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Avatar: The Last Airbender (The Art of the Animated Series)
Format: HardcoverChange
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150 of 153 people found the following review helpful
TOP 50 REVIEWERon May 29, 2010
This is a wonderful art book for a spellbinding animation series. Making the series took 6 years, hundreds of artists, and hundreds of thousands of drawings. This book showcases a selection of some really beautiful illustrations.

There are loads of character and background designs inside, in sketches and in their finished coloured form. The main characters like Aang and others come with cool animation sequences created with pencils. Also included are many of the discarded concepts which were difficult to animate or doesn't suit the story. Appa had some really awesome spiral horns but were discarded, unfortunately. The character drawings are superb. Just by looking at their different expressions you can pretty much guess their characteristics.

Besides the characters which includes the town folks and soldiers, there are also drawings for many miscellaneous stuff like storyboards, airships, hybrid animals, wanted posters, promotional posters, chibi (or super deformed) style and random doodles from meetings.

Did I mention the background paintings? The world created is so beautiful!

The whole book is annotated heavily by Bryan Konietzko and Michael Dante DiMartino. They talk about everything on production, from creating the pilot episode to Nickelodeon approving the final season. You can see and read about their influences and inspiration everywhere, from Buddhism, Studio Ghibli, Gainax, Chinese martial arts, etc. It's very interesting to see how they apply what they learned from research to their drawings and animation.

This is a fantastic art book for the series and fans, which should appeal to anyone who hasn't watch the series. Good art appeals to all.

Highly recommended!

(There are more pictures of the book on my blog. Just visit my Amazon profile for the link.)
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32 of 33 people found the following review helpful
on May 24, 2010
An awesome collection of pre-production art; character designs, props, backgrounds, example of storyboards and animation. This book covers all three seasons, episode by episode, from its pilot episode to the grand finale of Sozin's comet.
It is a beautiful collection, presented in a nice hardcover book. There is so much material, it is almost a shame the publisher didn't do one book for each seasons and printed some of the pictures bigger.

If you're looking to have an inside look at the great artworks produced for this show, this is a must have book for all fans of the series.
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32 of 35 people found the following review helpful
on May 26, 2010
For ANY fan of the series, this is an ABSOLUTE must-have. This book is jam-packed with all sorts of goodies, plus stuff I didn't expect to have. I've always loved seeing rough sketches and idea drawings, and this book does not fail to disappoint.

You get a huge treasure trove of backgrounds, paintings, character designs, and notes. It truly is an amazing read.

Like Johane said, it's almost a shame that there isn't a separate book for each season, because there's just so much good stuff in here. It's almost too much - I do wish some of the drawings were bigger. At 184 pages, I cannot help but wonder why the creators of this book didn't just spring for 200. On one page, there is a lineup of portraits of five Fire Lords, but they're so small that I have to use a magnifying glass to really look at all the details of these pictures (the images are no more than a couple of inches high) It would be nice to have several pages - even foldout - so we can examine these images to our fullest pleasure. It is due to the size of some of the images in this book that I cannot give it a perfect 5 stars - I can only give it 4.5 at best.

Still, this is a pretty sweet collectible full of lovely artwork and other goodies that should not fail to disappoint even the most die-hard Avatar fan. And if you have a friend or family member who is an Avatard, believe me, this is a gift that WILL make their day.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on July 15, 2010
This artbook is utterly beautiful. When I first tore open the box and laid my eyes upon the product, I literally gasped in amazement. After watching The Last Airbender movie, simply thinking about Avatar filled my body with disgust and made my gag reflex quite sensitive. I couldn't even watch the show without having terrifying flashbacks of the disgraceful film. Thankfully, looking at this book reopened my eyes to the sheer brilliance of the true series. Every single word written in this book is basically pie for an avatard like me. Bottom line: I ate it all up. And I loved it. This book is filled with details about the series, how the makers came up with their ideas, what inspired them, and so much more. What REALLY put the icing on the cake is the artwork (duh h4x0rzzzzz, it's an artbook). Every little pencil sketch, drawing, painting, left me in awe. So stunning! Most of the time when I buy books, I'll read/look at them once or twice and then it spends the rest of its book-life sitting on my bookshelf, collecting book-dust. I can guarantee you that this is a treasure that won't have the opportunity to sit still. Definitely worth the buy!
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on July 17, 2010
As an artist, I had always admired the rich world depicted in the Avatar: The Last Airbender animated series. Having purchased this book, my opinion of the artwork has gone from admiration to outright awe. This book offers an incredible insight to not only character designs and backgrounds, but to the process of making the show. Progressions of background creation from concept to sketches to final paintings. Key animation sequences. Storyboards. Character evolution. Commentary on the creation of the show as a whole, including how it was first conceived and later realized as the incredible work of storytelling and animation we know today.

This book has been incredibly inspirational to me. I'm reading it a little bit at a time, because every time I pick it up I find myself eager to go create my own stories! It's an instant motivator. I encourage anyone who has ever yearned to tell their own story to purchase this book. It's one of the best models out there for how to create a story right!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on July 6, 2010
This book is a great collectors item if you love the animated series and want to know info on the first draft and final draft of each character. This book is for you. If you want to know how the story concept for each episode and bios for each character this is for you. This book goes through all 3 season, explaining each episode for least popular characters to even villains. Concept art, city designs, rough drafts to final and funny facial expressions. I know its putting a lot on it but this probably best artbook i ever bought that gives more infomation about each character good guys and villains, explanation on each episode til the very ending. Worth the Purchase and wont feel cheated.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on August 3, 2010
Seldom ever do I leave feedback for anything I purchase through amazon. I believe this product deserves some.

This is the first "art of the animated series/feature film" book I've ever bought. I'm not a designer, painter, nor digital artist. I bought it purely out of my love/appreciation for the show.

I was NOT dissapointed.

It's not only the beautiful and detailed images and series's conceptual designs that won me over. It's the texts by Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko -the show's creators- that complement the entire book that make it really unique.

Sometimes specific, sometimes broad, the annotations by DiMartino and Konietzko do take you through the creation process of Avatar. Their explanations on what worked and what didn't are enticing, plus, there are a few anecdotes here and there for the hardcore fan.

This is not a coffe table book. This is a book that belongs in the bookshelf of every fan of the show. And also future storytellers.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on July 25, 2010
I actually bought this book at Comic-con a few days ago, I happened to run into a guy in line for one of the panels that had bought it, he was nice enough to let me have a quick look through and it peak my interest.So after I gave up on the huge line, I went to buy it.

I'm glad I did...

Now I'm not a huge fan of the show but it has been one of my favorites in the past years. And this book gives you a bit more of a look into it's creation.

The biggest thing that hit me, was that it was a mostly visual book w/ very little actually reading (other than captions of course) but the main text that is in there is commentary notes from both of the creators...and I really thing THAT is what actually makes this book great.

It really makes you appreciate all the little ideas and last second changes the creators made over the course of 3 seasons that actually made the series as great as it is. I am really glad I got this book, and I'm sure any other fan of Avatar will feel the same.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on January 4, 2011
This book is not only beautiful to look at but gives you a wonderful in depth look to the shows creation. It's like stepping in the world of Avatar all over again. It's a large format book in size but is spilling with information. It doesn't have too much copy that makes it long to read but includes many steps of the development for the series. You see sketches, animation scenes, background paintings, original architectural sketches and so much more. For any Avatar fan it's a must have especially if you are a person who enjoys the creative side of life.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on July 15, 2010
I really enjoyed the cartoon series, and when I saw they had published an art book I bought it! This book is full of character sketches, facial studies, background on the story and character development, and fun side notes about the creation process. I really enjoyed reading about the Kung Fu sketch studies, and the swamp benders. I recommend this book if you enjoyed the story/cartoon, and would like to know more about the 'behind the scenes.'
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