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4.8 out of 5 stars
The Art of DreamWorks How to Train Your Dragon 2
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44 of 44 people found the following review helpful
TOP 50 REVIEWERon May 19, 2014
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
This book is as good as the artbook for the first film, The Art of How to Train Your Dragon. In other words, it's a beautiful artbook.

The concept art is split between designs for the characters, dragons, environment and props.

Hiccup and company from Berk are five years older now, and they are redesigned slightly to reflect their age. Nicolas Marlet is still the main character designer and a lot of his drawings are included. He still uses traditional media to draw in similar style the expressive and almost cartoon-like characters. Artist Zhaoping Wei provides the more finished look to the characters.

Both the viking and dragon designs are a joy to look at, and of course there new characters and dragons. There's Stoick's Skullcrusher, blacksmith Gobber's Grump, Valka's Cloudjumper, the two gigantic Bewilderbeast and of course other miscellaneous dragons.

Designs for the props and sets are also wonderful. I love the whimsical look and feel. There are many interesting creations, to name a few, such as the dragon wind vane, dragon feeding stations, houses and buildings, traps and war machines.

Environment paintings are really beautiful and scenic. There aren't many of those but when they appear, they are breathtaking.

Alright, some downsides. There's a good amount of text talking about the story and art, but the lengthy passages are not easy to read because of the small font size. My other complaint is the paper feels thinner and softer than the first book. If they make the paper any thinner, it would be magazine paper. Note that there are two publishers for this book, Newmarket Press and Titan Books. My edition is Newmarket Press. I read another reviewer comment about the paper stock from Titan Books being thin as well. So these are my two quibbles.

Overall, it feels like they've packed more artworks than the earlier book. Despite the minor downsides, I would still highly recommend this book, as well as the first artbook.

4.5 out of 5 stars.

(See more pictures of the book on my blog. Just visit my Amazon profile for the link.)
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on June 19, 2014
Format: Hardcover
I collect art books for animated movies and video games I enjoy. This one is by far my favorite. The way they arranged this book is perfect and makes complete sense. Having the concepts and renders is a nice change since most books i get have one or the other. They also include nice paragraphs about the choices they made and problems they faced with building berk, the dragons, and characters. It's simply amazing. That, and it's just beautiful art.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Format: Hardcover
NOTE: I received a free copy of this art book in exchange for an honest review.

This is perhaps one of the most beautiful and detailed art books I've ever seen. The time and effort put forth in the art, the placement of the images, and the text is breathtaking. Even the cover and how it physically feels in association with the image was taken into consideration. I could go on and on about every aspect of this book, and do so in my blog about the art book (inrugia . blogspot . com), but I'll make this short, as it is a review, and not a multi-part blog.

After opening the book, I noticed something that almost brought me tears. Now, keep in mind I received this lovely gift after seeing the movie, so I think the impact the first image had on me was resonant of the film more than anything. Stoick was sitting on Skullcrusher in a rather stylized Viking-esque image, arms in the air, and Skullcrusher is grinning. It's less of a nod in Stoick's honor, and more a giant bow to his character, and to his fans. I was so overwhelmed by this gesture by the layout designer at Harper, that I instantly showed my boyfriend, who, like me, was still broken up over Stoick's death. He, too, was moved, and I feel that Harper's choice of placing this "tapestry" of Stoick doing something he loved--riding his beloved dragon and friend--couldn't have been better positioned. Thank you, whoever you are, because I think fans of the film and Stoick will greatly appreciate it.

Other choices like this make the book one of the best in my collection of art books. If I had the choice to purchase an art book, I would have bought this, hands down. It's something every artist should have in his or her collection, because it not only displays the art, it explains choices made by the film team. This goes so much deeper than just a collection of pretty pictures; it relays the artistic process to readers and lovers of the film.

Five stars!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on May 21, 2014
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
Another Great addition to anyones "ART OF..." Collection. Character designs are excellent, but the background art is Amazing!!! Buy this.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on May 20, 2014
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
A lot of cool sketches and photos...This book explained stuff to me and I'm thankful :)

Also it contains interviews with amazing crew
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on September 2, 2014
Format: Hardcover
Brought to you by OBS Reviewer Daniele

The Art of How to Train Your Dragon 2 is a fine example of an art book. At one hundred sixty pages, it is not too small to display on your coffee table or on your bookshelves. It is bursting with full color movie stills, sketches, paintings, models, photographs, and story boards. It gives fans of the movie franchise a behind the scenes look at what went into making the film. More than 500 people had a hand in this endeavor, and snippets and explanations in their own words are peppered throughout the book…from production members, actors, and the director to name but a few. It is evident that this was an intensive, time consuming labor of love for all involved, and their passion comes through. There are also quotes from the characters, one of my favorite being:

“Five Things You Should Know About Dragons compiled by Hiccup
1.Once you’ve earned his loyalty, there is nothing a dragon won’t do for you.

2. Dragons are not the enemy. They are kind, amazing creatures that can bring people together.

3.A happy dragon is an exfoliated dragon.

4. Good dragons under the control of bad people do bad things.

5. Never take a toy away from a dragon.” P. 111

One of the most interesting sections explained how the designers chose to age the characters five years from movie one to two. This is relatively unheard of in the world of animated story telling.

The Art of How to Train Your Dragon 2 is a wonderful companion to the movie, and I wholeheartedly recommend it to fans of the movie franchise, those interested in animation, and dragon lovers everywhere.

*OBS would like to thank the publisher for supplying a free copy of this title in exchange for an honest review*
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on June 23, 2014
Format: Hardcover
A review copy was provided for an honest review. The Art of How to Train Your Dragon 2 is the perfect coffee table or fan piece. This book is composed of many high-res photos, illustrations, paintings, sketches, and storyboard drawings that are in beautiful full color. It shares a nice supply of visuals and quotes from the movie and gives you an inside look into the making of it with step-by-step character animation breakdowns, and notes from the filmmakers. Included in the opening pages is a foreword by actor, Gerard Butler--the voice of Stoick--who delivers an exciting introduction about his experience working on the first and second features.

This is a really great collectible for anyone interested in the behind-the-scenes process and animation of the film. It shares the creative teams experiences and ideas that helped give form to the characters and scenes we all love. It takes you into the landscapes, and the Nordic cultures that influenced the setting of How to Train Your Dragon 2. It also combines fascinating accounts from the DreamWorks crew, analyzes different designs and explains how the creators tackled the challenge of aging each character up. My only disappointment with this product is that the text is tiny and often made somewhat difficult to read due to the contrasting background colors.

The Art of How to Train Your Dragon 2 displays the stages each idea had to go through in order to become what viewers see onscreen. It takes a closer look at each of the Viking's designs, the cool dragons themselves, and other concept art. Throughout you'll find informative and entertaining notes from Hiccup and Toothless. It inspects all components of the animation, and opens up the world to readers to show objects, and the characters in much greater detail. Overall this book is a work of art on its own with stunning images, neat facts, and exclusive extras that all fans of the films will want check out!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on August 21, 2014
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
Another feast for the eyes of art works of all types. This book makes you appreciate the depth of talent and creativity that an animator must possess. They are the Leonardo da Vincis of modern times. Gorgeous book, well worth having. Cheers :-)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on June 12, 2014
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
buying and seeing 600 pictures worth of art is incredible this book has got an amazing details. it's super awesome
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on May 20, 2014
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
If you lov the first how to train a dragon 1 your love the 2 art book.....can,t wait till the movie........
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