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Steven Universe: Art & Origins

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The Art of Steven Universe is the first book to take fans behind the scenes of the groundbreaking and boundlessly creative Cartoon Network animated series Steven Universe. The eponymous Steven is a boy who—alongside his mentors, the Crystal Gems (Garnet, Amethyst, and Pearl)—must learn to use his inherited powers to protect his home, Beach City, from the forces of evil. Bu The Art of Steven Universe is the first book to take fans behind the scenes of the groundbreaking and boundlessly creative Cartoon Network animated series Steven Universe. The eponymous Steven is a boy who—alongside his mentors, the Crystal Gems (Garnet, Amethyst, and Pearl)—must learn to use his inherited powers to protect his home, Beach City, from the forces of evil. Bursting with concept art, production samples, early sketches, storyboards, and exclusive commentary, this lavishly illustrated companion book offers a meticulous written and visual history of the show, as well as an all-access tour of the creative team’s process. The Art of Steven Universe reveals how creator Rebecca Sugar, the writers, the animators, and the voice actors work in tandem to bring this adventure-packed television series to life.


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The Art of Steven Universe is the first book to take fans behind the scenes of the groundbreaking and boundlessly creative Cartoon Network animated series Steven Universe. The eponymous Steven is a boy who—alongside his mentors, the Crystal Gems (Garnet, Amethyst, and Pearl)—must learn to use his inherited powers to protect his home, Beach City, from the forces of evil. Bu The Art of Steven Universe is the first book to take fans behind the scenes of the groundbreaking and boundlessly creative Cartoon Network animated series Steven Universe. The eponymous Steven is a boy who—alongside his mentors, the Crystal Gems (Garnet, Amethyst, and Pearl)—must learn to use his inherited powers to protect his home, Beach City, from the forces of evil. Bursting with concept art, production samples, early sketches, storyboards, and exclusive commentary, this lavishly illustrated companion book offers a meticulous written and visual history of the show, as well as an all-access tour of the creative team’s process. The Art of Steven Universe reveals how creator Rebecca Sugar, the writers, the animators, and the voice actors work in tandem to bring this adventure-packed television series to life.

30 review for Steven Universe: Art & Origins

  1. 5 out of 5

    Sophie Crane

    Absolutely Brilliant!! It really gives you an insight into how the show is made, as well as the origins of it (unsurprisingly, given the title) Loads of awesome concept drawings for characters (some of which we've never seen in the show), unused episode ideas, amazing background art, notes Rebecca wrote about the plot and characters early on... It's a very appealing book, the cover is beautiful, and it's great that it's hardback, it's a nice size; although you might need a magnifying glass to read Absolutely Brilliant!! It really gives you an insight into how the show is made, as well as the origins of it (unsurprisingly, given the title) Loads of awesome concept drawings for characters (some of which we've never seen in the show), unused episode ideas, amazing background art, notes Rebecca wrote about the plot and characters early on... It's a very appealing book, the cover is beautiful, and it's great that it's hardback, it's a nice size; although you might need a magnifying glass to read some of the scrawled notes!

  2. 5 out of 5

    Swankivy

    Steven Universe: Art and Origins is not just an art book--it's also a collection of early material, a reveal of many initial concepts, and an amazing experience to sort through. In my review I'll give you a description of the structure and overview, while also collecting notable information for fans. Obviously just about everything is "notable" with a book of this magnitude, so this may get long, but I'll try to include anecdotes that have some unique insight or perspective on the main source ma Steven Universe: Art and Origins is not just an art book--it's also a collection of early material, a reveal of many initial concepts, and an amazing experience to sort through. In my review I'll give you a description of the structure and overview, while also collecting notable information for fans. Obviously just about everything is "notable" with a book of this magnitude, so this may get long, but I'll try to include anecdotes that have some unique insight or perspective on the main source material--with as little of "OMG this was the original idea for this!" as possible. The overview: After a foreword from Rebecca Sugar and an introduction from Genndy Tartakovsky, we get Part 1: Origins. This contains some narratives about Rebecca Sugar's early life as an artist--inspiration, family, college projects--all illustrated, of course, with childhood photos and early art. Rebecca mentions having wanted to bury her femininity for a while, but coming back to draw female forms and include dancing after she learned to sort through her issues using art. Her college education and connections with other artists are discussed--some in interview format, some in narrative--and there is some background regarding her time on Adventure Time. The story moves on to talking about developing the pilot and what went into her character and plot ideas. Character design is discussed in depth, with Rebecca giving initial sketches to a design team and developing the characters' initial pilot look. Some really slick promo art is shared--posters, sketches, great concepts that were designed to bring in new viewers and make them curious about the show. The pilot succeeded in getting the green light to develop it into a TV series. Part 2 discusses the show's Green Light and Development. Rebecca and some of the other crew, in interview format, talk about getting the team together and allowing for both nailed-down character essentials and flexibility for the writers to explore and collaborate. Developing the setting was also a big part of the to-do list; coming up with Beach City itself, its businesses, its residents, and also the creatures the Gems would fight. Some cute stories are shared about the early Crewniverse hanging out at a cabin and talking about the show all the time, hashing it out. There are some great, loose character model sheets for early versions of Greg, Connie, Sadie and Lars, and the four main characters. Part 3 is about Character Design. They discuss how the pilot got released and fans grew attached to what they initially looked like, only to be "outraged" by the changes, making tons of assumptions about who was controlling the process. Rebecca shares some thoughts on her development process and her philosophy on letting different artists draw the characters differently while gripping onto specifics she set. Main, palette, and distance models are discussed, with some technical details of what different artists do on the team and how they handle props or special poses. There are many sheets of how to draw the Gems on model (with pointers on what NOT to do), and then there are some Homeworld Gem ideas that didn't get used, and finally, some sketches and concept art for Lapis Lazuli, Peridot, Jasper, and Bismuth. Part 4 is on Writing and Storyboarding. More Crewniverse interviews provide insight into the process, including how much is revised from the early days and how collaborative everything is. Some specific episodes, like "Ocean Gem," "Monster Buddies," and "Island Adventure" are put into perspective with how they were written by the group. There's heavy discussion of how the process works and why processes that work on other shows wouldn't work here, and what "rules" are firm and what's just a suggestion, and what's changed as the show's plot became more complex and important. Steven still having access to the "side" stories, the ones that involve Beach City humans and non-world-shaking stakes, is still very important to the story that the original Crew wants to tell. Cute images from the Crew's thumbnail storyboards, Gem designing, and technology designing workshops are shared too. There's some good continued discussion of concepts in Part 4, especially about fusion and relationships and the larger message the show is sending. How do you tell a story and why? There are many answers to that, and sometimes it's about fun and sometimes it's about a message and sometimes it's about wanting to make an episode about something you've never seen a cartoon do before--something specific to you that other people can suddenly see represented. One of my favorite parts of it is when they discuss Steven discovering the Gems' weaknesses over time and having that NOT make him think less of them--more like he admires them for being strong enough to shoulder the burdens he didn't know they were carrying before. Storyboarder Lamar Abrams talks about the importance of growing up not just being about becoming bitter, and I really like that. Part 5 is on Sound and Vision. There's some history of how they found the voice actors for the major roles, and some of the actors give perspectives on their relationship and experience on the show. Aivi and Surasshu, as the composers, discuss their process as well, with some anecdotes and discussions of why musical palettes work better for characters instead of assigning them themes. Places and objects have their own sounds too. Part 6 covers Background Design and Painting. Steven Sugar takes the stage and explains general background thoughts as well as specifics for certain settings. His focus on detail is really fascinating to read about--it's really him who nails down the locations in Beach City and where an outlet is in a house on the wall. The directors and other Crewniverse folks discuss the use of color and background items in the show, and how they use it to create mood or feel changeable enough to be real. Part 7 discusses Animation and Post, with a spotlight on the work they do in Korea at animation studios Sunmin and Rough Draft. The process is described--how and when the material is transformed from animatics to animated cartoons. Nick DeMayo discusses timing and adding the sound effects and whatnot. There's also some design instruction that's provided to the animators in Korea. Some special highlighted drawings and pieces, like the "C.L.O.D.S." zine or some keys for Ruby and Sapphire, are included. Even the bumpers and end tag animations are discussed here. And of course they had to mention a couple very special episodes, such as when Takafumi Hori from Studio Trigger came in to do "Mindful Education," or when they did the musical episode, "Mr. Greg." And Part 8 is called "Onward." The intention of the section is unclear at first based on the title of the chapter, but you can quickly see they're discussing the forward-thinking message the show has--how its representation of its creators' experiences has also struck a chord with people who wanted and NEEDED its diversity. Lauren Zuke says a very wise thing when she states that she wants the show to provide "insight . . . not a solution." That's one thing this show does well; it spotlights problems and situations and feelings, but only shows you how those things can be dealt with, not necessarily how they SHOULD, in all cases, be dealt with. Representation matters, and seeing evidence that you are a part of this world when you're from a marginalized or underrepresented group is valuable in a way that you can only know if you DON'T have it. The show's writers also weigh in on good vs. evil and how it's too black and white; that we needed a show with nuance, and has a message of love and tolerance. Kat Morris acknowledges that there are more important things than making a feelsy and entertaining piece of media, but as she says, the point is to let people see themselves in something and be challenged. And the creators are able to see at conventions and online that people are responding emotionally, viscerally, to their work. It puts a lot of pressure on an artist to do it right, but in the words of Dogcopter, "Just be true to yourself and people will appreciate your honesty." The book closes with some photos of the Crew and a few more pages of art. And it kinda leaves you with a squishy feeling. :D Notable: 1. I was relieved to see Rebecca state it plainly in the foreword: the items you see from the development phases of this show are not to be taken as canon or as "real" insights into how you should interpret it now. She specifically mentioned that she does not consider the Gems "girls" or "goddesses," and that was particularly important to me. Throughout, you're supposed to see the contributed bits and in-development pieces in the context of what they were: early drafts, embryonic. We all become different from what we were even though we grew from it and may have roots in it still, but that doesn't mean you can point at the seed and say its flower is meant to be understood surrounded by dirt. 2. The original designs for the Gems fluctuated a lot, and in a couple cases even names flopped around. An early name for Garnet was "Onyx," and if you've seen the pilot, you know Pearl got her signature nose later and Garnet's hair took a while to become the splendid square afro. Amethyst seems to have changed the least. Themes were given to them initially (like Amethyst being "flora and fauna," which you can sort of see in her pilot intro with her lying on big cats). You can still see some of the original intentions in how the ideas manifested, but the first ideas do not gel particularly well with what the show became. This is particularly interesting because non-creatives commonly think creative people simply receive inspiration and birth their creations into the world wholesale. Inspiration exists, but it's much more common to take an inspired idea and REALLY WORK ON IT. This book's origins section does a great job showing how that works. 3. Some early sketched-out ideas for episodes seem very far from what would fit into the show now (such as an idea for an episode where Pearl is obsessed with the pizza guy??), but one seems to be the roots of "Bubble Buddies," which implies that Steven's original crush was "Priyanka" instead of Connie. (That's now Connie's mother's name.) 4. The pilot's title was "The Time Thing." 5. Initial notes for Garnet say she should have the coolest shoes of the three, that she's commanding and outer-spacey and also weird, and that she's inspired by Grace Jones, boy Michael Jackson, and Estelle in "I Can Be a Freak." Initial notes for Amethyst insist on the "fanny pack" pouch and suggest her clothes are cut, her hair is in chunks, and she should have an animal theme with a wild texture. Initial notes for Pearl indicate a desire to have her opposite Amethyst in her formal way of dressing and needing to have an outfit that would allow her to be hung upside down, possibly with a pearl stone theme for baubles in her hair. (Rebecca indicated she needed the most help with Pearl.) 6. Early versions of the show included the idea that the Gems might be trying to hide being Gems in public, and that they kept magic away from Steven for the most part instead of encouraging him to use it. A "lost" episode about Steven summoning his shield (later incorporated into the episode "Gem Glow") had him saving Greg with it and dreaming about his mother, and having Pearl drive a crappy old car (later incorporated into "Last One Out of Beach City"). Rebecca and Ian reveal that the dream Steven had in it was used a little in "Rose's Room," and that a song called "The Meatball Sub Song" was involved which could have contributed to the show getting picked up despite that we never got to hear it. (Imagine that, Steven singing about food!) 7. There's a note in the early character design section that says "the girls can all turn into Steven" with an accompanying illustration of Garnet, Amethyst, and Pearl shapeshifted as him. Cute, because we actually got to see them do this in the episode "Keep Beach City Weird" with the exception of Pearl, though there's no reason she shouldn't be able to do it--she just doesn't. 8. Rebecca Sugar shares an anecdote about thinking there was a "best" way to draw that was objectively correct (influenced by some art-school stuff), and through that she arrived at the idea that Pearl was a cone, Amethyst was a sphere, and Garnet was a cube, because all of those things say something about who they are (pointedness, fluidness, stability). She evolved from that idea to a more flexibile idea of how drawing works for different artists, but that was part of what helped her nail the characters down. Steven, eventually, was fixed to having a heart-shaped face. 9. The Tiger Millionaire and Purple Puma flyer shown in the episode "Tiger Millionaire," presented as something Steven drew, was actually drawn by Lily DeMayo (daughter of Nick DeMayo, animation director) when she was seven. 10. Guides are made for the Crew to use featuring reminders on drawing the characters. It's kind of adorable to see common drawing errors or misconceptions or inconsistent details discussed in a how-to format for the people who actually work there. 11. A timeline exists for the show and it encompasses TWENTY THOUSAND YEARS of Gem and human history. It was too spoilery to be in the book, but there is a LOT of lore that is laid down, and this tool mentioned in Part 4 established that this document is referenced often to make events make sense in the timeline. 12. It's been established before, but Amethyst's origin in Earth's Prime Kindergarten was not initially known as part of her character when she was invented, and that was discussed in Part 4 of this book--how the writing retreats the Crew takes to discuss the story sometimes result in huge revelations like this. "Oh, that makes sense, that's why we wrote her like that" is one of those things I recognize as a writer--you know a character has a certain vibe, but you don't know what explains it. You just trust that something does. And eventually, sometimes you find out what it is and it all makes sense. Interesting to know they did this with Amethyst. 13. "Lars and Sadie make out even though they're not together" was the basic idea for making "Island Adventure." And the original idea for "Onion Friend" had a "Grandma Shallot" character. The writers sometimes play writing games to brainstorm, and those were shared. Some ideas for a story which was later used in "Future Boy Zoltron," covering Mr. Smiley's romance/comedy partnership with an old flame, were shared with more emphasis on the characters being lovers. Garnet's part in the story was more explicit too, with her giving people future predictions that are not at all nice or gently delivered, and they have to shut down the business in the wake of Garnet's badassery. Weird. Other ideas were used but not as they're presented, like one where Greg learns about fusion from the Gems (but witnessed the fusion of Pearl and Amethyst, not Pearl and Rose), and a complicated one where cross-Gem fusion is a new idea in a flashback and Rose wants Garnet to fuse with her to teach her about it but she's too unsure of her own fusion relationship as such to risk it. The idea was that Pearl would be jealous and Pearl, Rose, and Garnet would actually fuse in the episode. This has not been done in the show. 14. Rebecca Sugar apparently just pops up with concepts she wants the writers to work in. Like "I want Steven to be in a mushroom forest" (which hasn't happened yet) or "I want Steven to have cats on his fingers" (which, obviously, happened early on). Rebecca gets little concepts that are sort of dreamlike, and they figure out which episode they can put them in. Working those things in sometimes seems like as much of a priority as getting plot elements in! 15. I like that they dish a bit about the fan reaction to Garnet's Fusion status. They thought they were being a little too obvious to not get caught, but Ian said the fans figured it out and then got bored of the idea and decided it must be even more complicated than that. People were apparently worried that Garnet would be replaced by her component Gems in the story if she were to unfuse, but obviously since Ruby and Sapphire want to be together, that doesn't happen. 16. Kat Morris's "rules" as discussed in Part 4 are "Garnet never asks questions" and "the story has to stay in Steven's perspective." I love how strict they are about Garnet not asking questions (except in the episode "The Answer," though there have been a couple ~technical~ questions from her; she usually just finds a way to ask a question with a statement, like "tell me what you saw"). 17. A great quote from Lauren Zuke on the incidentally queer content of the Gems' relationships and gender: "Personally, I'm happy to not have to think, 'I'm writing a character based on my queer experiences.' That would be so hard! I'm just writing from my perspective, and I happen to be queer. I think that's what makes the show feel natural when it comes to that. It's a fine line between defining something so that people are aware it exists, which is so important, but also letting it breathe, so it's not forever contained in a box labeled 'queer media.'" 18. In Part 5, Michaela Dietz relates her experiences as an adoptee to relate to what Amethyst deals with as an "adoptee" into the Crystal Gem family without knowing where she really came from or what it means to be a part of that. She's said this before in some other interviews and panels, so it's not new in general, but it's probably new in print. Deedee Magno Hall, who plays Pearl, obviously relates to Pearl's maternal nature. 19. Tom Scharpling and Charlyne Yi were voice actors that Rebecca specifically had in mind for her characters (Greg and Ruby respectively). Rebecca's illustrated letter to Charlyne explaining Ruby and Sapphire's relationship and Ruby's role on the show is really adorable. 20. Music nerds like me will very much appreciate the photographed notes on music motifs--the Diamonds each have a solfège syllable and a chord (White is F#M7/Sol, Yellow is BM7/Fa, Blue is EM7/Fa, and Pink is AM7/Mi), and Steven's powers and modes are coded with instruments and styles. 21. Some world maps provide new possible insights. Greenland in our world is Blueland in theirs. South America is called Pangea. Aqua Mexico is labeled about where Mexico is in our world. India is the Indian Islands. There's an Australia and a New Australia. A big sea in the middle of Asia is called the Tunguska Sea. Rose's Fountain is in Spain or Portugal; the Sky Spire and Strawberry Battlefield are in Norway; the Shooting Star Shrine is in the middle of the drastically different Asian continent; the Galaxy Warp is in the Tunguska Sea; the Lunar Sea Spire is off the coast of Canada; Mask Island is in the Atlantic near Beach City; the Comm Relay is in the Western United States. 22. It was known from interviews that Shelby Rabara (voice of Peridot) is a dancer and provided the foot sounds and coaching to create the short tap number in the episode "Mr. Greg." But what's great is here, there's a visual reference included! Photos of Shelby doing the dance are lined up next to the drawings of Pearl and Steven in the "Mr. Greg" number doing the steps! She poses in dance moves with her husband for the Greg/Pearl dance for "Both of You" too. 23. There's a really cute story in the last section about Amber Cragg ascending from fan to Crewniverse member through posting Pearl art in response to the pilot and eventually getting contacted to take a board test. That is the kind of thing so many online artists dream of!

  3. 4 out of 5

    Morgan

    If I had t pick a favorite TV show of all time, Steven Universe would be my answer right now. It has everything I want for a show I love. This is an art book with beautiful drawings and early concepts, but t's also a look inside animation and dream jobs for many. Who knew a 15 minute cartoon could take so long to make. At time I wish this show was longer, but after reading this I can see why it not longer. This show is really detailed about everything too. So much goes into making a gem who they If I had t pick a favorite TV show of all time, Steven Universe would be my answer right now. It has everything I want for a show I love. This is an art book with beautiful drawings and early concepts, but t's also a look inside animation and dream jobs for many. Who knew a 15 minute cartoon could take so long to make. At time I wish this show was longer, but after reading this I can see why it not longer. This show is really detailed about everything too. So much goes into making a gem who they are from the voice, outfits, colors, and even the music. I love how most of the show is pre-planned too. I get the feeling Sugar knows the ending already (if and when that will ever be). It should be noted this book has some major spoilers if you're not caught up with he show. Otherwise, if your a fan of the show, this book is a must read.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Jorge Rosas

    A wonderful insight to the creative process, from the original idea and drawing to the third season and how they got there. We get to know the team and their ideas for the show, some hidden truths, how they react to the fan base, how they are so far ahead from what we see, the evolution from the pilot and all the marvelous things that happened since then. A definite must read for the fans of the show, a bit of a warning… this book is big and heavy so that might complicate things for a continual A wonderful insight to the creative process, from the original idea and drawing to the third season and how they got there. We get to know the team and their ideas for the show, some hidden truths, how they react to the fan base, how they are so far ahead from what we see, the evolution from the pilot and all the marvelous things that happened since then. A definite must read for the fans of the show, a bit of a warning… this book is big and heavy so that might complicate things for a continual reading.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Lätizia

    I love this book so much! I enjoyed reading the interview with the Crewniverse. I liked that they explained Things such as the Music or the colour schemes for each Scene so well, plus, super great art. Much love.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    I wish I could make this book last forever. Each page has a wonderful adorable new story/image/tidbit. If you love Steven Universe, you will love this book!!

  7. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca

    When my husband and I started watching SU, we knew we were in for something special, unique and pure, and this book inexplicably shows how this special, unique and pure series is what it is. Every ounce of hard work, energy, determination, and ultimately love and soul (so much love and soul) from each member of the production team puts into SU absolutely shows in the final product. You know they care because you can see and feel it. Reading this book has not only been enlightening but a sheer jo When my husband and I started watching SU, we knew we were in for something special, unique and pure, and this book inexplicably shows how this special, unique and pure series is what it is. Every ounce of hard work, energy, determination, and ultimately love and soul (so much love and soul) from each member of the production team puts into SU absolutely shows in the final product. You know they care because you can see and feel it. Reading this book has not only been enlightening but a sheer joy, emanating positivity and all the good feels.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Rhiannon

    This book is a must read for any Steven Universe lover. It details the origins, a brief history of Rebecca Sugar, how it is animated, and the rest of the crewniverse. Steven Universe: Art & Origins gave me more information about the unique show that has captured my interest since I first discovered it. When reading about the origins, there were details that completely surprised me (I'll leave that for you to discover) I loved Peridot's concept art, learning how they did the music for the episode This book is a must read for any Steven Universe lover. It details the origins, a brief history of Rebecca Sugar, how it is animated, and the rest of the crewniverse. Steven Universe: Art & Origins gave me more information about the unique show that has captured my interest since I first discovered it. When reading about the origins, there were details that completely surprised me (I'll leave that for you to discover) I loved Peridot's concept art, learning how they did the music for the episode "Gem Drill" and the section looking at the art for the episode, "The Answer". A true lover of Steven Universe can not be content to simply watch the episodes. There is so more to this story than what we see on the screen. A true fan wants to know every detail, and this book delivers.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Zian B.

    I absolutely love the amount of information that’s given about the show along with the actual workings of the pilot episode; especially since I haven’t officially seen the original pilot. All of the concept drawings for each character were really great to see as well. I just love seeing the evolution of the characters that we’ve come to know and grow fond of.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Michelle

    full of great art, fascinating original design ideas, random unused visuals, and everything I was hoping to find in a SU artbook! what I wasn't expecting was the density of text, packed with funny, enlightening, honest and heartfelt conversions with the Crewniverse. I didn't /want/ to binge this book, but I did. no regrets. full of great art, fascinating original design ideas, random unused visuals, and everything I was hoping to find in a SU artbook! what I wasn't expecting was the density of text, packed with funny, enlightening, honest and heartfelt conversions with the Crewniverse. I didn't /want/ to binge this book, but I did. no regrets.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Kim Reynolds-Jolles

    I love this book. It is a beautifully detailed story of how the creator of the show Rebecca Sugar and everyone in her team create the most amazing show Steven Universe. It shows the beginning doodles, song concepts, and the storyboard that is the entire story of the history of the amazing characters, The Crystal Gems and the boy Steven Universe who live in Beach City and protect the universe from being destroyed by monsters, there are so many great stories and beautiful songs(also created by Sug I love this book. It is a beautifully detailed story of how the creator of the show Rebecca Sugar and everyone in her team create the most amazing show Steven Universe. It shows the beginning doodles, song concepts, and the storyboard that is the entire story of the history of the amazing characters, The Crystal Gems and the boy Steven Universe who live in Beach City and protect the universe from being destroyed by monsters, there are so many great stories and beautiful songs(also created by Sugar). I want to include it on the March challenge because Steven Universe is the first show on Cartoon Network ever completely created by a woman. It has gorgeous artwork and is a great inspiration for young girls like mine who like animation , or want to break that glass wall.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Charlotte

    Easily the best art book I have in my collection. The love just radiates from every page!

  13. 5 out of 5

    Taco

    This book gives more depth to an already incredibly meaningful show. Steven Universe has become my life in so many ways already, and this book gives me the opportunity to bask in the beauty of the show and it's messages, as well as understand how much effort it takes for every little detail, even the details you don't notice right away. Such as the background art and the music, which is all very important in the same. The analogies, personal experiences, heart and soul, and beautiful concept art This book gives more depth to an already incredibly meaningful show. Steven Universe has become my life in so many ways already, and this book gives me the opportunity to bask in the beauty of the show and it's messages, as well as understand how much effort it takes for every little detail, even the details you don't notice right away. Such as the background art and the music, which is all very important in the same. The analogies, personal experiences, heart and soul, and beautiful concept art and characters ties together a wonderful and elaborate insight on the diverse and deep show Steven Universe. A perfect book for further understanding the messages behind the show and its characters.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Valentine

    So, I started Steven Universe out of pure boredom and a tiny bit curiosity: I had heard about it in the past, but I didn't know enough about it to form a real opinion. From the first episodes, I thought it was a cute and entertaining show that would help me pass time - but I never foresaw how my liking of the series woud blow up into a literal obsession that left me in shambles at the end of the series. Naturally, I had to satisfy my new hyperfixation by indulging in some impulsive shopping - an So, I started Steven Universe out of pure boredom and a tiny bit curiosity: I had heard about it in the past, but I didn't know enough about it to form a real opinion. From the first episodes, I thought it was a cute and entertaining show that would help me pass time - but I never foresaw how my liking of the series woud blow up into a literal obsession that left me in shambles at the end of the series. Naturally, I had to satisfy my new hyperfixation by indulging in some impulsive shopping - and I happened to stumble upon this book, expecting something light and nice to go along with the show. But now, you better believe me when I tell you this is one of the most precious books I own. I've read a few cinema tie-ins in the past, but compared to this they're shockingly weak and hollow. Most, if not all, of them simpy take elements from the original movies/series and repeat them in a written format, cataloging characters, places or events for example. It is not bad obviously, but I do believe there's always space to do better. What this book does instead is the tremendous work of establishing a complete timeline of the creation of the show. It may sound silly, but I never expected that a cartoon series took so much work: through the dozens and dozens of pages of that beautiful volume, you follow the evolution of the show from the first sparks of ideas, to the writing of the story, to the first design ideas -- and then through the WHOLE process of drawing, animating, coloring, choosing the music (each character has their own theme and dedicated instrument?!), recording the dialogues and preparing the episodes for TV. But it's not just an informative guide to the world of animation (even if this aspect is astonishingly interessant): it's also a beautifully curated work gathering HUNDREDS of interviews from the creators and the voice-actors, as well as entire pages of drawings which I honestly gaped at like a little kid. What this book is, is inspiring: to read the testimonies of the creators, their love and devotion, but also their fears and doubts, truly turned me upside down. For example, there's a part where one of the creators didn't know how to draw birds, so he drew a whole comic about them! Or another passage where one of the animators explain that the biggest obstacle in an artist's journey, is themself! As someone who loves to create but is often really insecure about what I do, this definitely hit me right where it hurts, while making me want to do better. You probably understood it by now, I am in LOVE with this book. Obviously, this love comes directly from the one I have for the show (otherwise I wouldn't have bought it), but I was truly shocked at how beautiful it was. I do believe that this is way more than your usual money-grab that comes with every big franchise: it's a gorgeous volume that probably required a lot of work to be put together and encompass every part of the show's creation like it did. I just love it so much.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Julie Decker

    This incredible book takes readers back to the early days before the fantastic television show Steven Universe existed, and showed us how it grew out of Rebecca Sugar's experiences, her Crewniverse's contributions and collaborations, and a whole lot of quirky love. The book includes information about the early character designs and show ideas (with, of course, lots of illustrations), and then it sort of becomes an illustrated process book, taking the reader through how animation is made. We get s This incredible book takes readers back to the early days before the fantastic television show Steven Universe existed, and showed us how it grew out of Rebecca Sugar's experiences, her Crewniverse's contributions and collaborations, and a whole lot of quirky love. The book includes information about the early character designs and show ideas (with, of course, lots of illustrations), and then it sort of becomes an illustrated process book, taking the reader through how animation is made. We get spotlights on the music, the background painting, the animation in Korea, and the character design. Individual Crew members weigh in with their special perspectives, either about specific aspects of the process that they worked on or about their philosophy associated with what they're making. Of course, even though the text is illuminating and interesting, the included art (scads of it) kind of steals the show. It's fun to see pilot designs, creators working through creature ideas or playing with motifs, and seeing doodles they do because they love what they're working on as much as we love watching it. You're not going to get any spoilers for the future, but I'm pleased to say you do get a very nice introduction to the show's roots.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Cale

    This is not only a beautiful collection of Steven Universe art, but it also has a wondrous amount of background data on how the show came to be, how it is produced on a regular basis, and a whole lot of detail about how Cartoon Network creates its shows in general. It may be a bit inside baseball for some, but I found it fascinating. It's an inspiring read, and shows how much of the message for the show has come through from its original concept. It looks like it was produced during Season 4, as This is not only a beautiful collection of Steven Universe art, but it also has a wondrous amount of background data on how the show came to be, how it is produced on a regular basis, and a whole lot of detail about how Cartoon Network creates its shows in general. It may be a bit inside baseball for some, but I found it fascinating. It's an inspiring read, and shows how much of the message for the show has come through from its original concept. It looks like it was produced during Season 4, as that's the last season that any episodes get mentioned by name, so it doesn't have any coverage of some of the biggest events in the series. But it does show all the thought and care that went into its creation at every step of the process, and is a must for any Steven Universe fan.

  17. 4 out of 5

    KJ

    I love this show and started watching around the time 'Alone Together' in S1 was released. I absolutely love the amount of love, time and dedication put into every second of every episode from everyone in the crewniverse. Steven Universe means so much to alot of people for good reason, and it's definitely one of my all time favourite cartoons, even when it's set in space with aliens it just feels like home. On the verge of the end of SU Future, it's nice and interesting to reflect on where it all I love this show and started watching around the time 'Alone Together' in S1 was released. I absolutely love the amount of love, time and dedication put into every second of every episode from everyone in the crewniverse. Steven Universe means so much to alot of people for good reason, and it's definitely one of my all time favourite cartoons, even when it's set in space with aliens it just feels like home. On the verge of the end of SU Future, it's nice and interesting to reflect on where it all began, to see where they started in the pilot, the original show, movie and to now to see how they decide to finish and wrap it all up next week. ((This show means the world to me! I don't want it to end 😭))

  18. 5 out of 5

    Kathryn Hemmann

    Every single page of this book filled my heart with joy. I tore through the writing and interviews (which are wonderful), but it's the design sketches that have led me to keep a copy permanently downloaded on my Kindle app for inspiration. I feel that I'm learning more about drawing and draftsmanship from this book than I have from any other resource for artists that I've consulted over the past few years. I also own a copy of the physical book, which is a magnificent treasure of a printed volum Every single page of this book filled my heart with joy. I tore through the writing and interviews (which are wonderful), but it's the design sketches that have led me to keep a copy permanently downloaded on my Kindle app for inspiration. I feel that I'm learning more about drawing and draftsmanship from this book than I have from any other resource for artists that I've consulted over the past few years. I also own a copy of the physical book, which is a magnificent treasure of a printed volume.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Serena W. Sorrell

    Offering great insight into the creation and development of SU this is a fun book with lots of info. Like, A LOT of info. I’m not going to lie, for me the interviews became tedious and just took up pages and pages and pages. Pages o would have rather seen character sketches, early designs, storyboards. I’m an artbook nerd, and the balance of this one feels very off. Mind you what IS presented is lovely. But a half page for some characters and then three-page back and forth interview transcript? Offering great insight into the creation and development of SU this is a fun book with lots of info. Like, A LOT of info. I’m not going to lie, for me the interviews became tedious and just took up pages and pages and pages. Pages o would have rather seen character sketches, early designs, storyboards. I’m an artbook nerd, and the balance of this one feels very off. Mind you what IS presented is lovely. But a half page for some characters and then three-page back and forth interview transcript? As a book it very much could have been better balanced between words and art.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Shannan

    a truly delightful read for any fan of the show, because it gives you insight into just how much love and hard work (and details!! good lord, the details) goes into SU. there were some issues with repetition/overlap of discussions, but that's understandable when you're coordinating interviews with so many people on so many things. the art inserts are beautiful, full color, and high resolution. i'm so glad i read this, because it gave me a whole new level of appreciation for everything that is St a truly delightful read for any fan of the show, because it gives you insight into just how much love and hard work (and details!! good lord, the details) goes into SU. there were some issues with repetition/overlap of discussions, but that's understandable when you're coordinating interviews with so many people on so many things. the art inserts are beautiful, full color, and high resolution. i'm so glad i read this, because it gave me a whole new level of appreciation for everything that is Steven Universe.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Amanda

    Considering the massive adult audience Steven Universe has, it's nice to see a book about the show that's geared more toward them. This is a great look into the creative process for the show, and contains some pretty amazing concept drawings from the beginning stages of the show and the pilot. appreciated that it focused on the entire creative process, and not just the animation itself. This is definitely a great collector's item for any fan of the show! Considering the massive adult audience Steven Universe has, it's nice to see a book about the show that's geared more toward them. This is a great look into the creative process for the show, and contains some pretty amazing concept drawings from the beginning stages of the show and the pilot. appreciated that it focused on the entire creative process, and not just the animation itself. This is definitely a great collector's item for any fan of the show!

  22. 4 out of 5

    WaferBiscuits

    There's a reason why I'm giving this book 4 instead of 5 stars, despite it being by far the most well-organized and informative art book I have in my collection. The reason will, thankfully, be amended in future prints of the book. There are three sketch inclusions that portray some pretty nasty racial stereotypes. Rebecca Sugar has apologized for them and they will be removed. As is, they act as a blemish to an otherwise perfectly done text. There's a reason why I'm giving this book 4 instead of 5 stars, despite it being by far the most well-organized and informative art book I have in my collection. The reason will, thankfully, be amended in future prints of the book. There are three sketch inclusions that portray some pretty nasty racial stereotypes. Rebecca Sugar has apologized for them and they will be removed. As is, they act as a blemish to an otherwise perfectly done text.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Emily

    Super fun behind-the-scenes look at the development and production of Steven Universe. Seeing the early concepts and designs is hysterical and fascinating. I love all the insights from the Crewniverse; it's clear that this show is so beloved and cared for by those who make it, just as much as those who watch it. I completely devoured this book-- I read every word over the course of two days. If you love SU, you'll enjoy this book. Super fun behind-the-scenes look at the development and production of Steven Universe. Seeing the early concepts and designs is hysterical and fascinating. I love all the insights from the Crewniverse; it's clear that this show is so beloved and cared for by those who make it, just as much as those who watch it. I completely devoured this book-- I read every word over the course of two days. If you love SU, you'll enjoy this book.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Ella

    This is the book that made me want to work in animation! It provided such an interesting glimpse into the production of cartoons from concepts to airing on television. Watching the art and ideas grow from concept art to storyboards was also really interesting and fun to read! It doesn’t provide a lot of in-depth information on the animation, but it is a good resource for someone who doesn’t know a lot about it.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Katelin

    So so so beautiful!! I loved all the illustrations and knowing about all the details of art and design processes of the show, and everyone's individual drawing styles and just how original and sweet and amazing this show is :D I had to make sure my sketchbook was around every time I wanted to read this, it was so inspiring!! So so so beautiful!! I loved all the illustrations and knowing about all the details of art and design processes of the show, and everyone's individual drawing styles and just how original and sweet and amazing this show is :D I had to make sure my sketchbook was around every time I wanted to read this, it was so inspiring!!

  26. 5 out of 5

    Dana

    This had some of the best concept/development art I’ve ever seen! You could really see the process of how each character evolved into how they are drawn today! It had a lot of reading, but it was worth it! It had really cool inside info about the show, the morals the crewniverse is trying to portray, and how they even come up with episode ideas! If I could give this book a 6/5 I would <3

  27. 5 out of 5

    Annie

    I think that this book was great!!! I really enjoyed seeing how the show started out, and how all of the characters originally looked. In this book, they give you tips on how to draw the characters, and you get to read all about what they do to try and come up with new episode ideas. If you are a fan of Steven Universe, you HAVE to read Steven Universe: Art & Origins.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Berslon Pank

    I'm not a huge fan of this kind of behind the scenes look at the creative process of art I love, but this one was mostly fun. That is probably more a testament to how much I love the show than to how good the book was. The quotes from people working on the shows offered a lot of interesting background although the writing from McDonnell was pretty boring or added very little to the book. I'm not a huge fan of this kind of behind the scenes look at the creative process of art I love, but this one was mostly fun. That is probably more a testament to how much I love the show than to how good the book was. The quotes from people working on the shows offered a lot of interesting background although the writing from McDonnell was pretty boring or added very little to the book.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Jess

    I really enjoyed this behind-the-scenes look at the progressive and creative clockwork inside Steven. I was engaged during the casual anecdotes, creative processes, and animation in-and-outs that I learned throughout. I can't draw for shit but I'm a pretty decent writer, so I filed away Sugar's Bauhaus knowledge of characterizing shapes to use for later. My only complaint about the book is probably the pacing. The paragraphs continue after large swaths of beautiful concept art and background pie I really enjoyed this behind-the-scenes look at the progressive and creative clockwork inside Steven. I was engaged during the casual anecdotes, creative processes, and animation in-and-outs that I learned throughout. I can't draw for shit but I'm a pretty decent writer, so I filed away Sugar's Bauhaus knowledge of characterizing shapes to use for later. My only complaint about the book is probably the pacing. The paragraphs continue after large swaths of beautiful concept art and background pieces. I wanted to learn then look at pictures, rather than be overwhelmed receiving all that information in bursts at the same time. This is a pretty comprehensive book if you want to look at the show's creative wiring.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Kristin

    I love reading anything about concept art for animation, but I really appreciated how much more in depth Steven Universe: Art & Origins was about the entire process of creating the show. Highly recommended for fans of the show or anyone who wants to know how modern cartoons are created for television.

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