Disney’s latest movie, Raya and the Last Dragon, dropped to theaters and Disney+ on March 5. If you fell in love with the Southeast Asian-inspired land of Kumandra the way that I did, The Art of Raya and the Last Dragon from Chronicle Books belongs on your bookshelf!
As a huge Kelly Marie Tran fan, I was so excited for Raya that I took the day off work and bullied the person with the biggest TV in my bubble to let me have a movie day. The action, animation, and food told a beautiful story that I have admittedly already watched a few times.
The world that the film’s team created for the film is so intricate that it can’t be contained in just a movie. While art books are nice for any Disney or Pixar release, I would go a step further in this case. If you really want to grow your understanding of the film, The Art of Raya and the Last Dragon is essential.
Not only does it go into typical animation details like deciding what the villainous Druun would look like, but it also explains the culture of each tribe that makes up the land of Kumandra.
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Journey through Kumandra
Each group has its own section of the book where you can see the detailed layout of its village, its color palette, fabric choices, and other things that make it unique. For example, did you know that Spine’s bamboo can grow to be as thick as redwood trees?
The Art of Raya and the Last Dragon also takes a very close look at individual character design and how it lit links back to the tribe a character is from. Raya is from the land of Heart, which loves all things tied to the water and dragons.
The traveling clothes she wears for most of the movie might seem pretty ordinary, but if you look closer you can see the raindrop pattern inside her cape and the dragon motifs on the trim of her pants.
If you’re filing that information away for Disneybounding, you should also know that the Dragon Gem was modeled on an opal.
I’m not going to lie, when I was reading the book for this review, I fell in love hard with the concept art for Heart. I want to live in the beautiful drawings that Mingjue Helen Chen made of the palace and the Dragon Gem’s sanctuary. Her kitchen layout and little details made me hungry, even after I’d already had dinner.
I also adored the pages dedicated to the movie’s prologue and epilogue. I don’t want to spoil things for anyone who hasn’t seen Raya and the Last Dragon, but the film is bookended by two pieces of special animation and it was great to get a closer look at the artwork.
True movie buffs will also appreciate that The Art of Raya and the Last Dragon has a fold-out color script for the whole film, as well as the character studies that almost made the movie change its name to Baby Tuk Tuk and the Last Dragon.
I mean, I can totally relate. The minute the credits rolled I was ordering a Funko Pop of Tuk Tuk.
The Art of Raya and the Last Dragon
Disney art books always complement their films and enhance the watching experience, but in the case of The Art of Raya and the Last Dragon, this book is key to totally understanding its world. This beautiful and fun tome is available on March 16 from Chronicle Books.
Will YOU be picking up a copy of The Art of Raya and The Last Dragon for yourself? Are there any other Disney art books you’d like to see us cover? Tell us in the comments of our Facebook page!