Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Harry Potter: Page to Screen Review

A few weeks ago I decided to hide my shameless addiction to concept books behind the guise of public service: and now I'm actually making good on my threats. My first review will be on my most recent acquisition Harry Potter: Page to Screen. I am usually hesitant to buy concept books for live action films because in past experiences, many of these books are often filled with set pictures of actors, stills from the movie and very few detail shots or concept drawings. While this is well and good, that kind of book serves mostly for quelling rabid fan lust and offers very little reference material for a concept artist.

However, thus is not the case in Harry Potter: Page to Screen (and being 531 pages I would certainly hope not). There was a lot more art in this book than I expected, whether painted or detailed from the set. Every room and interior from the movie has it's own page- and there are a lot of details that are easily missed while watching the films (book covers, wand handles, room clutter etc). This book is fantastic if you are looking for prop, creature and environment design reference, as the Harry Potter world is extremely detailed and rich. Every environment is a character in itself and is laden with history and personality, which is the most necessary and often difficult aspect of designing an environment. Even if you aren't a fan, there is still a lot to gain from this book, but it is definitely more exciting to see the details you missed. As for character design, being a live action film there isn't much to be seen, however, there are a few costume pages and character sketches. Overall, this book is a thumbs up for props, creatures and environments.

 *Forgive me: this book is huge and I am not yet an expert page flipper.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Reviews and Obsessions

I have a horrible weakness that will make Future Kaz's moving escapades a living hell. I blame Amazon, frankly. My tenacious compulsion to call it “research” along with whatever magical property allows Amazon to make ridiculous discounts has made it nearly impossible for me to resist obsessively buying comics and art books. The only flaw with Amazon's book overlording is that the things I want to buy don't always have that "look inside" feature. As it turns out, with art books, this is sort of important. Because I am weak, this only causes me to procrastinate buying the book for about a week or two, but for the rest of the population who has will power, this makes it difficult to know when a concept book is amazing or just a halfassed-by-product of film companies who want to scrape up extra money.

For that reason, I have decided to start adding video and reviews of books I have. I am not trying to help the Amazon Empire (because divine panda knows that one day they'll probably own me too), but I'd like to help the rest of the drawing-reference-obsessed figure out what they want. So stay tuned for some flip book videos and mini concept reviews. Nothing fancy, but maybe useful.