Monday, 29 April 2013

Review: The Art of The Croods by Noela Hueso

Publisher: Titan Books
Format: Large hardcover
Released: March 15th, 2013
Rating: 8.5/10

Amazon summary:

The Croods takes us back to a previously undiscovered era known as the Croodacious period, when Mother Nature was still experimenting. Trying to find their evolutionary niche are The Croods family. The Art of The Croods traces the evolution of the comedy adventure movie with over 400 pieces of concept art, character sketches, storyboards and digital paintings, and key talent interviews.


The Art of The Croods is a beautiful large-format book detailing the art and making of Dreamworks' latest animated feature film. The Croods tells the story of a family living during the fictional prehistoric Croodaceous era, which is also home to lots of weird and wonderful creatures. Dreamworks created a thoroughly enjoyable world for both children and adults and this book tells you everything you could ever need to know!

The Art of The Croods begins with a foreword by Nicolas Cage, who is the voice behind the character of Grug, which then leads into some truly jaw-dropping artwork. After the introduction, aptly titled Strange New World, the book is split into three sections: Finding The Croods, An Evolving World and Anatomy of a Scene. Each section is extensive when it comes to both art and accompanying text; there's an awful lot to read in this book, more so than usual. Director Kirk DeMicco talks a lot about themes throughout the film, including those of fear and change. These two particular themes are very important to the Croods and their journey, so I'm glad it was highlighted here early on.

I always find early character concept art to be one of the most interesting parts of a movie art book, and The Art of The Croods is bursting with pages and pages of it. Seeing how Grug evolved from looking more like an ape to a badass caveman caught my eye, tough I think my favourite would have to be Eep. Her earlier concepts have her looking a lot more comical than she turned out to be, which really wouldn't have worked in the finished film. I also have to mention Belt the sloth. He's so cute and handy (he doubles as a belt for Guy!) and here's a little fun fact: he was voiced by co-director Chris Sanders!

There's so much featured in The Art of The Croods that it would be impossible to mention it all here. Quite a lot of page time is dedicated to the fantastical animals featured, such as Punch Monkeys, Bear Owls and the Macawnivore to name a few. There's also a big section covering the land and locations, and a whole chapter detailing the anatomy of a scene. Anyone interested in animation will find this fascinating - it really is unbelievable how much time and skill goes into creating these films. They truly are a work of art.

The Art of The Croods is visually breathtaking, both in design and layout and the content itself. Every page includes amazing art from every aspect of the filmmaking process, whether it be early designs, concept art or finished digital imagery. It's all here in this 177-page book, along with several double-page foldout sections designed to give a wider look at characters and creatures.

I can't say enough good things about this book, it's easily as good as The Art of Rise of the Guardians and The Art of Epic (two other brilliant Titan books you should check out). Although they're all very different films, the exact same amount of care and attention was taken during their production, though I think this book includes slightly more text than the others I mentioned. It took me a good few days to read everything and author Noela Hueso did a great job bringing it all together. I highly recommended it to film and animation fans everywhere!

All images © DreamWorks 2013.

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