The Art of Rio
An insight into how concepts for Rio and its sequel were created.
As the colourful and charming world of Blu, the rare Blue Spix Macaw, returns to the big screen in Rio 2, fans can now enjoy the artistry behind both movies in this lavish 192-page hardback. Featuring over 300 pieces of concept art, character sketches, paintings and interviews with artists, this is a detailed, predominantly visual guide to how Blu and co were brought to life.
The book opens with an engaging forward from Carlos Saldanha, the film’s director, who passionately describes how both movies ended up being a love letter to the vibrant city of his childhood. And how, even though having only three Brazilians in a visual crew of over 300, each artist became immersed in Rio’s colourful culture, which inspired a wealth of amazing artwork.
The first chapter – and the best of the lot – is on characters. These pages are overflowing with inspirational imagery, including rough sketches, early concept art, paintings, final renders, sketches of gestures and poses, the detail of which you could pore over for hours. The dedicated bird section in this chapter is particularly noteworthy, featuring beautiful illustrations of all kinds of species of Blu’s feathered friends, complete with a stunning early colour variation chart by artist Vincent Di Ngugen. There’s no denying the amount of wonderful artwork on these pages. However, we’d have like to have seen some initial storyboards from both films, along with a few more early iterations of certain characters, just to see how each was developed over time.
The copy that runs throughout the book is extensive but not imposing, and doesn’t distract from any of the artwork. With interesting movie facts and insights from the film’s artists, it’s definitely worth a read.
The locations section is also well done. It opens to multiple pages of intricately drawn pencil sketches of buildings and interiors, before moving on to lush, colourful landscape painting and illustrations. True to Rio’s roots, it’s here where you can see the amount of influence the city had on the film’s artists, with the essence of Brazil’s capital captured in the most beautifully stylised way, making it recognisable while not resorting to photorealism.
As an accompaniment to Rio and its upcoming sequel, this book does a beautiful job of showcasing the amazing craftsmanship and talent behind both films.
From basic body shapes, the art team used a range of crest designs and colouration to produce these exotic song birds.
The tongue of Charlie the anteater, a henchman from the second film, gave him extra personality.