You are, among other things, a storyboard artist. What aspects of a storyboard are essential, make it effective?
In today's production, storyboards are essential because they are the first proving ground of a story - whether it be for animation or live-action film. In particular, for network executives it gives them material to market test, as well as serve as the blueprint for the entire production, allowing the production team to figure out what art work must be created for final animation, and serve as source for figuring out the cost of a production. For a film director - it allows them to asset their production schedule, so that production phase and even into post-production is streamlined and accounted for. Simply put - planning out a film, tv show in storyboards - will save the production money.
You are an art instructor. Can you tell about the way art is being taught in the United States?
That really depends on what school, and even more specifically - what instructor you get as a student. It also depends on what "art" you are studying. "Art" while a great endeavor - is an unspecific term that is applied to many occupations - and even in the visual arts has multiple meanings.
- To simplify - my approach is rooted in more "academic" drawing and observation but at the same time also recognizing that "cartoons" are a separate field from traditional "life drawing". Some instructor will say that all drawing is the same - and I somewhat disagree. While all drawing has shared aspects - our individual emphasis (often for our professions) is different. There is however a base level of shared drawing that students have to master before reaching an area of specificity.
- Again - the approach can vary a lot - not just in the USA but all over the world. Take for example the popular goal of working in the vague field label "visual development". That really depends on what aspect of "visual development" a student would want to go into. One on side - "visual development" could be more focused on Design, another could be focused on the quality of Light. And you could say that both are related - and you would be completely correct - but in the work place the jobs are often separate. The designer is focused on shape of the object or character and the feelings it creates in the viewer. The painter is focused on how a scene is lighted and the feelings that light gives, and how and item or character is staged to again give the viewer a sense of a certain feeling/emotive response. Some artist/visual development artist are skilled enough to do it all. But usually they pick one area as their main focus. For the student - clearly knowing that as they go into school is a huge help. But usually the student has to discover where they are best suited.
What aspects of creating new characters do you find most rewarding?
What I enjoy is seeing the character start to make decisions in a story. Once the artists know the character extremely well - the character's decision making process is clear. And so you'll know what they will do in any given situation. That's when you know what poses, facial expressions they will make - and then it's not a mystery what to draw.
- I also enjoy the process of drawing - when the idea of a scene starts to really emerge or when the character/figure you're drawing start to solidify. The sooner I can get to that part of the drawing process - the more I enjoy the drawing.
If you could be a character from a movie/book/comic who would you like to be?
- There is not a singular character who I would really like to be. I tend to borrow attributes from a variety of characters, depending on who I'm identifying with at a moment.
Are there active artists you especially admire?
- There are tons. Louie Del Carmen, Ronnie Del Carmen, Octavio Rodriguez, Robb Pratt, Ryan Lang, Helen and Linda Chen, Adam Dix, Rosie Sullivan, Ron Lemen, Jez Tuya, Toby Shelton, Rad Sechrist - the list can just do on and on. I'm lucky that many of these folk are friends and former classmates - or I've been lucky enough to learn from as my instructors.