Friday, 5 September 2014

ReaditDaddy's Book of the Week - Week ending 5th September 2014 - "The Art of Frozen" by Charles Solomon / Various artists (Chronicle Books)

The Art of Frozen

Written by Charles Solomon

Illustrated by various artists

Published by Chronicle Books

Charlotte (like most 6 year old girls) lives and breathes the Disney movie "Frozen". If she's not watching the movie or listening to the soundtrack, she's singing the songs or imagining herself as Anna or Elsa.

When Chronicle kindly offered to send us this glorious and luxurious book to review, we couldn't wait. I'm a long-time fan of Disney's amazing artists who seem to be able to conjure up the most magical and everlasting characters in animated cinematic history with ease. Charlotte was interested in seeing how each character developed, how movies evolve from scripts and storyboards into fully fleshed-out animated spectaculars. In short, Charles Solomon's fantastic book, with contributions from brilliant Disney concept artists, animators and even Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee (the movie's co-directors) and Jon Lasseter (a movie legend and the creative genius behind so many amazing Disney and Pixar movies) is thorough, in-depth and an essential purchase.

It's not just for fans of the movie. For children, it's a gorgeously produced insight into what it takes to turn an initial idea into a highly polished and finished feature. For would-be illustrators and animators it's an invaluable resource that gently tweaks apart all the elements we know from the finished product, and discusses and visualises in great depth the way writers, artists, animators and everyone involved in the movie work together to produce such awesome work.

Every tiny detail is examined and discussed to provide a definitive insight into Frozen's art direction. Research and location filming is detailed to show how artists draw their inspiration from the real world. Character art is examined in great depth showing why some ideas were rejected fairly early on (originally, Elsa was quite a dark and menacing character more in line with the original Hans Christian Andersen story) and why some ideas were adopted right from their initial first hastily scribbled drawings through to the final renders used in the movie.

It's a huge weighty hefty tome and though it comes at a price, you'll definitely see why once you delve into it. Full colour photo plates are used throughout, and it's fantastic to hear artists and directors talking at great length about how passionate and excited people were to work on the movie - almost as passionate and excited as a certain little 6 year old is whenever she hears the opening bars of "Do you want to build a snowman?"

Definitely a huge thumbs up from Charlotte. The book has barely left her side since it arrived!

Put it on your christmas list, it's a fabulous peek behind the silver screen at the magic that happens to bring animated movies we know and love to sparkling effervescent life.

Charlotte's best bit: Though the initial sketches and designs for "Dark Elsa" are quite menacing, Charlotte really loved that spiky pseudo-gothic look. She also loved Marshmallow beginning life basically as a giant Olaf!

Daddy's Favourite bit: A thoroughly absorbing and gloriously luxurious look at one of the biggest Disney movies of all time. Absolutely essential if you're interested in movies, animation, illustration and character design. Or even just love Frozen to bits!