We’re back with some of my personal favorite things in the world: art books! We’re excited to bring you guys once again the latest art book reviews in 2015 and we’re going to start off this year with the art book for DreamWorks’ upcoming comedy adventure Home titled The Art of Home.
The book starts off with a foreword by Jim Parsons, the voice of Oh in the film, and a preface by Tim Johnson, the director of Home. In his foreword, Jim Parsons talks about his fascination with animated films, voice-acting in animated films, and the process of making Home. I enjoyed reading this foreword, but really it was just your generic foreword and nothing too special. However, the preface by Tim Johnson was fantastic. Instead of writing a little generic piece about how fantastic it was to direct this film, he wrote a poem instead. I love the fact that he took the time to write a poem about his experience, which, in turn, actually made me excited to read his preface. This poem really set the tone for The Art of Home and left me eager to continue reading and exploring the book.
After the foreword and preface we jump right into the first main chapter of the book. The book is divided in three main chapters, one for each species of character in the movie. There is a chapter for the Boov, the humans, and the Gorg. Each chapter focuses on the characters and locations that belong to that particular species. Each of the species is based off a main shape (similar to the characters and worlds in Rise of the Guardians). The Boov have circles as their main shapes, the humans have squares and the Gorg have triangles. As a result, each character and every location belonging to those particular species are based off of those main shapes.
The very first chapter in the book, the Boov chapter, was rather disappointing. If you’ve seen some of the trailers for Home or the animated short Almost Home, you probably already know that the Boov are an alien race that comes to earth. Most of the art for the Boov chapter are finalized sketches and designs of the Boov. This is rather disappointing considering that they’re aliens and at some point there must have been a ton of different variations for the designs of these creatures. Even though the character pages were rather disappointing, I did enjoy all of the designs for the Boov ships and Boov graphics. Another great addition to this section of the book was Alientology 101, where you can learn some fun facts about the Boov.
The second main chapter in the book, “The Humans and Their World”, was a more interesting chapter than the Boov chapter. While most of the character designs were (once again) final designs, I really enjoyed the world building and fun designs for Earth. The attention to detail was fantastic and I really enjoyed seeing cities and countries like Paris, China, and Australia transformed by the Boov.
The final main chapter in the book is dedicated to the film’s main antagonists, The Gorg. We haven’t heard much about the Gorg from DreamWorks itself, but they are a pretty big part of Home. The Gorg chapter was rather small compared to the Boov and Human chapters. The paintings were breathtaking and really cool, but it was really disappointing that we don’t get to see how these creatures initially looked before the team settled on their final design.
After the Gorg chapter, there are a few pages dedicated to the Home short, Almost Home. I really appreciated that we got to see this and the art on these pages is some of my favorite art in the entire book. I love all the fun alien and creature designs and the wonderful worlds that we got to see in the short. I actually hope some of this will be in the final film because they were some of the most fun designs in the entire book.
Overall I enjoyed The Art of Home. The art in the book is beautiful, but DreamWorks definitely missed a great opportunity to make this book fantastic by only using finalized designs with barely any early sketches or early designs. Not having a “Making a Sequence” chapter was also rather disappointing, because almost every DreamWorks art book has that section and they’re usually some of the most interesting chapters in DreamWorks art books. By missing out on little things like this The Art of Home is an enjoyable art book that fans of the film won’t want to miss, but it is definitely not something every animation fan should own. If you like Home after you’ve seen it in theaters next month and you’d like to know more about how the film came together, I’d recommend you to buy this book. Otherwise, save your money for some upcoming art books that look far more promising.
Special thanks to Insight Editions (USA) and Titan Books (Europe) who provided review copies of The Art of Home. All pictures in this article are reprinted from The Art of Home by Ramin Zahed published by Insight Editions and Titan Books. © 2015 DreamWorks Animation L.L.C.
Edited by: Hannah Wilkes