A peculiar trait of Chronicle Books’ Pixar ‘Art Of-’ books is you don’t really need to know much about the films to enjoy these books. Mostly because there are only hints about the plots and the emphasis is on the preliminary production art as it evolves into a film. Such is with ‘The Art Of Onward’. Unusual for Pixar, the background is straight fantasy with all but leprechauns used. Quite why they are seen as the exception I don’t know. I like the way unicorns are no longer majestic but skip-hoppers scavenging for food around the city. No villages in this fantasy reality.
Looking behind the lines and only in this book, two elf brothers have lost their father. Ian, the younger son, is kept a friendly eye on by his more fanciful brother, Barley, playing against types. Barley also plays a wizard role-playing game called ‘Quests Yore’. Oddly, I thought it might have worked better had his game played with normal human reality than more of the same type. It probably makes sense when watching the final film.
What is interesting from the design point of view is each of the artists are allowed their own interpretation until it is decided which to go for or composite from. Without books such as this, I doubt if you would see the amount that is simply disregarded. If you are considering working in this medium, you’d better not get too attached to your creations. As I’ve pointed out in the earlier books, if you do, you need to be able to express different emotions with the characters. Considering 3D figures are sculpted of the key players and seen here, I do have to wonder how long before they use computerised 3D manufacture but I guess it might be more a matter of scale than tiny size required.
There are several storyboards shown but, as per usual with these Pixar books, this is all about the preliminary character designs and backgrounds. If you want to learn how the imagination process is developed then this is the book to buy. Having seen so many of these books, it would be interesting to see Chronicle Books do a book on the career choices needed to get a career in computer animated films. Onward>>
(pub: Chronicle Books. 176 page illustrated square hardback. Price: £30.00 (UK), $40.00 (US). ISBN: 978-1-4521-7960-3)
check out website: www.chronicles.com