Book Review: “The Art of Toy Story 4” is Big on Movie Concept Art, Light on Text

Hi everyone!

I just received The Art of Toy Story 4 to review. The book actually came out over a week ago from Chronicle Books, the company handles “The Art Of” animation books that have been a favorite of mine for years.

Note on June 19th, 2019: I viewed Toy Story 4 over a week ago, and my review still stands. The concept art is much easier to appreciate within the movie framework now, but more commentary would have elevated the book further. You can read our Toy Story 4 film review here.

The Art of Toy Story 4 begins with a foreward by Annie Potts, who plays Bo Peep. She almost did not take the role in Toy Story as she was “overwhelmed with work and two young children” and didn’t do cartoons. That changed when she saw the Pixar shorts she was sent, and Bo Peep was cast.

Director Josh Cooley handles the introduction, which talks about creating a 4th Toy Story film in what seemed to be a trilogy.

That is where full pages of text end. The Art of Toy Story 4 is EXTREMELY light on text, which is somewhat of a disappointment because I like to read what went through the filmmakers mind. There is plenty of gorgeous concept art and digital storyboards, but just tiny bits of text every so often. In fact, a number of the small text boxes talk about something cool, like artwork showing Ollie Johnston as a character in the film. But we learn at the end of the text that this got cut from the movie. There is also a story on Bo Peep and it sounded really cool and THAT got cut. But there are also a couple of paragraphs of text talking about the change to Bo Peep, how she is now more at the forefront and is more independent.

Forky was created by a “Forkshop” instead of drawings. They brought together the crew to make a project and eventually Forky was created.

There are about 150 pages of concept art, some with descriptions. The artwork and storyboards of course are beautiful and after seeing the movie, will make sense. But right now – before seeing Toy Story 4 – it is just a beautiful collection of artwork with certainly no spoilers because very little is shared about the film itself. I don’t feel like I know Toy Story 4 much from the book – but once I see the movie, I can appreciate each new character and what the artwork represents.

While I enjoy concept art and do enjoy looking at it even without much text, I honestly prefer the books with a lot more writing (for example, The Art of Moana is wonderful) – whether there are spoilers or not. Many of the older books were so text rich. Even The Art of Ralph Breaks the Internet, while light on text, offered tiny blurbs every page or two that moved the book along.

I recommend The Art of Toy Story 4 for those who really are just looking mostly for concept art – and there will be those of you who will be, and there is plenty to enjoy. I hope future books move back to a combination of more text with the concept art (which can also make for less concept art, but I’m happy with the balance of both).


This review includes affiliate links.