Friday, 16 January 2015

Book Review - The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies - Art and Design

I am a massive fan of fantasy art. From the early days of my childhood I adored pouring over drawings, paintings, and sculptures of things ranging from dragons souring through the skies through to wizards standing toe to toe with invading armies. I literally worshipped artists like John Howe, Keith Parkinson, Michael Whelan and Frank Frazetta, and I consumed their work with fanaticism and passion. 

So when I heard of the the impending release of the Art and Design book for The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies I was excited to say the least. And boy, was I not disappointed. 

Composing of over 250 different pieces of art, sketches, costumes and concept designs, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies Art and Design book is an impressive addition to fantasy art literature. This book covers everything, from the initial sketches and artist discussion right though to the final design that made it to film. Props, sets, creatures, armour and weapons are all covered in great detail, and conceptual artists like John Howe and Alan Lee provide expert commentary all throughout the book. 

I adored pouring over each and every single page, taking in the beautiful artwork or gleaming an interesting fact from the information (such as how Thranduil's armour was initially inspired by the intricate and beautiful armour of Japanese samurai) that accompanied it. I also enjoyed how the book was divided into sections that focused on the different factions of Middle Earth, and I loved seeing the bad guys (orcs, goblins, Necromancer etc) get equal treatment and focus. It was simply amazing to learn just how much work and background design goes into the production of a film like the The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, and after reading this I have a new found respect and admiration for all of those men and women behind its production. 

I could read this tome over and over and still discover new things every time. To put it simply, this book is a must have for any fantasy art lover, Tolkien fan, or cosplayer. An absolutely stunning and visually brilliant book, and a must have for anyone with eyes and a soul! 

5 out of 5 stars.

A review copy was kindly provided. 

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