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This review is from: The Art of How to Train Your Dragon 2 (Hardcover)
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.)