What a treat!
Pixar's "Monsters, Inc." was, as far as I'm concerned, the best animated feature released this year. This art book, published by Chronicle (not Disney -- how odd?), is the only "making of" tie-in created for the film and a delightful visual companion to the movie.
This book is a wonderful collection of preliminary inspirational artwork created for the film. Most of the pieces selected contain characters and concepts that bare no relation to the monsters and mayhem in the final product. But by allowing us to see all the hard (but funny) creative work that goes into the visual decision making, the filmmakers shed some light on the secrets of creating classic animation; they add to our knowledge of the development process and garner our respect for the enormous talent at large within Pixar.
Inspirational art is a vital component of every great animated film but average moviegoers never get to see any of it. As John Lasseter and Pete Docter point out in their intro, "Once the film is completed, the inspirational artwork is filed away in the archives, never to be seen by the general public."
What makes this book so enjoyable is the array of talent Pixar assembled for inspiration. The paintings, sketches and layouts, done in pastels, markers, acrylics, gouache, pencils and mixed media presented here, are just plain fun to look at. Many of the artists were given a few details about the settings or the characters, and were then allowed to let their imaginations run free.
The artists themselves are amazing. Some of my favorite pieces are from Lane Smith, J. Otto Siebold and Oscar Grillo. Stealing the show however, are striking works from Geefwee Boedoe, Ricky Nierva, Lou Romano and Dominique Louis.
Though famed for their landmark work with computer graphics, this book reminds me that Pixar is first and foremost a "cartoon studio" the finest in the world, at this point in the 21st Century. Dominique Louis' painting of Sulley's apartment exterio
About the Author
STUDIO: PIXAR ANIMATION STUDIOS Bio: Pixar is an Academy Award-winning computer animation studio with the technical, creative and production capabilities to create a new generation of animated feature films, merchandise and other related products. Pixar's objective is to combine proprietary technology and world-class creative talent to develop computer-animated feature films with memorable characters and heartwarming stories that appeal to audiences of all ages. In partnership with Walt Disney Pictures, Pixar created and produced Toy Story (1995), A Bug's Life (1998), and Toy Story 2 (1999). INTRODUCER: JOHN LASSETER Bio: John Lasseter is a two-time Academy Award-winning director and animator. In addition to serving as head of all of Pixar Animation Studios' creative projects, he directed Toy Story, A Bug's Life, and Toy Story 2. INTRODUCER: PETE DOCTER Bio: Monsters, Inc. director, Pete Docter has been with Pixar since 1990. He was part of the original story team that helped to write and board Toy Story, working on the project for 4-1/2 years and taking on the role of supervising animator.