by Mark Cotta Vaz
I was suprised at how integral analog art was in the making of the digital film. The computer-generated art took direction and inspiration from pastels, charcoal sketches, marker-drawn storyboards, and acrylic and oil paintings, many of which are reproduced in this book. In fact, there are very few digitally produced images here.
Ralph Eggleston’s pastels make up the lion’s share of the art in this book. They are reproduced in a wide variety of sizes, from thumbnails, to near original size, to others blown up to show fine details. They have a depth and texture that drew me to the book — and I like this art more than I like the movie. (I mean, I enjoyed the movie quite a bit, but taken as images — out of context I admit — I prefer this art to the slick digital production.)
Eggleston’s pastels were used to set lighting and palette for scenes in the movie. That much is explained in the short text accompanying the images. The book isn’t long on explanation; if you are looking for deep insight into Pixar’s process, you won’t find it here. This is a coffee-table book, put together to look great, and not accomplish much else.
And it does look great. The other images I loved were, suprisingly, a near-opposite of the pastel pieces. Simón Varela’s amazingly detailed and dark charcoal sketches were used to help explain a mood to the CG team, saying in pictures, like this.
I’d recommend this book to adult or older-kid fans of the movie (younger kids might not enjoy the less character-drive art, or that the pictures “look different” from the movie); people who have an interest in pastel, charcoal, or pencil-sketched art; and people with an interest in illustration. I really enjoyed it.