From the geniuses at Pixar comes a most unusual book. One that’s pretty, to be sure – and also one that’s pretty hard to review.
The Colour of Pixar by Tia Kratter is, apart from a foreword by Pixar’s Chief Creative Officer John Lesseter and an introduction and acknowledgements by the author – completely devoid of text, apart from identifying which films the stills reproduced on the books 350 pages. There’s no history, trivia, technical information or anecdotes. It’s purely and simply an art book. Though, not an art book in the traditional sense – it doesn’t contain any hand drawn concept art – there are no before and after shots, showing how the artists’ concepts translated to screen – it’s simply a book of random stills taken from Pixar’s cinematic output.
Actually, random might not even be the correct word – the stills are not reproduced in order of film, production date or topic. Rather, they are shown in the order of the colours of the rainbow, the dominant colour of the scene shown dictating where it goes in the book. Confused yet?
Well, Lasseter’s opening foreword gives a vital clue as to the book’s objective. We all know how each film in Pixar’s ever-expanding catalogue is a work of art. As painstaking detail is put into every single frame of film, and film rapidly flies past our eyes at an astounding 24 frames per second, this book invites us to stop and actually look at the sheer detail and artistry invested in every one of those frames. The author, Tia Kratter, expands on this by introducing herself as a Shader Art Director at Pixar for 19 years. She explains that colour is the glue that holds the film together every bit as much as the music score. Colour, she maintains can give subtle emotional nuances to the audience, directing them toward the feelings of a scene without a single line of dialogue being used.
The stills themselves are gorgeously reproduced on a high quality, heavy paper stock. The definition is sharp and as such, the subdivision of the images according to hue is an interesting and successful one.
It’s a book to be looked at, savoured and we guess, looked at again – but that again brings a drawback. The book’s peculiar size – roughly that of an average paperback, means that the stills aren’t really being reproduced to their best advantage. It’s basically screaming out to be a coffee table book around twice its current cover size. This is bound to be a drawback for Pixar connoisseurs.
THE COLOUR OF PIXAR / AUTHOR: TIA KRATTER / PUBLISHER: CHRONICLE BOOKS / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW