs from the trip tell their story; their exploration of mountains and planes that were completely alien to them.
The Art of Up gives an insight into the difficulties in making the CGI landscape believable and the experiments in capturing the textures of the Venezuelan plants and rocks. It demonstrates colour and lighting studies the artists conducted alongside concept sketches, storyboards and digital and traditional paintings.
The book is overflowing with incredibly beautiful and well thought out works of art from the earliest to the latest stages of making Up. Page after page is covered in vibrant reds, purples and greens. The immense amount of work that went into the film is obvious from this edition of the Art of series and it is only fitting that such a stunning and memorable film should be paired with an equally delightful book.
- The Art of Wall-E
Wall-E tells the tale of the last robot trash compactor living in an abandoned Earth several decades from our future.
Introduced by director and writer Andrew Stanton, The Art of Wall-E is immediately more text based than some of the other books in the series. The first few pages of the book have only a few illustrations accompanying the long paragraphs of information about the film.
While this isn’t perhaps what is expected of a book focusing on animation, it is more in depth than other volumes in the Art of book series. It discusses the process of creating Wall-E in depth, providing a genuine inside look at the problems the artists faced and their use of storyboards and colour scripts.
This continues throughout the entire book. While other editions of the Art of series that are mostly filled with images, paintings and photography are simply punctuated by a few key quotes, The Art of Wall-E takes its time as it explains the reasoning behind some of the decisions made throughout the filmmaking process.
However, some of these decisions are overlooked. Wall-E is the first Disney Pixar film to incorporate live action, which isn’t even mentioned in the art book. The Art of Wall-E places its focus instead on the film’s two main characters, Wall-E and Eve.
Tim Hauser’s look at the Academy Award winning film explores the inspirations behind the design of these characters alongside their development. What makes the titular character of Wall-E so compelling is that despite his limited vocabulary, the robot is nonetheless hugely expressive. The Art of Wall-E features several artists from the Pixar team explaining how they managed to do this.
The book illustrates the points it makes with beautiful sketches and paintings. Like other Art of books, every page in The Art of Wall-E is a work of art in itself. Storyboards of some of the film’s most memorable scenes are sure to remind readers of the joy they felt when watching Stanton’s blockbuster and reignite their love of its characters.
- The Art of Brave
Set in the Scottish Highlands, Brave tells the story of a young princess and her refusal to enter into an arranged marriage.
The 2012 film is Pixar’s first fairy tale. It is also the company’s first film with a female protagonist in the starring role. This turned out to be a success, with Brave winning the Academy Award, BAFTA Award and Golden Globe for Best Animated Feature Film.
Jenny Lerew’s The Art of Brave details the research trips to Scotland taken by the film’s director, producer and development producer, as well as set and story artists, designers and editors.
The team went all over the country to research colloquialisms and traditional songs, as well as aspects of Scottish scenery. The Art of book compiles photographs the artists took while in the country, which showcase Scotland’s architecture, landscapes and weather. The book focuses on capturing the land; the essence and feeling of the Brave’s setting.
This is underlined by the many artistic experiments of the Brave art team. They tackled the task by putting together environment concept boards, Celtic inspired graphics and experimenting with different paintbrush strokes and textures. They had to take countless things into account – detailing the weave and fraying of cloth, capturing the running rivers of Scotland and demonstrating how the stones of a castle wall had been intricately layered.
This is all complimented by stunning watercolour and acrylic paintings. The Art of Brave has the perfect balance of text and illustrations – the design development of the film’s characters is well flushed out and detailed by artworks made with various media. Merida, Brave’s main character, has four pages filled with sketches and paintings, alongside the reasoning behind her design.
The book also features clay cast sculptures of each of the characters in Brave. The figures are beautifully detailed and add a sense of realness to a story that is filled with otherworldliness.
The art book does an incredible job of capturing the themes of Brave and bringing them to life. Much like the film itself, The Art of Brave is filled with an undeniable magic.