“Brave” Books

Less than one month to go before the release of the next Pixar “original” and the publicity is certainly heating up. Billboards are up all over Los Angeles and tie-in merchandise is hitting the stores. Two traditional indicators of the film’s quality have now shown up on my desk – and the good news is they do not disappoint. Chronicle’s The Art of Brave, written by Dreamworks’ story artist Jenny Lerew, is as usual a visual feast. I’ve become a real fan of these Art-Of books – even more so as the digital age threatens to do away with print. The artwork preserved here, perfectly printed on sumptuous glossy paper, is glorious to behold. The book presents hand drawn pre-vis by such notable talents as Tony Fucile, Matt Nolte, Peter Sohn, Steve Pilcher, Carter Goodrich and others – as well as Brenda Chapman (who contributes a Foreword, along with a separate one by co-director Mark Andrews). No controversies here – this is gorgeous stuff. Plentiful story sketch and color keys, sculpts and character designs. I can spend 20 minutes on each page. If the movie is half as good the art in here, it’ll be another classic.


At the other end of the spectrum, the Brave Little Golden Book is out. I bought one today at Ralph’s supermarket. For $3.99. Long time readers know I love the Pixar Little Golden Books, as they are executed in the lush, classic tradition of the series – which dates back to the 1940s. They usually choose one of the best artists – either from Pixar itself, or the Disney Publishing pool of talent – and this time Disney’s Lori Tyminski got the opportunity to show off her delightful style on this material. Bright and lively – and oh so appealing. Highly recommended! Now bring on the movie – I’m ready to see it all in action.


  • Ryan

    “Chronicle’s The Art of Brave, written by Dreamworks’ story artist Jenny Lerew, is as usual a visual feast.”
    What? Come Again? That’s obviously her day job the book is a side project, but…
    Jerry/Amid, as book men yourselves could you please tell us how this autobiographical animation art book gig stuff works?

    • Ryan

      Amid? Jerry? No insight on this?

      • http://www.cartoonbrew.com/author/amid amid

        Ryan, I’m not sure what you’re asking. You asked, “Could you please tell us how this autobiographical animation art book gig stuff works?” This is not an autobiography, and the rest of the question is vague. What do you want to know about how it works?

      • Ryan

        Sorry, I guess it is a bit vague, but I really dunno how else to put it; but just how the whole art & animation book related production thing goes, since you’ve both done that. And mainly how an artist from a different major studio ends up writing the art-of-book for a rival studios production, [not really the weirdness or 'controversy' about any of that, because it's a small industry, people know people & there really isn't any 'controversy'] but more just how these sort of things are arranged & handled, the wrangling people “hired” on [like how a Pixar concept artists end up on a promotional product tie-in book project for the studio] or initiating such projects and the avenues the studio folk and/or you guys [A&J] go through in writing & producing things for or associated with other artists & studio related work.

      • http://www.cartoonbrew.com/author/amid amid

        I don’t want to be too flippant, but basically, an editor calls me up and asks if I want to do a book. More often than not I turn them down, and occasionally I’ll do one. How they choose me, I really don’t know. I’m sure there’s more than one person making the decisions, and I’m not privy to their decisionmaking process.

        As for Jenny writing the “Art of Brave”, I think she’s an inspired choice. She’s not only an artist who understands the craft of filmmaking inside-out, but is also an excellent writer.

      • Jeff Kurtti

        Speaking from my own experience, I believe I am occasionally asked to do “Art of” work because of a strong resume in similar work (he can write, and delivers on time, his previous books didn’t suck too much), a fundamental understanding of the animated filmmaking process (no educational curve, he won’t be asking individual artists WHAT they do, but rather HOW or WHY they make creative choices), a knowledge of the history and creative talents in the business (if an interview subject mentions Bill Tytla or Tom Oreb or Ken O’Connor in the context of their work, he’ll know what that means), and relationships with the filmmakers (producer/director usually) based on previous collaboration (will he represent us fairly, is he a pain in the ass to work with). On my past two books (Princess and the Frog and Tangled), there were half a dozen writers under consideration, I’m happy they picked me.

  • Hank

    The Brave book you missed, and the finest of the lot–and one of the finest movie illustrated books ever, is “One Fine Day” written by Brave co-director and designed and illustrated by art director Matt Nolte.  Beautiful stuff, and although I like the Golden Book stuff fine, it can’t really hold a candle to the artistry of this book Check it out.

    http://www.amazon.com/Brave-One-Perfect-Steve-Purcell/dp/1423143612/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1338384213&sr=1-1

  • anonymous

    I flipped through the art of brave book yesterday at the book store. I always await the next one that comes out! I do admit though I find myself tempted less and less to buy them, maybe it’s because you know what to expect with each book. I have favorites,The art of Monsters Inc ,Nemo etc. Maybe it’s getting harder to surprise me,I dunno. I do agree though that the quality and art within the book is as beautiful as you would expect in a art of book from pixar. A job well done :)

  • http://youtube.com/user/Mesterius1 Mesterius

    Have to say I’m surpriced you read the Little Golden Book before seeing the movie, Jerry. Isn’t that like… well… a pretty major spoiler?

    • J

      The latest trailer had a shot featuring the two characters calmly interacting, so it’s kind of already been spoiled. It does lead me to believe, however, that the event happens fairly early on in the film and isn’t a very important reveal…

      I hope so anyway!

  • http://www.oddballcomics.com Scott Shaw!

    Why do I get the sneaking suspicion that the cover of BRAVE the Golden Book is in itself a “spoiler” for one of BRAVE the movie’s major “reveals”?

    • Mac

      The princess made friends with the scary animal in the Disney movie? The cartoon is ruined.

      • Aymanut

        Maybe they’re just arranging a cease fire.

    • Bud

      Beastiality?

  • http://juan-bauty.blogspot.com Juan Bauty

    Usually Little Golden Books are little big treasures, with a beautiful artwork, and specially Pixar Golden Books are amazing and lovely… BUT this time the LGB of ‘Brave’ looks very mediocre to me (i saw some inside pages at amazon.com), poorly illustrated, randomly doned, as a quick work, done in a few days only… i’m sorry much for the artist, with great works in previous books, but this time, i don’t like the results, they’re not in the usual level of this kind of books.

  • Daniel

    “They usually choose one of the best artists – either from Pixar itself, or the Disney Publishing pool of talent – and this time Disney’s Lori Tyminski got the opportunity to show off her delightful style on this material.”

    how is this golden book appealing? or delightful? this artist can’t even draw figures let alone paint them! If this is the best artist from pixar or disney it makes this art form laughable.. Do you truly feel this way Jerry?

    Amazing!

    • The Gee

      You know what be cool?

      If the kids who get to read the book like it.

      That would be cool.

  • http://www.cartoonbrew.com/author/jerry Jerry Beck

    Juan and Daniel… Hey, it’s my opinion. The art in the book IS appealing. At least to me. Tyminski’s art is perfectly appropriate to this subject matter. I think they put a lot of thought into who they selected. I stand by my words.

  • Bud

    The golden book is so-so, but the one mentioned above “One Fine Day” is fantastic! If I had to pick one over the other–and I did–I’d go with “One Fine Day.” Artwork is far superior and much more artful and beautifully done.

    • http://dailygrail.com/ Red Pill Junkie

      Agreed :)

  • E. Nygma

    This is all really great stuff! I get all of the Pixar “Art of” Books. I can’t believe this one came out so early before the film. I will pick it up on Amazon for sure!

    I was in a Target a few Days ago and they had a whole section of Brave toys! Do kids even know who these characters are yet? “Hey look mommy it’s the red haired girl from that TV commercial”. Disney Marketing does not slow down. Can’t wait to see this film!

  • E. Nygma

    Just got the “art of” Brave and man is that a beautiful book! Probably the best looking Pixar art of book yet! Still wish we could at least get an art of “Newt” book even though the film isn’t coming out. Such a shame, because all of that work was done already.

    After seeing all of these Brave books in the store I think the Art of book by far is the most worthwhile. While they are all beautiful this one had the most class and best presentation.

  • E. Nygma

    For these “art of” books it seems like the author doesn’t really write that much…more like assembles and arranges theelements. Not that that is an easy job. They don’t write the forward, or the introduction. Most of the text in the book is quotes or descriptions from the artists, producers and director.

    • http://www.cartoonbrew.com/author/amid amid

      E. Nygma – Quotes don’t magically appear in a book. They are based on hours of interviews by the author. Marrying text and artwork into a cohesive story is just as hard as writing. When done well, it requires much more effort than simply “assembling and arranging elements.”

      • E. Nygma

        I knew you would respond to this comment Amid. You fell right into my trap and answered my question as to what the author does.

        I wasn’t trying to offend you, I know it takes a lot of hard work, I just didn’t know what exactly.

      • Jeff Kurtti

        Beyond the mechanics of conducting interviews and putting them together, the writing of such a book demands that a writer understand 1) The history of the medium, 2) Its creative canon, 3) Its historic population, 4) Its functional operation.

        The author conducts his or her investigative reporting of the production, and determines what the common narrative threads are within that reporting. In that way, the author is than able to create a fluid structure with a beginning, middle, and end. In this way, the reader can (seemingly-effortlessly) be conducted through the history, culture, and mechanics of a specific production, meet the right people to advocate for each specific discipline, and be guided to the most stimulating, informative, and erudite ideas regarding the project.

        “Assembles and arrnges elements”? To be sure. So does a painter, or a novelist, or a composer. The fact that you perceive it as somehow effortless, and that each and every one of those people who are quoted magically picks up a larger narrative and adds to the cohesion of the overall story is where the erudition and skills of this kind of writing lie.

  • Sean

    How come no mention of Steve Purcell? He’s in the book, is a co-director, and one of my heroes. He features more in the book than some of the animators you listed.