The Art and Making of ‘Hotel Transylvania’ by Tracey Miller-Zarneke

Genndy Tartakovsky has gone from the obscure creator/director of Dexter’s Laboratory and later, Samurai Jackas well as Star Wars: The Clone Wars show for Cartoon Network.  He has also worked extensively on other Cartoon Network shows like The Powerpuff Girls, and The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy, usually as a director or animation supervisor.  Now, he has made his feature film debut with the Sony Pictures Animation film Hotel Transylvania, which Courtney reviewed here.

The latest book from Titan Books is The Art and Making of Hotel Transylvania by Tracey Miller-Zarneke.  The book takes a look at every step that went into the making of the film.  It covers pre-production to post-production, detailing all the steps in between.  Each page covers something different, including artwork such as Tartakovsky’s early character sketches, and the evolution of character designs by Tartakovsky and other character designers.  Each page also has helpful blurbs explaining what is going on in each picture.  There are a variety of different types of artwork, showing character sketches, and how they evolve based on the voice casting of the film, as well as how the characters move and feel on screen, along with explanations for why those choices were made.

In addition to character designs, the book also goes in-depth into background design, and what went into the backgrounds, and how those decisions were made.  There are also step-by-step photos and explanations of the animation process, covering aspects such as lighting tests, movement tests, the insertion of background plates, and the evolution of these designs.

The blurbs provide insights into how the animation team worked together, and gives a good view of who does what, as well as where ideas and inspiration come from.  There are quotes from a vast variety of people that all had a hand in the making of the film, including the producers, animators, character designers, and voice actors.  Each gives a bit of insight into the role they played in the creation of the film.  Tartakovsky talks extensively about his love for animation, and how he devoured every scrap of material on the medium he could.  Now it’s his turn to educate a new generation on the process, and while some of the jargon may be a bit over the heads of younger children, it’s still a great insight into the process of making an animated feature film.

As always with Titan Books releases, this one is hardbound with a nice dust jacket, and full color pages throughout.  Each page is jam packed with images, and a majority of the book is made up of pictures and artwork, with the small blurbs of explanation littering the page in well placed areas.  Despite the hefty price tag ($34.99 MSRP), it’s well worth it for the die-hard animation fan, and it’s quite a bit cheaper on Amazon, so that’s always a bonus.

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