Sep 4, 2013

Book Review: The Art and Making of Hotel Transylvania

Book Review: The Art and Making of Hotel Transylvania

I am very excited with this week’s review. Mostly because it allowed me to spend an extended amount of time drooling over the art and ideas held within The Art and Making of Hotel Transylvania. I make no bones about the fact that I have long been a fan of these types of books and in fact, collect every one that I can get my hands on.

The film depicts a very different Count Dracula. This one has built a holiday hotel in a secluded European castle, in order to spare his monstrous brethren and his own family from the cruel world of the humans. It’s a story with a lot of comedy, social commentary and a good ole tug on the heart strings.

The book functions as a visual repository of art used in the pre visualization and in the production of the film itself. It is intelligently split up into a section for Character design and one for Production design. 

In the character design section, the viewer is treated with the final CG models of all the movie’s central and secondary characters, accompanied by pages of early rough sketches and a litany of design iterations. This really takes you along the thought process involved in good character design, and how often concessions need to be made when taking 2D characters and bringing them to life in the 3D world. My personal favourite has to be the zombie doormen. They act as the movie’s slow moving comic relief, without giving too much away.

While I do enjoy character design, it is the production design that is a real standout point in this book for me. The task of fleshing out a hotel contained within a monster centric gothic castle is no small feat. The production pages are rich with design treatments that showcase the range and scope of the design, from large mood paintings to intricately detailed drawings of furniture and fixtures. This attention to detail really adds that solid flooring of believability to the overall look of the film.

Most artists and animation fans are already familiar with the film’s director Genndy Tartakovsky. He brought us cult animation favourites; The Powerpuff Girls. Samurai Jack and Star Wars: Clone Wars. His auteur sensibilities are infused into every piece of art in this book and as a creative force, he really brings out the best in each of these artist’s works.

If you are already a fan of these “Making of” books or animation books in general, then this book is for you. I also think that this is a very accessible entry point for people that want to start their journey collecting books of this type. My last word is that I would suggest that you watch the film first, as you will then have a greater understanding and appreciation for the character in the books…and nobody likes spoiler’s