February 6, 2023
Book Review | The Art of Toy Story 4

Carl opens the toy box for a rendezvous with Buzz and Woody in Chronicle Books’ majestic new artwork showpiece

There’s is nothing more satisfying than a good old fashioned ‘Making Of’ book. As a film buff, it’s a necessary tool for me. The Star Wars ones are the ones the rest aspire to be. All are lovingly detailed and never fail to reveal hidden secrets the casual viewer or even the hardcore fans may miss. It also makes the films that much more enjoyable with the knowledge of what went on behind the scenes, about how much effort was put into producing the final product ready to be delivered to your local movie screen for your enjoyment.

The Art of Toy Story 4 | By Josh Cooley

Book Review | The Art of Toy Story 4

Chronicle Books have published a new volume to go into my collection. The Art Of Toy Story 4 does exactly what it says on the cover. It goes into every minute detail about the film and its whole design, concept and production. No element is left in the darkness, all are dragged into the light for the reader and fan alike to enjoy. Concept photos and drawings are unveiled for us all to see alongside the finished product that we will see on screen. All our favourite characters and their new friends are here, giving us a fantastic look at what the film will contain.

With a winning foreword written by actress Annie Potts (Ghostbusters) who plays Bo Peep in the films, the book is enchanting. Potts describes the first time she was approached to voice the character, about how she was tired after working all day and coming home to her young son who was watching a video that was sent to her by John Lasseter. She goes into detail about how she told her agents she ‘Don’t really do cartoons’ and how her agents told her to watch Lasseter’s short animated films. And how she was hooked as soon as she finished watching them and almost falling over and injuring herself as she ran to call her agents to accept the offer presented to her. The rest is history.

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Opposite her foreword is a wonderful digital painting of Bo and Woody together by John Lee. Although it is just a painting, just by looking at it brings the reader back to the memories and wonderment of childhood playing. I defy anyone to not think back and remember playing with their toys in such an innocent and joyful manner.

The director of the film, Josh Cooley has written the introduction to the book. Here he discusses the emotions people gave him when he said he was going to make Toy Story 4. They ranged from sheer delight to utter confusion. Many people saying ‘Wasn’t the third film the end of the saga?’. He explains how every ending is a new beginning and how he wanted to explore a new start for Woody and his friends. He describes how he could have filled twenty volumes of the book with the ideas that were conceived and rejected over the years. And how he wanted to make the film, to bring Woody and company back again. Opposite his introduction is some of Cooley’s story drawings of Woody. The second our eyes see the drawings, we cannot help but smile as one of our favourite characters in various poses and facial expressions greets us with pure joy.

Book Review | The Art of Toy Story 4

Throughout the book, digital paintings, ink pen and digital colour and story drawings adorn the pages and bring the characters to life for us all to enjoy. All our favourites are here alongside digitally created human characters. All look completely perfect and we find ourselves impatient to see them on the screen, to see them moving and speaking and bringing both us and our children a sense of wonder and childish excitement. Every aspect of the backgrounds in the scenes is also well represented here, giving us, even more, to admire when the film opens.

Book Review | The Art of Toy Story 4

Final Thoughts:

The Art Of Toy Story 4 is a wonderful book. It shows us all the hard work and dedication that went into the production and design of the film and is a must have for any serious film fan or budding artist alike. There’s much to be enjoyed here for the casual reader and much for budding artists to help inspire their imagination and give them something to aspire to. It brings the world of animation and the audience closer and in that respect, the book triumphs magnificently.

The Art of Toy Story 4 by Josh Cooley is published by Chronicle Books and is available to buy now.


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