The Art of Big Hero 6 is probably one of the most anticipated art books of the year. It’s no surprise considering the film Big Hero 6 is probably the most anticipated animated film of the year. With so much hype, will the book live up? Will it be as good as other recent Disney art books such as The Art of Frozen? You bet!
Since Big Hero 6 is based on a little known comic book series of the same name, the art book is set up to reflect that: it feels like a comic book, filled with lots of graphics and text boxes. The text boxes are really what makes this book stand out from other art books. They are not only used for explanatory paragraphs, but are also widely used to include quotes from the filmmakers and artists. This was a great way to get a lot of firsthand behind-the-scenes knowledge without having to rephrase it into the book’s narrative.
The book, for the most part is spoiler free. I actually hadn’t seen the movie and I still don’t have any idea where the film is going to go or end. The book more focuses on the design, characters and location, opposed to the plot. Yes, there are quite a few new characters and locations that aren’t mentioned in the trailers, but didn’t go too deep into those.
The Art of Big Hero 6 is broken down into three main sections: the world, characters and cinematography. Since the film is set in an entirely new and fictional world–the East meets West city of San Fransokyo–there is lot of ground to cover in the first section. We get to see photos from research trips, architecture studies and a lot of really cool concept art.
The second chapter focuses on the characters. One thing I noticed is that there are a lot of characters in this film, not only are there the main Big Hero 6 gang, but also relatives, teachers, baddies and more. While the pages are filled with sketches and paintings of the final character designs, there actually isn’t that many rejected designs. Yes, there are a few here and there (for example, Hiro was a chubby, uber nerdy kid at one point), there aren’t enough to give you a deeper understanding of the characters’ design evolution. The most we see in terms of that is Honey Lemon, who has a an entire page devoted to her wacky and over-the-top design iterations, from a blonde Boo Peep to sassy brunette.
The final (and very short) chapter delves into the cinematography and the technical advances the crew at Walt Disney Animation Studios achieved in creating the film’s final look. Big Hero 6 was actually the first film to use Disney’s new light rendering system, the Hyperion Renderer, which is used to create more naturalistic cinematography. One key feature of this software is that it can better mimic light reflecting off surfaces such as wood, metal and glass. As a result, the final film feel real and believable.
The Art of Big Hero 6 stands out from other art books in a great way. I applaud that it didn’t go too deep into the plot and spoilers, but instead focused on the creation of the look and feel of the world and characters. As someone who is most fascinated by characters and humans, I was very satisfied reading this book because nearly half of the book is devoted to them. As a Disney fan, this is yet another must own for your collection.
The Art of Big Hero 6: Amazon | Book Depository