Listen up, Pixar fans. Your favorite creative studio is kicking off a new series of picture books, all written and illustrated by the studio’s incredibly talented artists. Introducing: the Pixar Animation Studios Artist Showcase series!
Just think: a series of children’s books that are actually personal projects of Pixar Animation Studios artists. How cool is that?
The series made its debut with an adorable picture book entitled Over There, written and illustrated by Pixar production designer Steve Pilcher. Thanks to our friends at Disney Publishing Worldwide, I was able to review this 40-page gem for your consideration.
Over There tells the cute little tale of a cute little forest shrew named Shredder (not joking) who has a cute little adventure with some cute little surprises along the way. Pilcher’s artwork is brilliant, as can be expected. Even though the book was written for children, seeing a personal art project by a Pixar artist is a valuable lesson in how light and composition can be used to convey a mood or a feeling. His writing and design style are also very Pixar.
Which brings me to this interesting note. The press release that came with my review copy said that the purpose of the Artist Showcase books is to “showcase the personal work of one of these talented artists and introduce a brand-new world and characters”. Say what? “Brand-new world and characters”? Is this Pixar’s sneaky way of introducing new material into its canon? Or is Pixar simply claiming ownership because it’s “their” book series?
Whatever’s really going on here, I’m thoroughly interested in these picture books and I’m anxious to see what Pixar will release next from its Artist Showcase series.
About Steve Pilcher
Steve Pilcher joined Pixar Animation Studios in July 2005 as a production designer. Pilcher worked briefly on the Academy Aware winning film WALL-E, before moving full-time onto Disney-Pixar’s Academy Aware winning film Brave.
Born in Brockville, Ontario, Canada, Pilcher is a self-taught artist who began his career with a solo art exhibition of his work in 1974 at the age of 19. In 1978, Pilcher illustrated his first children’s picture book called, Norbert Nipkin, which has become a Canadian classic for kids. Pilcher continued to work in Toronto, Canada as a commercial illustrator, creating a wide variety of artwork for children’s books, editorial, advertising, packaging and film animation clients. He was eventually invited to join Warner Bros. Feature Animation as an Art stylist.
Pilcher was nominated for an Annie Award for his production design work on the Warner Bros. animated film Osmosis Jones. He also contributed his illustration talents to the one-sheet poster for Brad Bird’s The Iron Giant. Pilcher worked as an art director at DreamWorks Animation on Shrek 2, and briefly freelanced at Disney Feature Animation, before coming to Pixar. Pilcher currently lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with his wife and two children.
Over There: Amazon