Book Review: The Art of Brave
As with the other animation-art books, each illustration is credited to its artist. Artists represented include Steve Pilcher, Steve Purcell, Mark Andrews, Craig Grasso, Louis Gonzales, Noah Klocek, Tia Kratter, Huy Nguyen, Matt Nolte, Carter Goodrich, Ted Mathot, Daniel López Muñoz, and Mike Mignola, among others, plus VFX artists and director of photography for lighting Danielle Feinberg; many of whom comment on their artwork. To cite one example, from production designer Steve Pilcher: “We took liberties with the design because it’s a fantasy. There were no tartans back in the time period we’re placing this, but audiences associate that with Scotland, so we added that element. We took Celtic design and mixed it with earlier Pictish design, and anything that might have been an influence in that time period, like the Vikings. You wouldn’t just get pure Celtic, and you wouldn’t get pure Pictish or Viking. You’d get a hybrid of these things.” (p. 53) Many of these artists started out as story artists and were promoted during the five-year production of Brave to supervising animator, character art director, production designer, even co-director. There are pencil, ink, acrylic, and digital art, plus the 3D sculpts and models.
There is less of a story sense here or a how-a-CGI-feature-is-made than in most animation-art books. The reader can tell the basic plot, but not all the story details. It is a good souvenir of the movie, but not a tell-all about the movie. Again, this book is about the art of Brave; and it really delivers that!
It is also recommended for those who want a good visual book on the Scottish highlands – mostly drawn art with only a few photographs, but art by skilled artists. There are lots of visual references here.
Fred Patten has been a fan of animation since the first theatrical rerelease of Pinocchio (1945). He co-founded the first American fan club for Japanese anime in 1977, and was awarded the Comic-Con International's Inkpot Award in 1980 for introducing anime to American fandom. He began writing about anime for Animation World Magazine since its #5, August 1996. A major stroke in 2005 sidelined him for several years, but now he is back. He can be reached at email@example.com.