This book features over one hundred pages of Disney Dragon concept art in various forms and covering feature films, shorts and the parks around the world. Starting in the 1940s with the reluctant dragon and going through the 2016 release of Pete’s Dragon. The Forward is by David Lowery the director of Pete’s Dragon and the Introduction by Tom Bancroft who was the lead animator for Mushu in Mulan.
Scattered throughout the book are pages dealing with the parks. Included are dragons that came to be in Parks around the world including the newest in Shanghai Disneyland. Highlights include the Hotel Hightower from Tokyo DisneySea,, Mystic Manor from Hong Kong Disneyland, the Dragon element from the Tower of the Four Winds for “it’s a small world” at the World’s Fair and La Taniere du Dragon from Disneyland Paris. Domestically the highlight is one of our favorites, Figment from Epcot. It also features several for attractions that did not come to be for one reason or another. Including WESTCOT, several at Disneyland, and Beastly Kingdom at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.
The format for this book is different than many of the other art of books out there. It is a smaller format, measuring only 7.5” by 10.2”. That means smaller drawings to look at but it also means a lower price point for the same amount of artwork. Flipping through the pages I did not mind the smaller footprint. Many of the drawings were no large spreads anyways.
As is typical in art books there is minimal writing. Just the forward and introduction. Captains are not on the pages, instead the basic information on every piece is in the notes section at the end of the book. This includes the artist if known, a brief description including the original medium of the work.
I enjoyed leafing through the book first to look at the artwork then doubled back using the notes as reference to see what I missed or to draw attention to certain pieces. I always enjoy seeing concept art and noting how the final product used it for inspiration, how close it came or how far it diverged. Also I find it interesting to see the evolution of a character and how it becomes more refined and/or changes direction throughout the development cycle.
If you are a fan of Disney’s Dragons or an art fan this book is one you should consider adding to your collection. Since it is almost entirely art based the time to explore is based on your interest and patience and not reading a narrative.