Anatomy of a Story Sketch: Here’s a little breakdown of my thinking and simplification of a character I often draw. The thing about storyboarding is that you have tons, and tons of drawing to do. For a 22 minute show, our team of two board artists is averaging 2000 story panels in 3 weeks. That’s a lot of drawings! So, it’s essential to have a shorthand of the characters. This is how I have broken down Bobgoblin from “Wallykazam” thus far. It has all the essential information I”m trying to get across and nothing more. We all draw them differently btw. Personally, I try to get as close to “on-model” as I can for various reasons. Considering our show is CG, you’d think that drawing on-model isn’t that important. Fortunately, it isn’t as critical as in a 2D show. But, I have noticed that the more specific you can be, the more likely you’ll get back what you intended. A CG show is a little like live action in that the characters actually occupy space. If you don’t draw the characters proportionately, then you’re going to have staging problems at some point in the pipeline. And, the people posing out the CG characters will be forced to take liberties and re-interpret your work. You also have to be aware of the limitations of a CG “rig”. Drawing on model helps contain problems down the line. So, I just say, try to be close to on-model as a goal. Another line of thinking is that we are story tellers, and that’s most important. The animators (over-sees) should concern themselves with the acting-not the story artists. That’s pretty valid too, I think. It’s a bit much to ask of a board artist to always draw on model considering all the drawings we have to do. The downside to that is you’re leaving a lot of room for interpretation of your work. And, if it goes awry, you’ll be pretty bummed, and it won’t reflect well on you in the long run. On the other hand, if you’re specific, then you’re more likely to see the work come back even better than you expected. Think about it: if you’re an artist oversees and are inspired by what you see, won’t you go the extra mile to plus it? I think that’s why some shows don’t look that good: nobody’s going the extra mile that it takes.
I think I’ve spelled out all the things that matter to me in the attached drawing. Most vital are the facial features because that’s where the audience will be looking. All other details in a shot will support the idea of what your character is thinking or doing. I tend to think of Bobgoblin as clueless. That take on his character affects how I pose him. All the lines try to hint that he’s clueless. He could be in an excited, more upright pose, but I’ll still try to lead all those lines to a face that appears clueless. The things that matter on his face happen to be the general oblong shape, the tilt of his head, spacing of the eyes to nose, and gesture of the ears, which could reflect his attitude or help describe his head orientation, as can that very minor tuft of hair on the top of his head. So, there you have it: all this mumbo jumbo to describe a seemingly simple story sketch. That’s what they pay us for.