Book Review: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey Chronicles: Art & Design

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey Chronicles: Art & Design - 01


This is a wonderful companion art book for the movie. In some ways, I like it better than the ones from LOTR.

The cover is beautifully embossed with texture and shine. It's 208-pages and big. Behind the cover is Thorin's Map that you can tear out from the perforated edges, and at the back is a long gatefold of Bilbo's Burglar contract should you want to read the fine prints to see what Bilbo has gotten himself into.

There's a generous amount of concept art included that feature the characters, props and environment. Yes, it's all fantasy art, and they are all very beautiful and detailed. There are art from Alan Lee, John Howe, Dan Hennah (production designer), Richard Taylor and many others from Weta Workshop. The book is all art and there aren't a lot of photos, so you won't find behind the scenes shots and there are only small thumbnails of the actors in makeup.

The majority are mostly character designs and the related, such as costumes, weapons and other props. There are Bilbo and his entourage of dwarves, trolls, goblins, and creatures. Each character has many designs variations shown, but mostly from the hair and facial hair — probably more hairstyles that you can find in a hair saloon brochure.

The environment art are mainly of close ups of locations and interiors. There are a few of those wide shots as well but could have been printed bigger. Many of the nice textured pencil drawings are from John Howe and Alan Lee.

Those who like production design will enjoy the insightful commentary. There's lots to read and often, there will be a few designers talking about just one character, about the design, clothing and their weapons. The extra information gives more depth to the characters.

The back cover mention something about this book being the first in a series of hardcover books. So unless they are referring to the other film companions, it means there would be art books for the next two films as well.

It's a fantastic artbook. Highly recommended to fans of the film and fantasy art.

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The price of the book varies depending on who the publisher is. You can get from Harper Design if you're in USA, and Harper Collins if you're outside USA.

From publisher Harper Design: Amazon (US | CA | UK | DE | FR | IT | ES | JP | CN) and Book Depository

From publisher Harper Collins: Amazon (US | CA | UK | DE | FR | IT | ES | JP | CN) and Book Depository

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The price of the book varies depending on who the publisher is. You can get from Harper Design if you're in USA, and Harper Collins if you're outside USA.

From publisher Harper Design:
Amazon.com | Amazon.ca | Amazon.co.uk | Amazon.de | Amazon.fr | Amazon.it | Amazon.es | Amazon.co.jp | Amazon.cn | Bookdepository.com

From publisher Harper Collins:
Amazon.com | Amazon.ca | Amazon.co.uk | Amazon.de | Amazon.fr | Amazon.it | Amazon.es | Amazon.co.jp | Amazon.cn | Bookdepository.com

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12 Comments

Hi Parka,

Hi Parka,

Could you confirm the page count is 272 and not 208 as stated on the cheaper edition info shown at Amazon? I'm confused and not sure if there are already 2 versions of the book with different pages or just the same edition with wrong details on Amazon.

Thank you and congrats for your excellent blog.

Hi Parka,

Hi Parka,

Thanks for the review but I've a query - your original Amazon.de link directed to a copy of the book, similar to your review, which contains 272 pages. The cheaper version of the book which you now link to is 208 pages and both books have different ISBNs and Publishers (Harper Design = US, HarperCollins UK = UK/Europe).
I see the same discrepancy in book page count and price on the Amazon UK website and another UK site www.bookdepository.co.uk.

Any idea what the discrepancy is? 60+ pages is alot when it comes to imagery and pictures possibly excluded between versions.

Thanks for the reply, I think

Thanks for the reply, I think you're right and it must just be an incorrect listing that is doing the rounds on the different websites.

Just to clarify, I wasn't wondering why the book with more pages was dearer (that would be fairly obvious), but actually if there was a difference at all, as both books were being described and marketed as exactly the same and bar the note that one had more pages than the other, there was no noted difference in both editions.
I wanted the book with the most content so was happy to pay the higher price, I just wanted to make sure that I wasn't paying a higher price for what would turn out to be the exact same book!

Thanks again for the reply and the great review, my 208 page UK version is now on order!

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