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The Art of Up

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The Art of Up is a a 2009 book by Tim Hauser, published by Chronicle Books to accompany the release of the Pixar film Up. The book features a foreword by director Pete Docter and more than 250 pieces of concept art, storyboards, full-color pastels, digital and pencil sketches, character studies, and color scripts from the film.

The book discusses the influence of Jim Henson and the Muppets on the design and style of the characters in the film.

Chapter 1 opens with a quote from Henson at the top of the page reading: "Simple is good."


"We looked at everything from The Muppets to old Japanese cartoons for inspiration," says animator Shawn Krause. "We wanted to take this very simplified idea of the circle and the square and pull back the animation, trying to keep the animation very stylized, very simple." (page 19)
In the streamlined stylization of Rankin/Bass stop-motion films of the 1960s, or even The Muppets, the visuals and communication in Up are more direct. Design is simplified to the essence of the character. "We almost thought of Carl as a Muppet in that 'less is more.' The style is super simple, but it reads instantly," says supervising animator Scott Clark.
The late Jim Henson felt much the same way about the simplicity of his Muppet creations. "You're assisting the audience to understand; you're giving them a bridge or an access. And if you don't give them that, if you keep it more abstract, it's almost more pure," said Henson. (page 19)


The book's bibliography lists several Henson-related resouces:

  • "Of Precious Pigs, Singing Cabbages, and a Little Green Frog Named Kermit: The Story of Jim Henson and the Muppets." Cinefantastique. April/May 1983. pp24-31

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