The Art of Zootopia | Art Book Review

This week’s book review is going to be on the Art of Zootopia, or as I like to call it, the Cory Loftis sketchbook. As you are about to see, Cory played a huge role in the character and overall visual development of this movie and it shows. Check it out!

Let me just start by saying that this book is like porn for graphic designers. There is almost as much signage in this book as there was in the animated short film Logorama. If you haven’t seen it, I strongly suggest you check it out.

The beginning of this book spends a lot of time discussing the challenges that were faced during the conceptualization phase of the movie. I can only imagine the sheer volume of obstacles they would have had to overcome simply due to the size variations of its characters. I mean if you’re shooting a movie like Fivel Goes West, where the main characters are predominately mice, and the larger human characters are pretty much background, you can get away with keeping the camera down at the level of the mice. A human walking through the scene could be acknowledged by simply showing their feet. But in Zootopia, there are scenes where you have a mouse and an entire elephant in the same frame, so if you want to see both characters in detail, you’re going to have to get pretty creative with your camera angles.

If you’re one of those artists who loves to spend the day anthropomorphizing animals just for the fun of it, then the Art of Zootopia is a must have for your reference library. You really get a master class on drawing expressions in this book. When drawing animals it’s very easy to lose the essence of the animal when trying to apply human characteristics to it. So if you’re someone who struggles with that, then this book can go a long way in helping you overcome that problem.

What an undertaking the conceptualization of this movie must have been. There are almost as many unique animal characters in this one book, as there are in all of Christopher Hart’s “Drawing Animals” books put together. You just can’t find a better reference book for drawing cartoon animals with human characteristics.

What I really like about the characters in this movie are their strong personality traits. I can pretty much look at any character in this movie and see a resemblance to someone I actually know in my own life.

From the big hearted optimist who just wants to make the world a better place, Judy Hopps, to the shifty player who always has ulterior motives for anything nice he ever does, like Nick Wilde, right down to the overly innocent do gooder who has some serious skeletons in her closet Miss Bellwether. There’s a personality in this movie to represent pretty much everyone. Even the high school pot head who although never seemed to pass a class during his high school days, somehow managed to land a cushy government job later in life, yes I’m talking about the lovable Flash Slothmore. The whole gang’s here.

The environment sketches in this book are incredible. One of the things that amazed me the most about Zootopia, was the amount of not only creativity, but ingenuity that had to be present when creating the environments for this movie. I mean this is something that hasn’t really been done before. Sure there are other cartoons about animals, but in most cases the animals are living in a world that was designed for humans and they just had to adapt to it the best they could. But in Zootopia, every single element in the environment has a specific purpose for a particular species of animal and all of those elements somehow manage to fit together seamlessly … It’s incredible.

Although Cory Loftis’ work is showcased quite a bit in the Art of Zootopia, it would be a crime to overlook all of the other incredible artists who worked on this movie as well. Fortunately a good portion of their artwork is scattered throughout the pages of this book. From the haunting paintings from Armand Serrano, to the incredibly detailed illustrations by Matthias Lechner, there is just so much artistic talent to be inspired by here.

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Be sure to let me know in the comment section below, what your favorite animated movies are and of course what your favorite art of book is. I’m always looking to add to my own personal collection.

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