Art books! Every animation fan (or addict) loves art books. But why do we love them? They give us a deeper insight into the process of making an animated film, from start to finish over the course of the three to four years in a film’s development history. Also, people love looking at all the great concept art for their favorite animated films, so there’s that.
But even then, art books alone are not enough to sustain the massive volume of artwork and other materials generated for any number of animation projects. Furthermore, it can be tough to find additional artwork materials for various indie projects that don’t have published art books on the market. That’s where a new Danish-based company comes in, with a promising new way of viewing concept art and more from your favorite animated indie films!
Craft is a new, subscription-based service that has recently launched this month with the goal of giving its subscribers full-on access to conceptual materials from animated movies, TV shows, and video games that you normally wouldn’t get anywhere else, let alone art books. This not only includes never-before-seen concept art, but items (or crafts, as they’re called) such as storyboards, background paintings, character designs, scripts, animatics, pencil tests, and more.
If you’re a fan of hand-drawn animated films and TV shows, then this should be a sweet deal as the content currently available (from the initial launch) includes films like The Secret of Kells, Song of the Sea, TV shows like Earnest and Celestine: The Collection, crowdfunded projects like the online fantasy series The Reward: Tales from Alethrion, and in-development projects like Spirit Seeker. More content from these studios and other creators will be announced at a later date.
“We know how long it takes to get an idea from script to screen—think of all of the amazing and inspiring work that goes into the making of a film that never makes it into the final product,” Craft CEO and co-founder Frederik Villumsen told Cartoon Brew. “It’s all part of the process, but why should that material sit on a shelf or languish on a hard drive somewhere?”
Beyond just giving you more pretty art to look at, Craft is also designed to be the ultimate education tool for beginning artists and animators who want to learn from the best. If you want to learn the ins and outs of animation production, ‘crafts’ are essentially deep-cut source files that allow you to compare and deconstruct scenes, as well as provide you with reference for your own projects if needed.
Moreover, Craft encourages you to participate in a community that’s completely centered around creating animation, and there are three ways in which they do this.
First, Enhanced Materials are added features that allow you to gain a deeper understanding of the overall process. These materials include annotations (creators’ notes on various art pieces), comments, and video tutorials.
Next, they have a feature called ‘The Cave’, where subscribers can dive in for an all-you-can-eat approach to seeing all of the materials at once. This is a feature that’s only available to subscribers.
Lastly, they have a online shop. Accessible to both subscribers and non-subscribers, the shop is the best way to purchase prints and source files in a physical format. All the source files are available in Photoshop and the prints can be brought in both framed and unframed formats. 3D-printed figurines will soon be made available, with the first figure based on the character Aisling from The Secret of Kells.
So whether you are an animation fan or you are aspiring to get into animation yourself, Craft is a fantastic resource that fulfills the needs of both. It works well as both a convenient go-to destination for artwork that one would normally spend hours searching the web for, and it’s great as an all-purpose learning tool for animators who want to break in.
The basic membership right now is $9.99 and the annual membership (complete with shop discounts) is $7.99, but since Craft is still in beta mode, the service is offering an early bird subscription plan where the first 1,000 subscribers will only have to pay $6 a month for the service (and everything is included). Group discounts are available for schools and organizations. I should also mention that 50% of Craft’s revenue is redistributed among the studios who provide materials for the service, so you’re not just subscribing to get all of this cool stuff, but you are also supporting the creators as well.
What do you think? Are you interested in using Craft?
Edited by: Kelly Conley