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Book Review

Book Cover

The Art of How to Train Your Dragon (Hardback)


Author: Tracey Miller-Zarneke
Titan Books
RRP: £24.99, US $40.00
ISBN: 978 1 84856 665 1
Available 31 March 2010

Featuring more than 350 pieces of development artwork that includes early character designs. story sketches, and concept paintings never before released by the studio, The Art of How to Train Your Dragon offers a stunning view of DreamWorks Animation's film about an unlikely alliance between a young Viking and a deadly dragon, inspired by the original book by Cressida Cowell...

The Art of How to Train Your Dragon is another one of those glossy, coffee table book affairs that seem to becoming increasingly popular - especially for animated movies. For fans of the film this book certainly won't disappoint as it is absolutely packed to bursting with beautiful imagery and interesting behind-the-scenes information.

How to Train Your Dragon is from the studio that was responsible for Shrek, Madagascar and Kung-Fu Panda. It's an animated adventure comedy set in the mythical world of burly Vikings and wild dragons, based on the book by Cressida Cowell. The story centres around a Viking teenager, who lives on the island of Berk, where fighting dragons is a way of life.

In the film, Dragons and Vikings do not yet coexist (as they do in the book) but merely terrorize and antagonize each other, until Hiccup a scrawny teenaged Viking meets up with the injured dragon Toothless, which eventually leads to a more peaceful Viking/Dragon relationship. The story centres around Hiccup Horrendous Haddock the Third, who lives on the island of Berk in the North Sea. He belongs to the tribe the Hairy Hooligans, Hiccup wants to make his father, the Hooligan's chief, Stoick the Vast, proud of him. Initiation is coming, and this is his one chance to prove his worthiness to his tribe and father. When Hiccup encounters and ultimately befriends an injured dragon, his world is turned upside down.

This book is full of images of concept sketches, preliminary drawings, architectural plans, watercolours, oil paintings and digital artwork and provides an in depth look at the process involved with bringing both the Dragon and Viking worlds to life with present-day cinematic energy.

Dotted in amongst the beautiful imagery is a detailed insider's guide to the creative process behind developing the story, the script and the characters; descriptions of the animating, rigging, surfacing and lighting process; and the special challenges of working in the new Stereoscopic 3-D environment.

If you want to explore in more detail the characters and world of the the movie, then this book is an essential purchase.


Darren Rea

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