onna-spy said: Wow! That's really cool!!! I'm currently taking Jay's storyboard class at CDA.. and I'm trying to work towards breaking into the industry. If it's not too much trouble, do you mind telling me some of your insights on how you first made it in??
That’s great! That’s how I learned storyboarding too~ With your drawings, I have no doubt you will be able to break in very soon, once you have learned the basics of boarding and an opportunity arises.
Insights on how I first made it in… Gosh this could use a whole post on it’s own, but here goes..
In the shortest answer possible, I got in because there was an opening for a revisionist position on Transformers Prime, right after I finished Jay’s class…. One of the board artists saw my DA page that had my Korra sketches. The directors liked my drawings because they were loose, but sensitive and had decent draftsmanship and a lot of attitude. They saw that I knew the basics of storyboarding, that I could draw good acting. I was not an impressive board artist, because I was still green, but they thought I had “potential” and so I got hired as a revisionist in-house. If a director sees you have “potential”, that’s usually how you’ll get your break. This is how it usually happens. Of course how to get to the point where you are seen to have potential is a whole ‘nother matter.
Let’s just assume you already know that you need to know the basic of boarding: staging, composition, screen direction….. you’re taking Jay’s class so that’s obvious. But that alone won’t get you in the industry right? Here’s what else you need:
In animation…. being able to draw well is first. And of course that is a never-ending process, but there is a point where you are “competent”. I think what helped me is I drew a lot from everyday life, and tried to draw from memory as much as possible, and learned the basics of draftsmanship… And I observed as much as I could. Become of a master of observation and visualization. My fave instructors on drawing are Kimon Nicolaides, George Bridgman and Robert Beverly Hale. You also learn a lot from manga, animators, and old masters. As for the types of drawings you need to do in boards… lively and loose - but clear. If you’re trying to draw like today’s top Japanese animators and manga artists I’d say you’ve got some good direction, if that’s the style you are going for.
Next I focused on acting, expressions, and body language. Since in America, most T.V. boards are animated overseas, the more specific you can get the acting, the better. That may or may not mean doing a whole bunch of poses… But.. You want your character to be believable, and interesting. I pay attention to my own body language and others’ as well. Take everything in. Take nothing for granted. Get to understand yourself and others. And of course study films that have exceptional acting.. like “The Verdict” and “Silence of the Lambs”… If you can, get a book called “Acting without Agony” and read that. That book helped me a lot. Despite being a mediocre board artist, being able to create and draw sensitive acting in characters helped me get the jobs I did, because that’s the stuff that really sells a character to the audience. Comedy acting is different but same principals apply.
Display your skills in a portfolio or on you online gallery/tumblr… whatever, so other pros can see it. Often they are looking for people, who can draw… Get your drawings and sketches out there. And get a boarding portfolio up. I didn’t have a boarding portfolio online when I got my first job, but I had my DA page, and one of the board artists from Transformers Prime saw my drawings, and asked if I wanted to do revisions. I sent the studio some unfinished sample boards and that was enough to get me a job.
And last but not least… getting to know and introducing yourself to people in the industry. You’re going to CDA and you know Jay, so that’s a good start~ =] Luck and timing will determine the rest.
Those are the… how-to’s of how I personally got my foot in the industry… Will in make you a good board artist though? No… beyond that… you must invest the time to understanding good storytelling, and good directing. That’s how you become a good board artist.
All in all, if everyday you are aiming for excellence and serious about doing boards… You’ll do what is necessary and you should be fine. That’s how I see it…
I know this was a long and kinda redundant post… but I hope it helps you and anyone else who’s trying to make it. =] Good luck!