Inside The Art of Inside Out (book review)

Early concept artwork of Riley aka Chloe?
Early concept artwork of Riley

Beautiful.  That’s the first word that comes to mind when I think of this book – beautiful.  The second?  Fun!  For any fan of the hit Disney-Pixar film Inside Out this book is a treasure.  Not only because it has great pre-production and production art work from the movie, but because it also offers you insight into the creative process behind some of your favorite characters.  Did you know that Riley at one time was blond with a passion for basketball?  Or that Disgust really looked, well…disgusting?

Cover to the book The Art of Inside Out published by Chronicle Books
Cover to the book The Art of Inside Out published by Chronicle Books

There are lots of little gems of information about the characters and their development throughout the book.  Largely, the artwork tells the story.   Only a foreword by Amy Poehler (Joy) and an introduction by Pete Docter (director and co-writer) with small captions also by Pete are the only prose in the book.  Early concept designs had fan favorite Bing Bong as one of many imaginary characters.  There was also an antagonist emotion – Gloom. Pete wrote in a caption, “Gloom…grew in size as he gained importance (p.48).” In other early concept work, Riley would appear inside her own mind and at times the emotions could pop outside into the real world.

The controls in "head"-quarters
The controls in “head”-quarters

But some of my favorite pieces were the ones that showed layouts and details of the different sets or scenes.  How the emotion control station works was fascinating because it had so much detail about all of the knobs and buttons we see in the movie.  The thought and effort that goes into creating the world of Inside Out makes me appreciate the film even more.  At one point in the development, they conceived of each character having their own control panel.  Sadness had one in particular called the “Tear Drop Machine.”  One of the layouts in the book is of Joy’s Quarters.  We kind of get a glimpse into their personal lives in the movie.  We know that they take turns on sleep duty so obviously they have living spaces, but it was great to see it laid out and labeled.  Joy has an old-fashioned clawfoot tub in her room that overlooks Belle’s house (yes, from Beauty and the Beast – in the pic it’s labeled her “happy place”) and pictures on the wall of her favorite memories. Of course one of them is Disneyland!

The saddest scene in the movie - still makes me tear up
The saddest scene in the movie – still makes me tear up

Title: The Art of Disney Pixar Inside Out
Author: Pete Docter and an array of artists
Cost: $40.00
Age: 18 and up or for anyone who loves Inside Out
Publisher: Chronicle Books
Genre: Non-fiction, art

Overall, this is a must have book for any Inside Out fan or anyone fascinated by the behind-the-scenes development of an animated film. This coffee table sized tome is filled to the brim with artwork and layouts that will keep you enthralled.  The folks at Chronicle Books always put together such great work and this one is among the best.

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