Animated films are often renowned for their artistry, but rarely does the general public get to peek behind the curtain and see the work that goes into them. Pixar’s art books have always shown off the efforts of the talented artists at the studio, and Jenny Lerew’s The Art of Brave from Chronicle Books exceptionally continues this tradition.
At 160 pages, The Art of Brave is brimming with stunning concept art created during the film’s production. Although light on text, the book provides plenty of insight and quotes from the minds behind the film, including a preface by John Lasseter and a pair of forewards by directors Mark Andrews and Brenda Chapman. Those upset about the Brenda Chapman "controversy" will be thrilled to read about the vitality of Brenda’s original vision and Mark Andrews’ respect towards the heart of the story.
The book contains everything one would expect from a Pixar art book, such as color scripts, sculpts, and an abundance of character and environment art. There’s even a whole chapter dedicated to storyboards, covering every key sequence from the film; given author Jenny Lerew’s background as a story artist, this isn’t surprising. Every turn of the page is delightful, with a solid variety of artistic mediums throughout.
Chapman, Andrews, and the Pixar art crew worked hard to set Brave apart from other fantasy films, which is clearly evident in the visual design. The setting of Scotland provides a fantastic, yet rugged world to support the story; the environment art in the book is stunning, with rich landscapes and unusual color schemes. The impacts of the artists’ research trips to Scotland can be seen in the amount of life within every piece of artwork.
Being a completely original Pixar film, The Art of Brave should include plenty of character concept art. Though this is certainly the case, there’s relatively little variation from the final designs compared to other Pixar art books. This speaks to the artists’ firm original vision of the film, but the lack of exploration is somewhat disappointing. No cut concepts or characters are present here, either. Despite this, the designs are still incredibly appealing and full of personality.
The Art of Brave is an excellent supplement to Brave, providing an in-depth look at the thought process behind the movie. Fans will enjoy reading the artists’ words about the development of the film, while anyone can appreciate the brilliant drawings, paintings, and sculpts throughout; they’re some of the finest that Pixar has ever done. There could be more details regarding character design experimentation and cut concepts, but The Art of Brave is still one of the best art books from Chronicle Books to date.
The Art of Brave will be officially released on May 30, 2012, but is currently available to order on Amazon.com or the Chronicle Books website. Be warned that the book doesn’t hold back when it comes to spoilers, but you won’t regret checking it out after Brave arrives on June 22.
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