The Art of Blue Sky Studios is a wonderful celebration of Blue Sky Studios, the Connecticut-based animation studio that has brought us films like Ice Age, Horton Hears a Who!, Rio and Epic. This book is much different than most art-of books, which is a good thing. It’s one of the best I’ve read in a long time.
At 304 pages, this book is huge! It’s nearly double your typical art-of book, but that’s because we’re not just covering one film, we’re covering a studio’s entire library of films. With such a catalogue to delve into, it would be easy to gloss over some of the studio’s less popular films, but that is not the case here. Every film is equally important in the eyes of this book and each film gets about 30-40 paged devoted to it.
Since this is a book about the art of the studio, rather than a particular film, the text focuses more on the history and developments of the studio through the years. So if an advancement occurred during the making of Rio, it is talked about. Insights about each individual film are definitely included as well, but it all ties back to Blue Sky Studios’ history and evolution.
The book moves chronologically in the order that its films were released. So after a few introductory pages about the studio’s inception and commercial work, we move into exploring each one of its feature films, starting with Ice Age. This is the obvious choice to lay out the book and allowed for each film to build upon each other and for the reader to see the natural progression of the studio from then and to today.
The book features a variety of art from concept sketches, color keys, storyboards, background paintings and more. It’s also interesting that, for the most part, the art seems to have similar “Blue-Sky style”, which helped make the book feel more cohesive.
It also has an appropriate about of text by the author Jake S. Friedman, which enlightens and enhances the visual experience provided by the art. While informative about the behind-the-scenes thinking about the characters and story, there isn’t much regarding the nitty-gritty technical details of animation filmmaking. Scattered throughout the book are a few two-pages sections that detail phases of the movie-making process such as the animation department, music, lighting and more.
This was an absolutely lovely book that I couldn’t put down. I loved diving into the rich history of Blue Sky Studios and learning about this incredible studio that is sometimes forgotten when compared to the other “Big 4” mainstream animation studios.
For any animation fan, this book is a must own. Due to its enormous size, it’s a little more expensive that your traditional art-of book, but its worth every penny.