I can't believe I actually held off purchasing the original Japanese art book when it came out in August 2008. The long wait for the translated version from Viz Media is finally over! It's cool that they have also used the smooth matte paperback covers typically used by the Japanese Studio Ghibli art books. Nice touch.
The Art of Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea is a very beautiful book presented just like the other Studio Ghibli art books. There are background paintings, pencil watercolour sketches and film stills. This time, they have included more concept art than the film stills. We have lots of character designs and town paintings. That's over 220 pages of art work followed by the complete voice-over script.
All the concept sketches are drawn by Hayao Miyazaki in his usual pencil and watercolour wash treatment. The concept art and backgrounds by the art staff were supervised by art director Noboru Yoshida, and character sketches and design are by supervising animator Katsuya Kondo. There are interviews with those two as well as with Michiyo Yasuda (Chief Colour Designer) and Atsushi Okui (Director of Digital Imaging). They talk about the watercolour storyboards, how Miyazaki works, how they create the sea and other production stories.
This book is highly recommended for all fans of Studio Ghibli. It will put a smile on your face.
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