The Book of Life & Concept Art

posted by Megan
October 31, 2014

Just this last week I got the chance to go see a fantastic film, The Book of Life, which left me completely enamored with it’s visual style.

If you haven’t seen it yet, GO SEE IT NOW

It’s a movie that’s been discussed for some time on animation forums and blogs with anticipation – and the final film did not disappoint. The entire film is an intensely beautiful riot of color and detail. It’s colossal work of art, proving that sometimes (in the hands of truly talented artists), “more is more.” No matter where you look in any frame of the film, you’ll find even more little details to feast on.

The most amazing accomplishment though, in my opinion, is that the final computer animated film looks exactly like the two-dimensional concept art.


Seriously astounding! Look at how closely the final film (bottom) captured the color and texture of the concept art (top & middle)!

Here at Blue Pony, we get to do concept art as well, of course! We tend to focus on sketches and storyboards, though, due to the tight timelines often required by a project.

Mosaic_Sketch01_640x640 Megan_TedAndBlue Sketch2

Normally, movies use concept art to inspire the production, but the film doesn’t really look much like them by the time it makes it to the silver screen. For example, here are a few pieces of gorgeous concept art from Disney’s supremely popular Tangled (2010) and Frozen (2013).


These pieces are works of art in and of themselves! Concept images like this are often collected into luscious ‘Art of’ coffee table books, which are certainly a treat for fans like me. But while the final films are certainly beautiful, they don’t have that same atmospheric lighting or beautifully painted texture.

Which is what makes The Book of Life stand out from other animated films!

But that didn’t happen by chance – the director and co-writer of the movie, Jorge Gutierrez, set out with a particular vision. He spoke about ‘Art Of’ books, saying, “I saw every single one that comes out and my biggest eartbreak is that I see all this glorious art, and then the movie doesn’t look like that!”

He went on to say, “The mandate of this movie was: Our ‘Art of’ book is going to look exactly like the movie. And every artist poured their heart and soul into that idea.”

And it shows! The Book of Life absolutely overwhelmed me with its creativity and artistic vision, so enjoy some more of the concept art below.



Now go see The Book of Life while it’s still in theaters! Trust me, you don’t want to miss the chance to see this film on the big screen.

The Book of Life © Reel FX | Frozen © Disney | Tangled © Disney

MeganFeatured2Megan Wiegand
is a Designer at Blue Pony

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