Back in 2012, I did a short storyboard test for Wander Over Yonder. It was a lot of fun, and I was lucky enough that it led to more work on the show. Looking back on this now, there’s lots of little things I’d change, but I still had a blast drawing these characters.
Good question. Some productions call it character layout, others call it special posing. In either case, an artist (usually a character designer) comes in after the storyboard is done, and draws all the most important character poses, expressions, crowd scenes, etc. That way all best scenes are already mapped out and approved before animation begins. Those are then cleaned up, and handed off as key poses for the animators to use in their scenes. Depending on the budget and schedule, an 11 minute cartoon can have anywhere between 50-120 scenes to pose out.
That’s the factual side of the process. The fun side of layout (and most tricky) is the zen of finding the balance in a pose…..that magic middle ground between the character model, and the raw energy of the storyboard pose or expression. If you have a great board artist….this is easy. Only minor model tweaks. But if you get a bad one, then you get to be creative. Both situations are good really.
There are some shows where they are very strict about keeping the characters on model. And that’s fine. It works. My favorite type of show though, are the ones where they aren’t afraid to break model, and really match the pushed expressions in the storyboard. Let’s face it…..in an 11 minute episode, the characters are usually stock for 90% of the episode anyhow. That 10% though, where they’re dynamic, exaggerated, and expressive…..the best! And usually the most memorable.
How do you make your dry brush textures, or rather how do you get that effect in your work?
Some of the dry brushes I use were ones I scanned from traditional media. Others I found online. Like this snazzy one from Drew Green. He’s got a tutorial over on his Deviant art about how to make it. Enjoy!
How well were your art/animation skills when you were about 14 years-old?
That’s an easy question…..I had very little. Most artwork I did at that age were copies of my favorite comics, or sometimes I made my own minicomics. They were terribly violent and terribly drawn….but super fun. I watched tons of cartoons, but was never interested in animation as a career till I was in my early 20s.