I more or less brushed off the trailer to “Epic” with a shrug. To me, it seemed just another digitally animated crowd pleaser with an all-over voice cast. However, the film’s production art book, The Art of Epic from the artists at Blue Skies Studios, gives me hope.
When the book arrived in the mail, I peeled the cardboard away to reveal a gleaming rainbow of soft light and color emitting from the hardcover. After reading the touching foreword by director, Chris Wedge and flipping through the artwork, I was captivated. I went back and polished off the book cover to cover, carefully contemplating each illustration.
Author Tara Bennet carefully takes us through the creative process stemming from old Victorian fantasy art, which was used as the dominant inspiration for the luscious concepts unfolding on each page. Bennet unravels the magical minds of the artists and animators as they bring to beautiful life the glow of nature and its wonder.
Using generous splashes of gorgeous images, The Art of Epic breaks down the composition of each character and setting. Pencil sketches, watercolors, sculpture, and museum worthy oils compliment each mushroom, tree, and facial expression. The light off the pages is so lush that one almost feels a shadow overcast when the final cover is closed.
WIth such stunning concept art and awe inspiring talent, I have to wonder why the finished product was converted to digital style in the first place. Sure, digital animation is a beautiful art form in its own right, but what ever happened to all the moving paintings that used to be animated films? Is it too time consuming? Too expensive, perhaps? In the case of “Epic,” it is, I think, the film itself that has to live up to the artwork, not the other way around.
It is worth picking up The Art of Epic if only to view the boundless creativity and beauty that went into this film, that it is not just the product of a few well edited mouse clicks. We can only hope that at least a bit of the magic comes through on screen.
PIck up The Art of Epic, from Titan Publishing, here on Amazon.com.