I am a huge Middle-earth fan, so I was very looking forward to seeing The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey when it hit the cinemas (you can read a review here). I was nearly as excited, when I heard that there will be a series of books too, giving readers glimpses into the production and also letting the actors speak about their experiences. I got the first book for my birthday at the beginning of march and the second one arrived on friday.
The first book is called ‘The Hobbit Chronicles: Art & Design’, it’s the brown book. It is written by Daniel Falconer, just like the other one. It is full with concept designs, early sketches, character design and it’s developement, etc. If you are interested in behind-the-scenes screencaps, you won’t find much – it’s more about the process before the shooting begins. It’s a really interesting book and wonderfully executed. Behind the cover you’ll find Thorin’s map (the moon-runes glow in the dark!) and there is also Bilbo’s burglar contract. It includes many sketches and paintings by Alan Lee and John Howe, who also did a lot of concept designing for The Lord of the Rings and there are many interviews from various artists about each character, so you can really track the process of creating each look.
The second book is about the ‘creatures & characters’. There is a lot to read, especially interviews with the cast and crew – they talk about their experiences and about their work. As nearly every character in this movie wears a wig (or he is digitally created) there is lots of information about the different hair they used and how many wigs they needed, etc.. – it is interesting and funny at the same time! The pictures include some from the shoots, the production and of course all the main characters are pictured – basically everyone, who has a name, including the trolls, orcs, goblins and there is even an entire chapter about the stone-giants. In the back, there is a very usefull size chart, which makes it easy to compare the different hights of the different characters.
I recommend both books to really everyone, who is interested in movies and fantasy!