Last year DreamWorks Animation released Turbo, an animated feature about a snail who dreams big and wants to race in the Indy 500. Personally I’m not a racing fan, but I enjoyed Turbo and I thought the movie was pretty ok. But looking at The Art of Turbo and I had just one question: “How interesting can an art book be if I thought the was wasn’t anything special and I’m not into racing?”
The art in this book is lovely; there’s a great variation of art in this book from color keys that almost look like final renders to early hand drawn sketches of snails. To me, however, I simply wasn’t interested in most of the art. Just like other art books, the main character gets the most pages devoted to it and usually I like that . But in this case…not so much. Turbo is a snail and his character development just wasn’t as interesting as perhaps the humans’ Tito or Kim Ly who only got two or three pages each.
Also something that really disappointed me was that Turbo’s pages featured a flip out page. Usually with flip out pages, you get a full color script or something else really cool and engaging, but in this case you get really boring color keys of what happens inside Turbo’s body when he’s transforming.
DreamWorks featured a lot of different places in the locations section and author Robert Abele did a great job showcasing as many locations as possible while also including a variety of different art styles. It’s a delight to read these pages and was perhaps my favorite part in the book. The great thing about this part of the book is the art is not only big, detailed half- to full-page pieces, but also includes simple sketches of menu boards and sauce bottles that can be found in the taco shop. This way we really get to see more of the movie in detail.
The next chapter focuses entirely on the automotives in the film, whether it be racing snails or cars, since racing was integral to the film. For anyone who is really into cars, this is the chapter for them! Seeing all the development work that went into designing the race cars was really neat and interesting.
Every DreamWorks art book features a “Building the Sequence” chapter, which is a staple that makes DreamWorks books so good. I love learning more about the technology behind animation and this chapter gave the reader a deep inside look at that. It also breaks down all the different phases of animation, which is incredibly informative for any animation enthusiast or student.
Overall I think The Art of Turbo is an amazing art book and another win for DreamWorks. Even those who haven’t seen Turbo will enjoy this book and might even be inspired to go check out this underrated film. This book will be of special interest to fans of the film or car enthusiasts, since it focuses so much on the design and engineering behind these turbo-charged vehicles (or snails). The Art of Turbo featured a winning combination of characters and locations that make this book worth buying.
The Art of Turbo by Robert Abele: Amazon
Special thanks to Titan Books who provided a review copy of the book.