I have loved the art of Brian Froud ever since I first saw The Dark Crystal back when it first came out. Before that, I had been unaware of his art. The World of the Dark Crystal gathers much of the concept art from the film, along with a few images from the film, and presents it as a translation of the ancient “Book of Aughra” (Aughra was the witch from the film, you may recall) as well as various petroglyphs, with accompanying commentary from J.J. Llewelyn.
The book is heavy. Some art books use lighter papers and bindings, but not this one. It is very solid, and it is obvious a lot of care went into the design and layout of the book and pages. The pages are large, about 13.5″ x 11″, so plenty of room for sharing large images and a lot of text. The text is very easy to read, a soft medium brown that complements the slightly off-white pages. Kudos to Rupert Brown on a job well done with that.
There are full-color pages throughout The World of the Dark Crystal (probably at least half of them), and the colors are vivid when they are supposed to be, and soft and light when reproducing sketches and pencil works. The reproduction of the artwork is is very clean, with crisp lines. Some of the art is reproduced on vellum, allowing it to interact with the art on the following page.
As I mentioned before, The Dark Crystal is one of my favorite films. I loved the design of the world, how real it felt, and I have always loved the work of Jim Henson. He is truly a puppet master like few (none?) others. His collaborations with Brian Froud created some truly amazing results, and having them presented here as if discovered by an archaeologist just drew me further into the world.
I found it fascinating to learn more about the world-building behind this film. If you love Brian Froud’s art, or if you love Jim Henson’s work, or you just love The Dark Crystal, then The World of the Dark Crystal is a great way to get even more immersed into that world. I highly recommend this art volume.
Release Date: May 2003 (USA)
ISBNs: 0810945797 (9780810945791)
Publisher: The Jim Henson Company / Harry N. Abrams
Violence: 0 (though some scary images)