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Book Review: The Art of Up

Book Review: The Art of Up

If you're still wondering about the real story of Pixar's Up, this book provides very good clues (or spoilers). I'll just say it's about Carl, the old man, going on a journey in search for meaning to his life. The directive from the top was to make Up "the studio's most emotive film to date".

Tim Hauser has provided a good writeup into design style and production process of the movie. There's talk on the story arc, themes, the characters and a bit on the artistic side of production, like visiting a jungle for the research. The Pixar story team provided lots of quotes giving great insight into the story process. On the technical side to animating, nothing much is mentioned.

The challenge for this movie is aimed at simplicity. The character designs are based on simple shapes like squares (Carl), ovals (Russell, balloons), bullets (dogs), etc. I've the impression there are less sets and characters compared to other Pixar movies. There seem to be only the city, the sky (flying objects) and the jungle (big). You can see the focus is going to be on the characters.

The art included are character designs, storyboards, color scripts and few environmental paintings. Descriptions for the illustrations come in the form of quotes. There are lots of character sketches for the main characters, Carl, Russell and the house. Readers looking for the plot will find that in Lou Romano's colour scripts. It seems that there's a new (to me) character designer, Daniel López Muñoz, doing plenty of character sketches.

What you're not going to see are film stills, background paintings and pastels. No idea why but the number of background paintings always pales in comparison to non-Pixar art books. And there's only one pastel painting from Dominque Louis. I miss the pastel paintings included in earlier movie art books.

This book is really more for Pixar fans.


"Hey this doesn't look like one of Pixar's better art book is it?", a colleague remarks to me. Another goes "Not the kind of style I like". Well, I guess it's not for everyone but here are the pictures you can see for yourself. =)


The Art of Up is available at Amazon (US | CA | UK | DE | FR | IT | JP | CN) and USBook Depository

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