Monday, April 21, 2014

Calgary Comic + Entertainment Expo 2014

I will joining the Calgary Comic Expo this coming weekend and will be giving a talk on the 'Breakdown of the animated scene'. If you're there, feel free to stop by and also visit the VANarts booth as I will be at the booth Saturday afternoon and most of the day Sunday.

Below are the details of the talk I will be giving. Hope to see you there. 

Breakdown of the Animated Scene
Room: Palomino D
Time: 1:45PM - 2:30PM
Various animated scenes are broken down in detail explaining how the scenes play out their own moment of Storytelling in a clear and entertaining way. We learn what isn't moving is, at times, the most important moment of what you're seeing on screen. By approaching scenes early on in a simplified way, the animator can direct where the audience will look as the scene plays out it's action and performances.

- See more at: HERE

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Don Bluth - Storyboards - 1 - The Secret of NIMH

Back in 1985 while I was working on 'An American Tail ' at Don Bluths Studios in Van Nuys California, I noticed some boxes with some old storyboards from earlier productions. I still remember the feeling as I stood there holding storyboards in my hands from one of my favourite features 'The Secret of NIMH'. As a young artist, my eyes were wide open flipping through the panels taking in Don's amazing ability to tell the story with such appeal in his drawing. Each panel had such life with such a strong sense of design. He made it all seem so easy with every pose explaining the action and performance.

So, hoping they wouldn't mind, I headed over to the xerox machine and copied some panels for my own reference. I had a feeling they wouldn't mind as Don, Gary and John were amazing to work with and they were all so open for us learning and pushing ourselves to only get better as artists. They truly believed in passing on the knowledge, not keeping it to themselves. It was a great time to be with them during those early productions. 

Back a few years Don released a great book were he talks about his approach when it comes to Storyboarding. The book is hard to find but you can look here : 

I really like Don's insights that he shares. Here is one of his quotes from the book :

' Read the script and come to believe it. If you can't believe in your script, you'd better choose another. Once you have your script, sit quietly with your eyes closed and envision the picture in your mind, finished if possible. Don't edit yourself at this point. Select a section of the script that you like and try to view it in your mind's eye. Envision the characters - their actions, costumes, and facial expressions. Hear the voices, the music, and the sound effects. My brain is not always willing to do this exercise on command, so I don't force it; often, it wakes me up in the early hours of the morning when it's good and ready.
Keep a sketchpad handy to jot down the ideas and special notes when this inspiration session is over. Don't edit your ideas, but collect them. I have often recounted these small visions to John or Gary to see if they make sense. Good ideas stand up under scrutiny, whereas poor ideas do not. With that in mind, let your friends' reactions help you filter out the bad ideas.'  - Don Bluth


Below are the 1st panels from NIMH that I have. I just love the design of his panels. Don's approach to drawing feathers has always stood out as he finds ways to make them read and feel so appealing with the grouping of feathers, turning a ' Wing ' into a ' Hand ' when the story needs a hand to be shown. Also the way the feathers arc off Jeremy the Crows head, the use of negative space giving the feathers a feeling of looseness yet also being seen as very solid. Some beautiful design work here. 
Also, notice how Don draws throughout the panel, staging the characters within the frame and allowing himself as the story artist to really know and understand how the characters will be balanced in the overall composition. 


I love this Sequence below as Don draws Jeremy land on the ground and roll around in laughter. Don is a master at drawing birds. There is such the solid structure of the bird anatomy as Jeremy's poses explain the action. I love the design of the wings once again using space and then grouping feathers together to create the feeling of wings as arms as he hugs himself. I can almost hear the voice actor, Dom Deluise, laughing as these panels are played out in order. Beautiful work.