on 22 April 2014
For anyone that can't bring themselves to read the lengthy reviews of others I supply this condensed version: Quite simply an amazing artbook, perfect for Lord of the Rings fans and lovers of fantasy artwork, and very, VERY much worth the price. For those who'd like to read more, read on...
Anyone who has already bought a Lord of the Rings/Hobbit artbook will already know both the quality and style of this book. While I maintain that I would have preferred the books to be portrait format rather than landscape, so as to better fit in with my other books, I must admit that the Hobbit artbooks do look very nice.
As to the interior I was more than pleased when I first flicked through the pages. As ever there are the stunning location designs; moody forests, soaring mountains and towns and villages that frankly make you want to pack your things and move there this afternoon. Gus Hunter's image of the Ancient Dale is easily worthy of gracing anyone's living room wall, right next to Eduardo Pena's picture of the same. What I'm saying is that there isn't just rough design work, as you'd expect from concept art books, but gallery-quality art too.
The Orcs get a nice section to themselves this time around as there are three characters in particular that play a major part in the film. Once more the designs show a lot of thought and consideration behind why the Orcs would dress the way they do or have what they have. At the heart of it I would say it's this fact which gives the work from Weta's art department so much life and realism. Things have a reason for being there, not just because they look cool, but because there's a history and a story to everything. If a creature is shown wearing a fur hide then someone, somewhere, has thought about where it came from and how the wearer came to possess it.
There is also a decent chunk of the book dedicated to Beorn; his home, his lands and, of course, the man himself. This is where we find a lot of the John Howe and Alan Lee sketch work and I'm not sure I've ever wanted a timber framed house more than I do when I look at it. They should go into business with Ikea to make a range of Middle Earth flatpack wooden houses. As ever it's not just the big picture that warrants attention but, again, it's all the little details. Things that you might not even notice when watching the film, such as the chair backs, a hand-carved chess board, archways and mantelpiece ornamentation, which the artists focus upon to make the world a living, breathing place.
But by far my favourite section of this book is the Mirkwood Elves. Forget what you know about glamorous High Elves with fine clothes and ornate buildings. What we see here is considerably moodier, darker and more menacing, yet still with the signature Elven grace and elegance. A fine balancing act for the artists to accomplish. While there is much in Middle Earth that I wish I could see with my own eyes, Mirkwood is not one of them. The images found here will leave you in no doubt that it is a hostile place and even if there weren't elves to contend with then you'd still do well to heed Gandalf's advice and 'stick to the path'.
Mixed in with all of this is the usual cornucopia of costume designs, interior and exterior building sketches, the always reassuring pencil work of Alan Lee and John Howe (which some might say is worth the price of the book alone), superbly realised tools, weapons and other sundry items and, if that weren't enough for you, there's even some work involving a dragon.
In truth there's too much amazing artwork here to talk about it all and still do it justice. Suffice to say that it is all a treat for the eyes and imagination. The work doesn't so much show you the world of Middle Earth as invite you to the table with it. This book is a must-have for any Lord of the Rings fans and lovers of fantasy artwork. Buy it and be happy.
on 19 December 2013
"The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug Chronicles: Art & Design" by Weta Workshop is a behind-the-scenes book about the making of the awaited second part of Peter Jackson's movie trilogy.
As is the case with most behind-the-scenes book its reading is recommended after watching the movie because of the numerous spoilers.
The movie fans will be pleased, because besides this book being delivered in nicely bound, it brings well-made and detailed artwork in so much depth that will certainly have appeal to all those in love with Jackson's latest movie.
On its more than 200 pages, reader can find conceptual design and the manufacturing of weapons and armors, vehicles, costumes, small and miniature models, prosthetics, makeup and other that makes this movie so much superior to all previously seen.
"The Hobbit: Art & Design" provides good sneak peek chance to experience the designing phase of movie production, giving wealth of information about characters, weapons and costumes art creation.
Therefore, this behind-the-scenes book of art will be a nice addition for those who enjoyed the movie, and as beautifully designed product full of information will certainly serve that time until the next sequel will be released go faster...
on 27 April 2014
I have only recently become a fan of Peter Jackson's LOTR movies and tried to purchase all the movie books that covered the making of these magnificient films. I have now a collection of all the Movie Guides and Visual Companions, but these Hobbit CHRONICLES are far-far better than any of the other books in design, content, and artistic value! They are amazingly well illustrated with original pieces of art, and hundreds of illustrations telling us the story how characters and places were designed. It's amazing, how much effort was put into these books. It's not just some cutscenes from the films, but rather tons of original art. I have bought the other 2 Hobbit Chronicle books which are equally amazing. This one has "The Master's portrait" a prop-replica as an extra with it. It far exceeded my expectations in content. It's an absolute MUST for any fan of Peter Jackson's Hobbit. Published by the WETA Workshop, it's absolutely outstanding, like everything they did related to these films.
on 21 February 2014
As a big fan of Tolkien and being the proud owner of the LOTR art books I know that these art books are well worth getting. The level of detail is amazing, every page is beautiful art with fascinating snippets of information on the conception of the subject. It really makes you think about the artists, set designers, costume designers etc that made these movies so brilliant for us with their hard work & passion not to mention their complete dedication to their craft.
If you like the films and you're interested in the art, get the books and don't hesitate. You will not be disappointed.
I have not been able to put my copy down, it quickly became my preciousss.
on 7 February 2014
This and it's companion books are superb. Well produced and filled with high quality artwork, designs and images. There are also insightful comments from crew and cast. In particular Alan Lee and John Howe. This book is a mine of information and inspiration to anyone whether a Tolkien fan or simply anyone who seeks inspiration for there own creative ends.
There is only one small let down. It is a personal one, but the fold out print inside the back cover of that insufferable 'luvvie' Stephen Fry will, in my copy, remain folded up.
on 14 March 2014
I could stare at this book for hours, incredible art work! I own all three of the Lord of the Rings concept art books, and the first Hobbit book also. I love to see how Tolkien's masterpiece has been realised on screen, from the Alan Lee and John Howe conceptual sketches to the digital representations. A magnificent amount of work went into these films!