Book Review: The Art and Making of Hotel Transylvania


Hotel Transylvania is an animated feature film from Sony Entertainment that tells a coming of age story and deals with sensitive subjects like the loss of a parent, and our fears and prejudices regarding those who are different. And it does all this against the backdrop of a haunted castle, amidst fart and pee jokes. Such is probably to be expected from a movie where Adam Sandler is involved (voicing the main character, Dracula).

But while the movie is aimed squarely at the playground crowd, “The Art and Making of Hotel Transylvania” from Titan Books has a much wider appeal. This book is lush and gorgeous, and it gave me a different (more positive) perspective on the film. The movie itself is hyper and bouncy, like its intended audience, so it’s really easy to miss all the visual richness happening in the background.

The Art and Making of Hotel TransylvaniaHere, you can dive deep into the production design and check out all the amazing detail – the castle, the various rooms, and all the props – it all has a painterly quality that I only wish had been more apparent in the movie. The book also features sections devoted to each of the monsters, including artist sketches and computer renderings that chronicle the progress of each character from concept to completion.

The Art and Making of Hotel Transylvania” weighs in at 160 full-color pages, with a beautiful hardbound cover. The writing, by Tracey Miller-Zarneke, is clever and engaging and the aforementioned artwork, provided by more than a dozen animators, is amazing.

My only complaint is that the book is light on the “making of” end of things. While you do get some insight into the reasoning behind how a room was designed, or the evolutionary process of a character, there’s not much else. If you were hoping to learn more about the animation process, you might be a little disappointed.

Still, I think the quality of the art and writing far outweigh this shortcoming. As of this writing, Hotel Transylvania is still playing in theaters, and if you’ve got little kids, it’s a fun ride (see my review HERE), but you certainly don’t need to see the movie to enjoy the awesomeness of this book.  Be sure to check out the gallery below.

Rating: 4.5/5 ★★★★½ 



About Dave_P

Dave_P studied fine arts and film history and is a graphic and web designer, and a diehard movie fan. David has been involved with a variety film festivals including the Cinephile Film Festival, the PRIDE Film festival, and the Manhattan Short Film festival, and is currently the director of the Dark Carnival Film Fest in Bloomington, Indiana. (

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