At one point in the past, art books were only created for the most elevated films. Films that had hours upon hours of craftsmanship poured into costume making, films that had extensive warehouses filled with monster props and how they were made. However, into the latter half of the 2000s, film related art books started to accompany most summer blockbusters. They become a predominant selling force for studios to extend sales further upon on a movie’s release. At first art books were often published well after the release of a film, usually leading up to the holiday season. However, Marvel Studios were quick to change that game as they released the accompanying art book at the same time as the movie.
While some books can be quite empty regarding educational content, you can find a few that show and explore the art of the film or TV show in great detail. Written text can go deeper into the production and mindset of the crew, more so than a Blu-ray commentary does as there is limited time for conversation.
Here are five of the best art books on the market, that indeed go beyond the art and help demonstrate the art of making a film.
The Art of Star Wars: The Force Awakens
This is a 256-page hardcover book that explores the entire concept of the various art departments within the film. From the very first production meeting right up to post-production, the book is filled with informative information and art to accompany the story of bringing this film to life. It’s incredibly exciting to not only see the initial designs but also how late some of the final designs were chosen in pre-production. Some plans were only finalised a week or two away from shooting. When you think about a film on the scale of Star Wars, you would assume everything has been completely locked down months in advance; the book allows you to go past closed curtains and see the actual design process.
“Bursting with hundreds of stunning works of art, including production paintings, concept sketches, storyboards, blueprints, and matte paintings, this visual feast will delight Star Wars fans and cineastes for decades to come. The Art of Star Wars: The Force Awakens is the definitive expression of how the latest chapter in the Star Wars saga was dreamed into being. “
The Art of Mad Max: Fury Road.
176 Pages – Hardcover. Mad Max: Fury Road burst onto our screens in 2015 in spectacular fashion. It was a box-office hit, an audience favourite and critically acclaimed. The companion art book is no different. It provides an in-depth look into the apocalyptic world created by George Miller. While the book doesn’t contain as much detail on the production like The Art of Star Wars: The Force Awakens. It provides extensive information into the creation of the costumes, vehicles, and the world. As well as break down photographs of the props and how they were constructed. It’s must have book if you create costumes and props yourself.
“Max Rockatansky returns. Haunted by his turbulent past, the wandering Road Warrior becomes swept up with a group fleeing across the Wasteland in a War Rig driven by an elite Imperator, Furiosa. Seeking escape from the tyranny of Immortan Joe, what follows is a high-octane Road War – and a chance for redemption. The Art of Mad Max: Fury Road is the official companion to the highly anticipated movie.”
The Art and Making of Hannibal: The Television Series
176 page – softcover. I’m going to take this moment to go ahead and boast to say that I am a proud owner of one of the 250 limited edition hardcover copies of this book. Hannibal is arguably one of the most creative and artistic shows to appear on Television within the last decade, if ever. Its stylistic values proved well to find a niche audience who were transported to a surreal fantasy world each time the show was aired. The book covers all aspects of the show and is a valuable insight to anyone who wants to push boundaries when it comes to filmmaking.
“A highly illustrated making of a book featuring season 1&2 script extracts, exclusive cast and crew interviews, behind the- scenes photography, and production notes. This volume includes detailed sketches of the murder scenes and sets as well as food stylist designs of Hannibal’s most infamous dinner parties. The Art & Making of Hannibal will be a detailed look at the making of this highly original and visually stunning series.”
Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy: The Art of the Movie
The Guardians of The Galaxy was a breakout hit for Marvel. For the first time in the entire Marvel franchise, we were given a film which was set entirely off planet earth. As a result, there are many fantastical prop elements and costume items that make great use for study. The book isn’t as text heavy as the others, but it provides great insight into the making of the ‘galaxy’.
“Continuing their popular ART OF series of movie tie-in books, Marvel presents its latest blockbuster achievement! Featuring exclusive concept artwork, behind-the-scenes photographs, production stills, and in-depth interviews with the cast and crew, MARVEL’S GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY: THE ART OF THE MOVIE is a deluxe keepsake volume that provides an insider’s look into the making of the highly anticipated film directed by James Gunn, and starring Chris Pratt , Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, featuring Vin Diesel as the voice of Groot, Bradley Cooper as the voice of Rocket, with John C. Reilly, Glenn Close as Commander Rael and Benicio Del Toro as the Collector.”
Harry Potter: Page to Screen
Perhaps the pinnacle of making of books is the mammoth books Harry Potter: Page to Screen. 528 pages in an oversized, beautifully presented, hardcover. The Harry Potter franchise started in 2001 and with the soon to be released Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, it doesn’t look like it’s ready to stop yet. This book captures the magic of creative filmmaking in all its glory. It’s a time capsule of information that these filmmakers. This is a treasure worthy of being in any filmmakers book collection.
“From the acquisition of the film rights to the casting of Harry, Ron, and Hermione and the assembly of the creative team, Harry Potter: Page to Screen is a unique, behind-the-scenes look at the making of one of the most popular film series in cinema history, as told by the people who made the magic real. Harry Potter: Page to Screen traces the cinematic process of bringing J.K. Rowling’s beloved books to big-screen life. From the moment the book was optioned for the last film, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, this book reveals all the filming secrets, never-before-seen images, and the most memorable moments real and fictional of the Harry Potter saga. Comprehensive interviews, quotes, and stories from the Harry Potter creative team and cast round out the hundreds of images, providing context and an insightful, in-depth look at the inner-workings of the Potter world. Daniel Radcliffe recounts how his personal life was shaped by playing Harry Potter; his narration sets the tone for the book and connects the many voices of the Harry Potter family. Not only do Radcliffe and his fellow cast members discuss the reality of growing up Potter, they also reflect on the countless memories that made the Potter experience so unique: meeting J.K. Rowling; Richard Harris’s (the original Dumbledore) death; the effects of 9-11 on the cast and crew; and the day to day experience of bringing a film to life. Fully supported by Warner Bros. Entertainment, Harry Potter: Page to Screen is created by the same team responsible for the hugely successful Harry Potter: Film Wizardry, and is sure to delight Muggles everywhere.”
Do you have any favourites? List them in the comments below.