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4.8 out of 5 stars
The Art of How to Train Your Dragon (How to Train Your Dragon Film)
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
I can't believe my eyes when I saw this books on the shelf at a local bookshop, two months earlier than its scheduled release date.

Flipped a few pages, and saw the unique style of Nicolas Marlet, flipped back to the cover and found that Tracy Miller-Zarneke is the author and the movie's from Dreamworks. Those three names instantly reminded me of quality art book The Art of Kung Fu Panda. I'm glad to say that this book is as good and fun. By the way, Chris Sanders and Dean DeBlois are the famed directors here.

Inside the book are more than 350 development artwork, including early character designs, story sketches, and concept paintings. The books is divided into three parts, the dragons, vikings and the environment with stuff like props and houses. Discarded art and characters are also included, like Hiccup's mother - who can cook a mean dish with dragon meat. Accompanying the art are plenty of interesting quotes and commentary from the production staff.

Nicolas Marlet and Simon Otto seem to be the lead character designers responsible for the concept art of the dragons and vikings, although a good amount of designs are actually from Nicolas Marlet. There's a wide range of wackiness and creativity to the drawings. The character digital paintings are great and the colours are really beautiful, kudos to Zhaoping Wei.

The environment paintings from Pierre-Olivier Vincent, art director, are beautiful. This guy really knows how to draw scenic yet precarious backgrounds like sloping hilltops, snow-capped sea arches and Dragon island which is like an ice-cream cone with molten lava as topping. Not only that, his tranquil pieces are also spectacular, National Geographic-spectacular. He has created places you want to visit but probably not because one wrong step and you'll roll down the hill.

There are even a few illustrations from Dominique Louis, who did some pastel concept art for Pixar. His using digital pastels now and there's no difference from his traditional work, I'm glad to say. The fun and stylised houses, statues, weapons, boats and other props are from Kirsten Kawamura and Mel Zwyer.

It's a fantastic book showing the creative prowess of amazing artists. Highly recommended.

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By the way, if you missed the "About the Author" section above, I have to mention it here again because Tracey Miller-Zarneke has authored some really great art books that you should check out.
The Art of Kung Fu Panda
The Art of Meet the Robinsons
The Art and Making of Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs

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(There are more pictures of the book on my blog. Just visit my Amazon profile for the link.)
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
A great book! Beautiful artwork, and in depth examples, it's a fantastic companion to the film. For anyone interested in the art of this magnificent film, I'd say this is the book to buy!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 15 March 2011
Having brought 'The Art of Kung Fu Panda' (a thick, densely packed book) I was a bit disappointed at the thickness and content of this one... which is about half the size. Although the content is undoubtably fantastic and well-presented, there's just not enough for the huge price tag, in comparison to similar books.
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on 13 March 2012
This is a great purchase for anyone who loves art, film and animation and any fan of the wonderful Dreamworks film 'How To Train Your Dragon' will adore it. The book is a lot slimmer than I had expected when compared to other art books but it is full of superb illustrations and wonderful concept pieces. The selection is diverse, colourful and displays the entire illustration process from the simplistic concept designs to the fantastic finished film animation. The book is divided into the following sections:
Preface by Cressida Cowell (writer of the popular book series).
Foreword by Craig Ferguson.
Dragons: This section features stunning artwork for each individual dragon from Toothless to the formidable Red Death. There's also an interesting selection of dragon concepts that did not feature in the film. Personally I hoped there would be more concept art for each individual dragon but there is still a good selection.
Vikings: Illustrations of each of the Viking characters ranging from Hiccup to the general Viking population of Berk.
The Dragon World: Artwork of Dragon Island & the Dragon Cave.
The Viking World: This section focuses on the locations from the film including the Isle of Berk, the Viking village and Viking iconography.
Bringing The Two Worlds Together: Story, Animation, Effects, Lighting, Layout, Cinematography & 3D, Editorial.
Closing Thoughts: Two Worlds, One Film.
Acknowledgements & Crew Photos.
My only complaint regarding this book is that it is very difficult to get hold of despite being published quite recently. If you are a fan of How To Train Your Dragon then I suggest you snap up a copy of this lovely book when you can.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 17 October 2014
I bought this book for my dragon loving daughter for her 8th birthday. It is still her favorite book 18 months later. Ideal for children who are interested in Art. She is very proud of this book and eager to show it and discuss it with anyone who will listen. The illustrations show the development of the dragons and the thinking behind the animations, very detailed and very interesting. Highly recommended.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 17 November 2010
Colorful, a nice artistic insight into the world of the film (art based) not essentially production based.
Its a great extract for influence and inspiration for any aspiring artist wishing to portray that specific style, the book came in good condition.

Negatives... if anything it would be a tad bit expensive.
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on 23 January 2012
An amazing book, especially for fans of the film. Contains some truly stunning concept art and explains the thought processes behind each character, including several who never made it into the film (namely, Hiccup's mother). It has a lot of detail in it compared to some other "art of" books, and I particularly enjoyed the bits where they elaborated on Hiccup and Toothless' relationship. It's not an incredibly long book, but it is certainly worth getting if you enjoy animation, or the just love the film.

That being said, I picked mine up for £16. I would never dream of spending the £100+ some sellers are charging. At that price it's only really worth it to serious collectors. Honestly, you can probably pick up a better deal elsewhere.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 16 June 2014
My eldest loves the series and so was mega happy to receive. Really interesting and well presented. She's used the book to help her with drawing the figures. Ideally she would like the real thing!!
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on 16 December 2014
I am extremely pleased with this book. My only gripes with it is that it is a little thin and (me being really into character design) would have wished to have seen some more character designs and experimental sketches of faces and expressions. However, the art book is still of extremely high quality. I guess the reason why there aren't many sketches is because they less than a year to make the film. Great book, just wish there was more of it and more character art.
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on 30 May 2012
I brought this book as after watching the film, I wanted to understand how they achieved certain effects. The book is well set out, the illustrations are beautiful and lets you see the artistic detail on the dragons. The book also shows you various sketches and how certain ideas were developed. A must for any fan of the film as well as those who like me like to know how things were done!
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