Sept 13 Technique

Let's start with the obvious. There's a definite a storyboard style commonly accepted in the animation industry. It varies from show to show depending on requirements.

A few good examples:

 From Finding Dory

trevor jiminez

Megamind Boards by Toby Shelton


See the whole sequence here.


 Brave mark andrews louis gonzales


Samurai Jack Season 5 Episode 3 was written and storyboarded by David Krentz and Genndy Tartakovsky. Storyboard narration is done by Genndy Tartakovsky




Here's a good old school example of boards to finished product:


Interesting to note, if you look at the old Hercules boards vs the Megamind boards you'll see a lot more poses. The computer has made it easier to do that since you don't have to redraw the background every time.

Everything is digital now and that give it a certain look. Usually black and white with grey tones. Some of these examples are more finished that the usual production boards because they were published in a book and people always want to see a more finished drawing. You level of polish depends on what you can get away with. Some directors are cool with rougher stuff others are not. At the very least it should be clear what's going on.

Okay! Enough boring stuff you probably already knew. Here's some real technique as far as storytelling applies because this is what separates good board artists from people who can draw good looking layouts.


Think different

Remember the old Apple ads?



That's right. Think different. That first idea that pops into your head is probably the same idea that pops into most peoples head when the are faced with a problem. In this case, a story problem.

Early in my career, I worked with Teddy Newton at Warner Brothers on Iron Giant together. He always came up with great stuff that was way different than what everyone else was thinking. I learned from him that you should approach story from the angle that no one else is thinking of. We came up with this Idea for Dean and Annie to have a date and boarded it out for Iron Giant. It never made it into the movie. Maybe we came from the wrong angle.


On Epic We had a scene where MK, Nod and the slugs/snails had to get out of the bad guy's lair with the royal pod. The first two attempts were epic battles between the heroes and the villains. Yawn. Audiences have been looking at epic fight scenes for the past 100 years of cinema. The scene needed something more clever to get our heroes to safety.

When the scene came to me, I began by thinking about the characters. We had snails and weird bug creatures. called Boggans. I figured our heroes were too weak to take on the boggans so they needed to use their wits. I had them trying to outsmart them. But they fell into a pit of maggots (escalation!) which turned out to be baby boggans. Since snails are sticky, I had the heroes use them to get out of the pit. Here's how it went:



Chris, the director, wound up not using the maggot pit (too bad, I thought it was funny) but kept the sticky snail bit. The boards in the video were drawn by me, Warren Leonhardt, Stephen Neary and Kristin Lester.

Use the characters characteristics to mine comedy gold:




If a slug wanted to punch someone, How would he do it?



Not only should your drawings have contrast but your story points too. Big vs small. Moving vs not moving. Happy vs sad.


Looks dramatic. Emphasize your character's feelings with the bg.




Looks angry




Not sure what we're looking at but it gets your eye.


Same thing with the story you are telling. If you want to build suspense, manipulate the audience emotion by making them expect one thing but don't give it to them when they expect it. It's a contrast in emotions. Create a calm, then shatter it.

Two characters are falling in love? One needs to be the opposite of the other, so when they do fall in love, it is more satisfying. If there's been a sacrifice involved you'll FEEL it more. Why do you (hopefully) love your significant other more as time goes by? Because they have made sacrifices for you. Sacrifice is contrast. Giving up something you want for a greater cause.

Making something funny? Surprise the audience. They expect one thing give them another. Contrast in timing helps. Remember the sloth scene at the DMV from Zoortopia? Perfect example of contrast in timing. You can expand a gag to be more than what the audience originally thought.


When something funny is happening, make the drawing funny!

bob ren sketch

My friend Bob Camp is the master at this.


July Class: Don't do this assignment unless you it's more inspiring to you than the Big VS Small assignment in the camera placement lesson


For your first assignment, I'm tossing you in the deep end.

Set up:

Two convienient store clerks are on the job late at night. One is super annoying to the other. The grim reaper stops in for a red bull. The outcome is yours. Make it dramatic, funny, action-y or whatever you please.

Keep it to about 100 -120 panels. If it turns out so amazing you need more panels then DO IT! but it better be amazing if it's going to demand that much attention from your audience.







Random Storyboard

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