Feature Film

The Art of Illumination’s ‘The Grinch’

Illumination Entertainment’s The Grinch is everywhere: it’s been the highest-grossing film in the United States for the past week and it has dozens of corporate promotional partners spreading it to every corner of the consumer marketplace. Considering its visibility, it’s a little surprising then that there’s such a lack of behind-the-scenes content about the making of the film or exposure for the artists who created it.

It’s understandable that Illumination doesn’t put a lot of effort into promoting the making of its films. Their projects have been wildly successful over the last decade — grossing over $6 billion globally — but there’s never been any clamoring for information about how they make their films. That’s the unfortunate reality of pretty much any animated film. Outside of people who work in the industry and superfans who care about the craft as well as the characters and stories, the general public doesn’t give a hoot about how animation winds up on the screen. ‘Art of’ books are nice references to own for a small group of people, but they’re not essential to any film’s success and therefore somewhat unnecessary. (As a side note, the last film produced by Illumination head Chris Meledandri that had an accompanying ‘art of’ book dates back to his days at Blue Sky Studios. It was a book about the making of Robots, and I wrote it.)

Still, even though the demand is limited for these books, other studios produce them, so the absence of Illumination books feels like a void. (Heck, even the live-action Jim Carrey version of How the Grinch Stole Christmas! had its own making-of book.) To make up for that, we’ve often done posts — here and here — to highlight the artwork from Illumination films.

This post again is an attempt to catalog some of the artwork that was produced for their latest movie. It’s a shallow representation, collecting the work of just a handful of people (including director Yarrow Cheney) among hundreds of participants, but it’s all we’ve got for now and it’s worth sharing, if only as a reminder of the all the amazing talents necessary to create any animated film. If you have links to other artwork, please share them in the comments.

Yarrow Cheney

John Bell

See more of the film’s early development from 2013 on John Bell’s website.

John Bell artwork.
Artwork by John Bell.
John Bell artwork.
Artwork by John Bell.
John Bell artwork.
Artwork by John Bell.
John Bell artwork.
Artwork by John Bell.
John Bell artwork.
Artwork by John Bell.
Artwork by John Bell.
Artwork by John Bell.
Dany Fernández Casas

Peter de Sève

Nikolas Ilic

Meg Park

Ian Abando

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