A copy of the Blade Runner Sketchbook has turned up on the free document sharing site, Issuu – It’s like Imgur for books and magazines.
The book was published in a small run in the early 80’s before anyone knew what a classic film Blade Runner would one day be recognized as. Having been out-of-print for nearly 30 years, the book is now very hard to find, and carries a hefty price tag ($200-400 on Amazon).
The posting of it online in its entirety toes a legal line, but it’s been up for a couple months now without drawing much notice, so perhaps the copyright holders are unconcerned – it’s not like it could cut into their profits anymore anyway.
The book boasts nearly a hundred pages of sketches which cover art elements of the film ranging from architecture to vehicles to cityscapes.
Editions like this are actually quite interesting as they offer us a look at the world as it sat in the mind of the art director, in this case David Snyder and Syd Meade under director Ridley Scott, before the set and prop builders got a hold of it, and before the constraints of budget drew down the initial designs.
The drawings feel very sketchy, unpolished. It provides a clear insight into the mind that invented all of the visuals in the film, and indicates which details he felt were important.
If the book wasn’t so expensive it would be on my coffee table tomorrow.