Jul 8, 2020

Book Report - The Art of Tron (1982)

Many, many, many years ago, I joined the website PaperbackSwap.com. As you might guess from the name, it's a site where you can swap books with other people. You can even wish list things so that you're notified as soon as someone posts something you're after. While searching for anything Tron related, I found an entry for The Art of Tron, something I wasn't even aware existed. On my wish list it went and years passed.

A few weeks ago I got an email letting me know a book I had wish listed was available.
It was The Art of Tron!
I clicked buttons faster than I ever had in my life and it finally arrived yesterday.

Art of Tron cover

Now, the general rule at PaperbackSwap is that you post books in a condition that you would be fine receiving them in. This book is definitely showing its age on the front and back covers but I am just happy to have it! Copies on Ebay have recently sold between $46-$80 depending on condition. I paid about $4 to cover the cost of shipping and a 'book credit' from a previous trade where I sent someone a book they wanted. If I could scan the book without destroying it, I'd love to share it with other fans.

Anyway, let's get digitized into the world of Tron!

The book is 64 pages and covers quite a bit from the initial concepts to the effects, to the people behind, and in front of, the cameras, and even shooting locations. It's just as much a making of/behind the scenes book as it is about the art.

Art of Tron early concepts

Here's a few early concepts. The designs for Tron are pretty rad and I think would have had to be at least part CGI if the look was translated to screen. I get a kick out of the lower left image of grid warriors in a locker room. Do they need to shower?

Art of Tron Moebius

French artist Jean Giraud, aka Moebius, did a lot of design work on the film along with Syd Mead. Between the two of them, they created a lot of the iconic looks that come to mind when you hear Tron. I really dig how this concept looks gladitorial.

Art of Tron Syd Mead concepts

Speaking of Syd Mead, here's some of his work for Yori, Dumont, and an unnamed character who looks a little like a cross between Darth Vader and Baron Karza.

Art of Tron Lightcycles

The reason for the weird helmet design is so that when the rider leans down, it kind of melds into the lightcycle to create a curved top. Eventually it was decided it's be easier if the bikes formed around the riders instead of having to mount them. I think this was discussed on the Tron episode of the Disney+ show Prop Culture. If not, I don't remember where I would have heard it recently.

Art of Tron Flynn

Each of the main actors has a section about them on set and a very brief career highlight up to this point. I absolutely love this section on Jeff Bridges as it further proves that he'd probably be a cool dude to hang with.

Art of Tron Matte Painting

Matte paintings are becoming a lost art form in the digital age, which isn't to diminish what modern artists do but painting this on a giant sheet of glass is pretty amazing!

Art of Tron Bit

Okay, I really want to see this version of Bit in action! It'd be pretty wild to see some facial expressions accompanying each Yes or No answer to give it a little more character.

I've probably tied up enough of your time so I'll wrap this up. Although, if you're a fan like me, you'd want to see the rest of the book. Here's a little something extra that came in the book.

Art of Tron cartoon

The book came out in 1982, this cartoon is from 1984. Did the original owner get the book in 84 or did they have it for a couple years, keep going back to it and for whatever reason, stuck this in the pages one day?

And I know the real question on everyone's mind: What's on the back?

Art of Tron Bev!

You go, Bev!


  1. Wow thats awesome! I really really want to revisit both of the Tron movies!

  2. Definitely felt the same going through the book!