The Princess and the Frog, released back in 2009, was the first hand-drawn animated Disney film in a long while. I really loved the film so I decided to buy the art book earlier this year. I didn’t knew what to expect because almost everything in this movie is perfect for an art book: backgrounds, concept art, even the rough animation! It’s all art! So did Disney use its space wisely to make a perfect mix of “The Art of The Princess and The Frog”? Or does this book include only the basics like concept art and storyboards?
Normally, I don’t talk too much about the preface and foreword in my art book reviews, but this time I had to. The preface is written by John Lasseter and I agreed with and I loved reading every sentence he wrote in this preface. John mainly talks about how badly he wanted 2D animation to return to Disney, so let me quote my favorite part in this Preface:
If we were going to continue the hand-drawn tradition and do it right, I knew we needed Ron Clements and John Musker back at the studio. Ron and John are Disney Animation and they have made some of the finest Disney films of the new generation, particularly The Little Mermaid and Aladdin.
It’s true. John and Ron are amazing and I can’t imagine how this movie would’ve end up without them. The foreword is written by Ron and John, but I won’t spoil anything about it, so you’ll just have to buy the book to read it your own.
All the art in this book is just stunning and detailed. This book has a great mix of hand-drawn and digital art, not to mention most digital art has a hand-drawn vibe. Every artist has a different style and I loved seeing all these different styles that come together to become one cohesive film. Most artists in this book are the best of the best in the animation industry such as Mark Henn, Andreas Deja, Lorelay Bove and Bill Schwab and a lot more artists you will definitely recognize.
In some art books, 80% of the book is character designs and a about 20% of the book focuses on other things like locations or different scenes. This book is a perfect mix of all these things, the book is divided in three parts; in each part you’ll see different things like characters, locations, storyboards and also a lot of random props that were shown in the movie like Tiana’s restaurant flyer and the Mardi Gras parade vehicles.
A great addition to this book are some of the pages that teach more about the 2D-animation process, such as color and light, background artists, effects animation and environment influences. These were the main things that I really wanted this book to contain and it did! I loved reading about the making of, for example, backgrounds; Disney even included the different phases in making a background.
“The Art of The Princess and The Frog” is a really fantastic art book. It shows a lot of art from different development and scene phases of the film. From the main characters to insignificant props that you wouldn’t even pay attention to in the film. The art in this book is stunning and its everything I expect (and more) from a book like this. The book is filled with concept art, backgrounds, the process and not to forget the informative text that I really loved to read.
I think every Disney or The Princess and the Frog fan should have this book in their collection. You will enjoy every page in this book because of the beautiful and color art from both recognizable and less known Disney artists. The film is one of the last masterpieces of the 2D art form and this book is a showcase of that.
Max is an animation addict from The Netherlands. His favorite animated movies are Beauty and the Beast and Ratatouille, and he is a big fan of everything Disney, Pixar or DreamWorks related. He loves reading and collecting art books and one day he hopes to work for a major animation studio. Follow his art blog: http://maxdenhartog.tumblr.com