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Monday, June 29, 2009

The Art of Up Book Review

Released May 15th, 2009

Page count: 160 pages

Size: 11 x 9

The Art of Up Short Films

(Text) By Tim Hauser

Foreword By Pete Docter

Research Associate Adam Abraham

Published By Chronicle Books, May 2009

Distributed by Raincoast Books in Canada




The Art of Up Review By John C.

With every Pixar film, there is an "art-of" book to accompany it. This year's Up was no exception. The Art of Up, the newest publication from Raincoast Books, is perfect in every way right down to the "My Adventure Book" hidden under the dust jacket. With glorious pieces of art, from artists like Ronnie Del Carmen and Bob Peterson, and from such people as director Pete Docter and even his daughter, Elie Docter. Pete Docter also writes the foreword to the book.

The book helps us further appreciate the art behind the masterpiece that is Pixar's Up. I recommend adding this book to any collection of stuff relating to the studio.


The Art of Up Book Review By Erin V.

The Art of Up is a beautiful collection of skillfully crafted artwork from Pixar’s newest masterpiece, Up, compiled together by animation writer Tim Hauser.

With these ‘Art of’ books, too much text, or an unorganized fashion, can cause them to be overwhelming, and unreadable. What I found I loved about The Art of Up is the ‘Simplexity’ with which this particular book is organized. Simplexity is a word coined by production artists on Up. As explained by production designer Ricky Nierva in chapter one, (appropriately called ‘Seeking Simplexity’), this new word means “the art of simplifying (an image) down to its essence, where the complexity that you layer on top of it - in texture, design, or detail - is masked by how simple the form is.” Simply put, ‘Simplexity’ is selective detail.

And the selection here is exquisite. In this collection, there is a fair amount of art from more well known Pixar names, such as Ricky Nierva, Lou Romano, and Ronnie Del Carmen, to names of artists that will possibly be more well known in the future, such as Elie Docter, (daughter of director Pete Docter). Elie voices Ellie in the film, as well as provided the artwork for her ‘My adventure book’ used as a central set piece to the story.

The challenges in Up were great, seeking such simplexity as to create a character only 3 heads high (as Carl is), yet still make him believable. The success of this is amazing, and this is due to the artists in the developing process. It is an honour to see these developing fazes.

The time put into making a film of this caliber is completely deserving of a book devoted to it. Tim Hauser’s work here does it justice. On page 18, we learn that in this movie, so simplex, Carl is based on a square, Ellie a circle, Russell a balloon shape, Dug an upside down balloon shape, and Kevin a triangle with lines. You see, the secret to simplexity is in simple forms representing the character. And with these simple, basic forms, come the characters of one of the most emotional films of the year. Congratulations to all of the filmmakers involved, I am sure that the Annie awards this year will have many of the names found in this book, on the nomination and winners list. The Art of Up is one book that you will definitely want to own.


To find out more about The Art of Up, visit Raincoast's website here. You can read our reviews of the film here.

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