Tuesday, 23 May 2017

"The Art of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story" by Lucasfilm Ltd / Josh Kushins and Various Artists (Abrams)

Once again it's time for one of those glorious "Art of" books. This time it's "The Art of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story" curated by Josh Kushins...
There's been a huge swell of interest in all things Star Wars since Disney acquired the IP from George Lucas, and have been re-injecting life into this amazing franchise.

As a cheesy Star Wars geek who has passed the torch on to Charlotte we've really loved seeing a lot of the new art books that have sprung up around Star Wars Episode 7 - and now this new 'offshoot' standalone movie, "Rogue One".

I'd put off buying this book (for spoiler reasons as I'd missed the movie at the cinema and only recently caught up with it on Blu Ray) but it was on my shopping list for ages.

Now it's here and it's a hugely impressive piece of work, gathering together storyboards, concept art and rough sketches from the movie's production, as well as sumptuous finished illustrations featuring the movie's characters and tech.

A busy day for the rebellion. Anyone need a spare Stormtrooper helmet?
The movie, set before the original Star Wars (Episode IV), is a bold move from a relatively new 'face' in Hollywood, Gareth Edwards. Recruiting an amazing team of artists, retaining several from working on Episode 7 (such as Doug Chiang and Glyn Dillon), Gareth's vision came to life in spectacular fashion with (arguably) one of the better Star Wars movies to date.

Jyn Erso, concept art by Glyn Dillon
The challenge - to make designs that fitted perfectly into the timeline before the original 70s movie, without looking too new or contemporary - was achieved with aplomb. New and old characters appear in the film (and whatever your opinion is on bringing actors back to life via CGI, the results were weirdly impressive if a little too 'uncanny valley' for me) but the real stars for me were all the new technology and gadgets that artists designed, and the new locations too.

Stunning storyboards chronicle the movie's most critical points
The book is lavish, luxurious and does not disappoint. Tons and tons of colour plates, original black and white sketches and storyboards, and photos / CGI from the movie are shared. Basically it's like a fantastic encyclopaedia of design for the movie, and has a ton of inspiration for would-be scribblers like me who love drawing their own stuff.

Highly recommended.

"The Art of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story" is out now, published by Abrams (self purchased).