Friday, 27 June 2014

Review: The Art of How to Train Your Dragon 2 by Linda Sunshine

Publisher: Titan Books
Format: Hardcover
Released: May 9th, 2014
Rating: 9/10

Amazon summary:

This outstanding insider's guide introduces fans to the creative process behind the film, from the story and characters to visual development art and animation. With more than 300 concept sketches, preliminary drawings, architectural plans, and digital artwork that reveal how teams of artists bring the Dragon and Viking worlds to life with modern cinematic energy.


How to Train Your Dragon 2 is unleashed in UK cinemas on July 11th and is the sequel to 2010's surprise smash hit How to Train Your Dragon. Based on Cressida Cowell's children's novels of the same name, the How to Train Your Dragon movies follow young Hiccup Haddock Horrendous III's dragon training and his relationship with Toothless the dragon. The first film was utterly brilliant and I'm sure this new instalment will be just as good, if not better!

Like all of Titan's art books, The Art of How to Train Your Dragon 2 is a comprehensive look at the art of the film and how and why everything is as it is. It's fully illustrated with amazing art and images (including lots of dragons - yay!) and really is an ode to this film and everyone involved in the design process.

 [Click to enlarge]

Beginning with a foreword by Gerard Butler (the voice of Stoick), the book is then split into six parts that cover different aspects of the film, including New Worlds to Explore, The World of Ice and World War of Dragons. Each section features concept and final art, designs, location spreads and colour keys. There are also some words from Hiccup himself along with storyboards, extensive character profiles and a fascinating look at the process needed to age said characters. It's so interesting to read about the trial and error method that was employed, and just how tricky it was to age animated people. From looking at Hiccup and co. from the first film and now, I think it turned out great!

[Click to enlarge]

Every part of How to Train Your Dragon 2 is covered here in great detail even down to the designs of flight suits and weapons. Toothless gets a lot of page space, which I was happy about, as I really wanted to know how they designed him and brought him to life. His design didn't change much for this second film, though the team have tried to make his muscles behave as if he was real. It's unbelievable how much work goes into creating these animated characters and creatures!

My favourite part of the whole book is Part IV: The World of Ice. This section covers most of the dragons featured in the film and looks at key scenes that I won't mention in case of spoilers. The dragons all look fantastic and I can't wait to see the Scuttleclaw Babies. They're so cute! There are also some pretty scary dragons that look like they'll cause a lot of problems for Hiccup and Toothless, one giant in particular that goes by the name Bewilderbeast. His design is incredible and I'm sure he will look brilliant on the big screen!

 [Click images to enlarge]

Obviously there are some spoilers for the movie contained within The Art of How to Train Your Dragon 2, so maybe save reading it until you've seen the film. I've read every word and, as always, I'm so impressed with the quality of information on offer. As a fan of films and filmmaking, books like this are an essential must-read for me, but even if you only have a casual interest in film or are just a fan of the How to Train Your Dragon franchise, this book is still a worthwhile addition to any bookshelf. If it's images of Toothless you're after or a look at a storyboard then this book is the way to go - trust me, if you like Hiccup and Berk's dragons then purchase this immediately!

No comments: