Book Report – The Art of How to Train Your Dragon

One of the most amazing movies I’ve seen in the 3D era of animated movies has got to be How to Train Your Dragon. A big part of that for me has to be the way the animators gave life to the dragons. This is why I love these types of art books. I love to see the process of how they bring these characters to life and this book doesn’t disappoint with more than 350 pieces of development art. From character designs, story sketches, and concept paintings this book has it all included. Even a few sketches from Cressida Cowell the author who wrote the books that this movie is based on.

Newmarket Press has designed a spectacular, full-color insider’s guide to how the world of Berk became a feature-length film. With Chris Sanders and Dean DeBlois directing and Nicolas Marlet and Simon Otto as lead character designers their commentary accompanies all the wonderful concept art. Of course there is plenty of other quotes and artwork from the production team included. The book seems to be divided into five parts, “the Dragons”, “the Vikings”, two sections for environments “the Dragon’s world”, “the Viking’s world” and finally “Bringing the worlds together”. As you can imagine the first two sections are mostly character designs for the Vikings and dragons. The Dragon’s environment sections are mostly outdoor areas like caves and rocky mountain tops. Which is in contrast to the Vikings areas which are mostly made up of beautiful sceneries and architecture. Also included in the Viking section are weapons, boats and other props. The final section in this book is called Bringing the Worlds Together which is pretty self-explanatory, but this section focuses on the production side. This provides a look at the process involved in bringing mythical Dragon and Viking worlds to life.

Personally, I love this book. It has so much wonderful artwork from some very talented artists. It’s a fantastic book and I can’t recommended more. It always seems to end up on my art desk when I am designing characters. It might be a good one to throw on your holiday gift list.

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  1. Mili

    The 2D character sketches are amazing. I wish the book had more of them.

  2. Genie Chow

    These are wonderful. I wanted to be a character designer and concept artist once. Now I write and illustrate children’s books and novels. It is still inspiring to see art like this.


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