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The Art of Ray Harryhausen Hardcover – April 1, 2006


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Billboard Books; 1st edition (April 1, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0823084000
  • ISBN-13: 978-0823084005
  • Product Dimensions: 10 x 1.1 x 11.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #75,631 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Fantasy-film geeks revere Harryhausen's technically dazzling, meticulously crafted movies employing the painstaking technique of stop-motion animation. This coffee-table volume showcases the material Harryhausen discovered in his archives while researching Ray Harryhausen: An Animated Life (2004). Harryhausen stresses that this book isn't as much about animation as about the previsualization that precedes making the models that will be filmed; accordingly, it focuses on sketches, key drawings, storyboards, and preliminary clay models rather than film stills. Thematic chapters cover Harryhausen's early work, including his stint with animation legend Willis O'Brien on the King Kong quasi sequel, Mighty Joe Young; dinosaur movies, such as One Million Years B.C.; sci-fi flicks such as the 1953 War of the Worlds; and the series of films portraying the adventures of Sinbad of, more or less, the Arabian Nights. Like O'Brien before him, Harryhausen hugely influenced younger filmmakers. In the introduction, Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson says he grew up wanting to become Harryhausen's apprentice and notes that the animator's films "have lost none of their ability to provoke wonder." Gordon Flagg
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Review

"Ray has been a great inspiration to us in the special visual industry. The art of his earlier films, which most of us grew up on, inspired us so much."
—GEORGE LUCAS PRODUCER/DIRECTOR

"The Lord of the Rings is my ‘Ray Harryhausen movie.’ Without that lifelong love of his wondrous images and storytelling, it would never have been made–not by me at least."
—FROM THE FOREWORD BY PETER JACKSON

"One of the world’s greatest manipulators"
—KERMIT FROG --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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I am very glad I decided to get this book.
Leo Hott
We all love Ray Harryhausen for his visual work and this book shows it off beautifully.
Philip Giller
This is a nice hardback book with dust cover with 230 pages.
Stop Motion Maniac

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Bob Eggleton on March 22, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
To start with, this book reproduces so many unseen and barely- glimpsed-before drawings and concepts, that one can spend hours looking at each one again and again. So it is rare are we are afforded this backstage look at the making of those wonderful stop motion films. Harryhausen's legacy is testamony to a time when films were made of this kind, and they not only took a long time of thinking and planning to make, but the result on screen was epic and, worth the wait. Nowadays fantasy film effects are churned out so ad nauseum thanks to CGI, that they simply lose their wonder-it's like we're used to it. I'm a big fan of *real* model work and real matte painting. You could touch it and it had presence, and those little nuances people fault it for now, are what give it it's character and style. Because of that, Harryhausen's legacy stands on it's own and will be remembered well past his lifetime. Remember, even up to his last film CLASH OF THE TITANS(1981) he worked largely out of a very small studio-one time it was his garage(!!)with one or two assistants and that was only on later,larger budgeted pictures. What does that say compared nowadays to $150M dollar + effects films!!!???

And though retired, we have Harryhausen now, still working away with his drawings ans sculptures into his 80's. A man who loves what he does.I can't recommend this book enough, save to say that the reproduction is excellent on all the art shown-pencil sketches, storyboards, charcoal drawings. It's so nice to see drawings as opposed to overrendered computer artwork of nowadays.

Of note is the "Inspirations" part of the book where we see some of the artwork by others that inspired Ray to follow his muse. It says much about the man.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By John Gentile on March 22, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Being a Harryhausen fanatic, I was bound to love this book. For those "not so compulsive" collectors who are wondering if the book is worth having after buying Ray's autobiography: I think you'll find the answer to be YES!

The hardcover volume is attractive, with Ray's awesome charcoal drawings slightly tinted to give them extra flavor. Some of the drawings span 2 pages, so you can really enjoy the details. Most of the photos and artwork have never been seen before. I especially love the two page spread that shows the genesis of a creature, from charcoal drawing to animation armature. Terrific!

Casual fans might find this overkill, but if you have all of Ray's stop motion films on DVD, this is a must. And the price is right!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By D. Donovan, Editor/Sr. Reviewer on April 19, 2006
Format: Hardcover
While science fiction artist Ray Harryhausen's ART OF is intended as a companion to his prior autobiography AN ANIMATED LIFE, this succeeds well in standing alone as an outstanding focus on his movie art and his overall artwork. Source material for ART OF comes from Harryhausen's own archives, preserved in his London home and published here for the first time. Here are exquisite sketch and scene reproductions, storyboards, original art and models in black and white and color throughout. For avid Harryhausen fans - and there are many - ART OF RAY HARRYHAUSEN is a 'must'. Very highly recommended.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Tim Janson HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on March 27, 2006
Format: Hardcover
The word genius has become one of the most overused and improperly used words in our society, easily passed out to those who are often undeserving. But in the case of Ray Harryhausen it is the only word that fits. It's not just his body of work over the past sixty plus years that earns him this title, but also his many pioneering achievements in filmmaking. In "The Art of Ray Harryhausen" the old master takes readers on a journey that begins with his earliest influences in film, art, and storytelling. Throughout the fascinating journey he explains many of the techniques that he either devised himself, or improved upon.

Ray's first great influence on film was the stop-motion work of his friend and eventual mentor Willis O'Brien. Ray discusses how he first contacted O'Brien at the film studio and arranged to meet him at O'Brien's home where the friendship blossomed and Obie...as Ray calls him...took him under his wing. Harryhausen also talks about some of his formal art training in the 40's at schools in L.A. and New York.

Aspiring filmmakers or special effects fans are going to love this book. Ray devotes an early chapter to how his famous models were made including the building of the metal armatures, to the coverings made with cotton and latex, to the final painting of the models, many of which are still intact today including a wooly mammoth made in 1938, his oldest surviving (and working) model. This chapter provides up close and detailed photos of some of Ray's most famous creations including the Skeleton warriors from "Jason and the Argonauts" and Ymir from "20 Million Miles to Earth". The entire creative process is demonstrated in photographs beginning with concept sketches and storyboards, to the building of the models and the actual animation.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Tzoner on March 15, 2006
Format: Hardcover
In his comprehensive 2004 autobiography AN ANIMATED LIFE, stop-motion animation grandmaster Ray Harryhausen finally gave his admirers a behind-the-scenes glimpse of life behind the scenes. His artistry at conjuring creatures of fancy and nightmare and breathing life into them is captured on film; what AN ANIMATED LIFE revealed was the mechanics of the magic. Happily, this peek behind the wizard's curtain did nothing to rob Harryhausen's work of its beauty and mystery. If anything, a new respect for the man and his resourceful and innovative methods was forged.

The most surprising lesson gleaned from the tome was the degree to which Harryhausen was involved in all aspects of his productions. From concept to pre-production and planning through location prep and shooting, to re-shoots and editing and scoring, up to the laborious hours spent at the animation table long after the picture had wrapped for everyone else, Ray Harryhausen was behind it all, and AN ANIMATED LIFE celebrated all of it.

With its focus on the tricks of the trade, however, the book could only skim over Harryhausen's most impressive contributions short of his legendary animation skills: his extravagant charcoal renderings and deftness in the art of sculpture. A new companion book, THE ART OF RAY HARRYHAUSEN, utilizes the same sweeping grandeur of the previous effort in focusing on the artist's lesser-known and seldom-seen talents.

This lavish volume features preliminary sketches, movie storyboards and other artwork that was crucial to the sale and production of Harryhausen's various projects. It also highlights his processes in crafting models and reveals Harryhausen's current efforts to preserve his fragile, time-ravaged latex creations as relief casts and bronze sculptures.
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