The Art and Making of Aquaman

In The Art and Making of Aquaman, author Mike Avila takes readers under the waves and beyond to show the staggering amount of special effects work, design, planning and more that went into creating James Wan‘s undersea superhero flick Aquaman. We have an exclusive look at art from the book below, as well as a few excerpts.

“Shooting this film presented challenges that I’ve never quite experienced on any of my projects before,” James Wan writes in the introduction to The Art and Making of Aquaman. “Namely, trying to create the illusion of living, breathing and talking underwater. This task required extensive stung rigging and personnel and a great deal of patience and training on the part of the cast. When you’re shooting a movie set beneath the sea, even your basic conversation between characters can be a major undertaking. Despite how much blue-screen work there was, we shot as much as possible with practical sets; there’s just something tangible about having real props and sets that the actors can interact with. Our entire cast did an amazing job enduring long hours in uncomfortable rigs while still managing to bring forward compelling, strong performances.”

The new art book, being released from Insight Editions on January 1, 2019, offers a wonderful, detailed glimpse into the challenges Wan and company faced. In anticipation of the impending release, we have some exclusive art from the book for you below, along with accompanying text.


Aquaman may not be the first time Jason Momoa has appeared on-screen as Arthur Curry, but this film is essentially Aquaman’s origin story, which was consciously left out of his past screen outings. “If you had already seen it in Justice League, then it wouldn’t be the same thing,” notes Wan. “It was important to the growth of the character that we got to tell this story.” The director worked with screenwriter Will Beall and executive producer Geoff Johns to reveal Aquaman’s journey across the years, with various flashbacks used to show the manifestation of Arthur’s powers. One flashback shows a young Arthur first noticing his unique abilities during a visit to the Boston Aquarium. It also reveals how other kids made fun of him for “talking with fish.”

Boston Aquarium concept art by Brad Nielsen

 

Breakthroughs in modern CGI have benefited high-concept productions like Aquaman because they allow filmmakers to save several steps. “We don’t have to build a whole spaceship anymore. We don’t have to build a whole throne room,” says [Production Designer Bill] Brzeski. “We just have to build the parts that human beings interact with.” But the Hollywood veteran is quick to offer up that modern technology, despite all its advantages, doesn’t make moviemaking easier. The concept artists still have to draw every tiny nuance, every background image. The computer graphics don’t create the design; they just execute the vision of the filmmakers. And Brezeski’s team still had to build dozens of practical sets during the production, including the arena stage. “It doesn’t let you off the hook in terms of designing anything. The digital world never lets you off the hook,” he said. “Actually, it gets more complicated.”

Gladiator battle concept art by Brad Nielsen.

You can pick up a copy of The Art and Making of Aquaman here.

Insight Editions is pleased to announce The Art and Making of Aquaman (Insight Editions; January 1, 2019; $45.00), a behind-the-scenes look at the new movie chronicling Arthur Curry’s path to a future as King of the Seven Seas.

The Art and Making of Aquaman takes readers behind the scenes of the highly anticipated 2018 Warner Bros. Pictures film based on the popular DC character, the first Aquaman standalone film to date. Featuring previously unseen photographs and breathtaking concept art, this book is a must-have for any fan.

Readers can follow along with the production team as these skilled artists create a unique undersea world for the big screen. Exclusive interviews highlight a comprehensive narrative that flows through this stunning collection of concept sketches, storyboards, set and costume photography, and effects imagery.

The movie is one of 2018’s most anticipated, directed by James Wan, and starring an all-star cast of Jason Momoa, Amber Heard, Willem Dafoe, Patrick Wilson, Dolph Lundgren, Ludi Lin, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Temuera Morrison and Nicole Kidman.

aquaman art book

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