Review: The Art of Epic / Author: Tara Bennett / Publisher: Titan Books / Release Date: May 3rd
The Art of Epic is a lavish coffee table-dwelling creation featuring over 300 beautiful pieces of concept art, incredible character sketches and illustrations and a wealth of storyboards and digital imagery from Blue Sky’s latest, Epic. Like Marvel’s superhero, the Hulk, this book is huge, green and incredible.
Epic is a 3D CG adventure comedy that reveals a previously unseen fantastical world in the leaves and trees of our forests. Brought to life by the creators of Ice Age and Rio, Epic highlights an ongoing battle by tiny eco-warriors struggling to keep the natural world alive against the forces of rot and evil. A teenage girl finds herself magically shrunk and joining the mini-warriors in a quest to save our world.
With a beautifully written foreword from director Chris Wedge, The Art of Epic is an immersive experience and you could easily lose hours like a child in a huge back garden, full of wonder at all the magic of the natural world that the film is so in awe of. Wedge introduces the book as if the world of his film is real and by the final page, you may just be convinced that it is.
Author Tara Bennett has collected the key creative collaborators behind the film and gleaned a wonderful array of quotes from the team. Covering the conception of the story, individual characters and their development from sketch to sculpted model to CG rendering and significant scenes and locations from the film, no leaf is left unturned in bringing the hard work, attention to detail and glorious imagery of Epic to the reader.
These books live or die by their illustrations and The Art of Epic is chock-full of beautiful pictures. The early sketches are often the most interesting with their rough renderings often having far more heart and soul than the final digital images of the characters. With all these wonderful sketches included, it makes you wonder what the film would have looked like before the days of CG technology. It is a treasure trove of imagery that highlights the care and detail that has gone into the design of the film from costumes, character design, and weaponry to the beauty of the background scenery.
The Art of Epic marks a notable step away from the stylised animation of previous Blue Sky studio films. Despite the extremely cartoony appearance of some of the characters, much of the beauty of Epic lies in the costume and weaponry design and cleverly recreated elements of the natural world.
But The Art of Epic does not simply look pretty. Bennett’s prose is also a joy to read; the input from the Blue Sky team being expertly woven into the text and enlightening and inspiring throughout. The Art of Epic is luscious in its level of detail; in short, it’s epic.