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The Art of Finding Nemo Hardcover – April 1, 2003
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Books about animated movies are rarely artistically accomplished enough to astound. Not so Mark Cotta Vaz's coffee-table book THE ART OF FINDING NEMO which happily isn't a by-the-numbers look at how the hit film was made. Instead Vaz focuses on the illuminating concept art that inspired the digital artists at Pixar. And the result is magical. The artists were able to use a draft of the script as their blueprint (rare in animated films), and it paid huge dividends.
In many ways the concept art surpasses the digital art of the movie itself. There's an emotional (not sentimental), articulated depth to the work, particularly in the pastels and the charcoal renderings (by production designer Ralph Eggleston and Simon Varela, respectively) that digital art - for all the technology involved - simply cannot match. So cheer the movie's accomplishments and heart, but let the astonishing art included here flood your mind. - Premiere
About the Author
Mark Cotta Vaz recently completed his 19th book, a biography of Merian C. Cooper, creator of King Kong which is scheduled to be published by Random House in 2005. Vaz's books on movie history include Industrial Light + Magic: Into the Digital Realm, which
John Lasseter is Pixar Animation Studios's executive vice-president of creative and the director of Toy Story, A Bug's Life, and Toy Story 2. He most recently served as the executive producer of Monsters, Inc. and Finding Nemo, and is currently executive producer of The Incredibles.
Andrew Stanton is the writer and director of Finding Nemo. He served as co-director and co-writer on A Bug's Life, led the screenwriting team of Toy Story 2, and helped write and executive produce Monsters, Inc.
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There's not a lot I can say to convince you to buy the book, aside from stressing how beautiful it is. So hopefully the video portion helps. This book is very much worth tracking down, and while I'd suggest waiting until the blu-ray release of Finding Nemo to see if it gets a reprint, if you end up paying the original retail price, you won't feel ripped off. Everything in the movie is covered here in-depth. The dentist's office, the aquarium, the submarine surrounded by active mines, the wall of jellyfish...if you saw it in the movie, it's included here. All of the characters are featured as well, and it was interesting to find out that one of the fish in the aquarium, who has just a few lines of dialogue, was the hardest character to design. There are some nice jokes too, like in a collection of drawings of the angler fish, it shows him looking menacing, but then another sketch shows his light burn out, he changes it, then goes back to being menacing.
I can't say anything bad about this book at all. The presentation is perfect, pictures are just the right size and never pixelated, and the short stories from the crew were all interesting to read. What really won me over, though, were the breathtaking charcoal pictures by Simon Varela. You can tell which ones they are in my video, since I spend a little extra time on them, but my god are they a sight to behold. This guy needs to get signed on for more movies so we can get more work like this in other art books. I can't recommend spending a ton of money on this book, since prices are stupidly high at the moment, but it's such a fantastic art book that it should be in everyone's collection. If you needed a little nudge, I'd consider this one of the top 5 animated art books, joining the likes of The Art of Kung Fu Panda. Yeah, that's right.
Why wouldn't I!!!
Highly recommend as gift for anyone remotely interesting in animation, character design and or Pixar. But be careful, it can become extremely addictive. You'll want to collect them all once you start...
In my opinion, Pixar has already captured the true Disney spirit and quality (i.e., what Walt himself demanded in his products) in the films that it has produced jointly with The Disney Company. It certainly appears, from this fine book and other sources, that "Finding Nemo" will be no exception.
You can purchase this book now and enjoy it, or you can wait for its upcoming Summer, 2003 release. Either way, you won't go wrong!
The thing that sets this title apart from the other "Art of" Pixar books is the quality of the narrative text. All the "Art of" books have wonderful imagery. But, in this book, the text truly immerses the reader into the world of concept art. Conversely, the text in The Incredibles book often goes off on tangents about the director's personal life and events at Pixar. I like how this book keeps the focus on the art.
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