One of the first things you learn about me when you walk into my office is that I have a problem… A big problem. I love art books. So I thought it would be nice to share my thoughts on a few of my favorite books that always seem to end up on my desk as a source of inspiration.
If you are a fan of character design, props, backgrounds, storyboards and animation (which I am) this is a wonderful book to have on your shelf. From the minds of Bryan Konietzko and Michael Dante DiMartino and their team of hundreds of artists, in 2005, they brought us Nickelodeon’s Avatar: The Last Airbender. A cartoon series with lovable characters, a wonderful storyline and some of the best fight choreography I’ve ever seen in a cartoon. All wrapped in a beautifully inspired world full of influences drawn from a diverse array of cultures. This book contains all the work it took to bring this world to life.
From the first page to the last the publisher, Dark Horse, shows you how they created the four different nations. From the town’s design, to the people who inhabit it, to the soldiers that protect it, all have been wonderfully thought out. Each has their own distinct look and feel. Even the animals of this world, blended hybrid creatures such as a turtle-duck, have been imagined and put in this book. All with tons of notes and comments about how this team brought this imaginary world to life. Besides the images you can read all about how Bryan Konietzko and Michael Dante DiMartino got the pilot episode approved and how they wrapped up the 3rd and final season.
The only real drawback to this book is that some of the production art is small and hard to see the detail. I think Dark Horse had a hard time fitting all the content into 184 pages.
If you’re at all interested in amazing fantasy worlds and all the work that goes into creating them this book should be a must have. In addition, if you’re interested in the cartoon series, all three seasons are available for streaming on Netflix or Amazon instant streaming service and out on DVD. Highly recommended! Now I need to go watch their new show, The Legend of Korra.