Book Review: “The Art of Luca” Showcases Beauty of Disney and Pixar Animated Film

Hi everyone!

I received “The Art of Luca” to review, with artwork from the upcoming Disney and Pixar animated film about two boys who are sea monsters experiencing an “unforgettable summer” on land while harboring their secret. The movie will debut on Disney+ June 18th. The trailers I’ve seen for “Luca” reveal a vibrant, lovingly crafted film and “The Art of Luca” bears that out over its 176 pages.

The foreword is by director Enrico Casarosa, who talks about the relationship with his best friend in childhood named Alberto (in the film, Luca’s friend is also named Alberto). The boys met when they were both 11 in Italy. Aberto was the more adventurous of the two, and Enrico’s favorite memories are summers visiting the Italian Riviera where he and Alberto jumped off sea cliffs, ate gelato and and bonded. It is clear the film was inspired by their friendship.

The introduction is by production designer Daniela Strijleva. She describes their research time in Italy where Enrico guided them the team through the places he spent his boyhood summers. She calls the book a love letter to the artists who worked with “passion and love for years”.

Also in the introduction, she mentions Enrico’s early watercolors. There is a lot of beautiful watercolor artwork in “The Art of Luca” that showcases the stunning Italian setting.

From “The Art of Luca”, Foreword by Enrico Casarosa, Introduction by Daniela Strijleva, published by Chronicle Books. Page 161, Enrico Casarosa, pencil and watercolor [out of picture].

The Art of Luca” starts with a chapter called Underwater, where we see concept art of the characters before they emerge on land. There is not a lot of dialogue to the book after the foreword and introduction, but small blurbs that move the book along. For example, one blurb talks about how Luca has big, round eyes – the largest of any character in the film because “Luca leads with his eyes”. Sea monster Luca is inspired by reef fish. We then see concept art of Luca as he receives a human form. This chapter also talks about the creation of sea folk homes and how the filmmakers wanted to capture the aqua color of the water of the Cinque Terre.

From “The Art of Luca”, Foreword by Enrico Casarosa, Introduction by Daniela Strijleva, published by Chronicle Books. Page 51, Daniel López Muñoz, digital paint (top).

The next chapter is Island and focuses on the characters while on land, before heading into the final chapter called Portorosso, which is more in-depth with new sights and characters. Portorosso is based on the Cinque Terre villages of Italy, where everyone knows each other. Strijleva says that it is the slice-of-life quality that they wanted to capture.

Another main character profiled is Giulia, an Italian girl who spends summers in Portorosso. She befriends Luca and Alberto on their quest for a Vespa, while not knowing their real identities.

From “The Art of Luca”, Foreword by Enrico Casarosa, Introduction by Daniela Strijleva, published by Chronicle Books. Page 97, Daniela Strijleva, ink and digital paint.

The piazza was designed “with three sides of buildings opening up to the sea, like a theater set”. There are quite a few pages on the village – and quite frankly, it makes me want to return to Italy and explore this area.

The Art of Luca” is a beautiful book that will give more insight into the film. But…it isn’t wordy at all, most of what you will learn come from the artwork along with the blurbs. I wish there was more written materials, I always enjoy reading along with the art. That said, this gorgeous book makes me want to see the movie even more and to visit the inspiration for the film.

Information from the publisher about “The Art of Luca“:

This vibrant volume is an exclusive look behind the scenes of Disney and Pixar’s original feature film Luca.

The Art of Luca explores the stunning visuals of the coming-of-age story, set in a beautiful seaside town on the Italian Riviera. Readers get a front-row view at never-before-seen development art, character sketches, storyboards, color scripts, and interviews with the creators.

• Behind the scenes of the making of Disney and Pixar’s Luca
• Features colorful concept art and character explorations from the movie
• Includes fascinating facts and details from the creative team

In the animated film, Luca and his newfound best friend are sharing an unforgettable summer and a deeply-held secret: they are sea monsters from a world just below the water’s surface.

For aspiring artists, animators, and fans alike, The Art of Luca is part of the acclaimed ART OF series, inviting audiences behind the scenes of their favorite animated films.


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