Friday, August 30, 2013

What are you gonna do about it?

As we storyboard we must consistently approach it with clarity, character driven choices and ideas.  We need to make sure that we feel the emotions of a character and have very real moments and decisions made on screen.

Relatable characters are successful when they go through situations that we the audience can project ourselves into.  We can ask ourselves “what would I do”? or say“I’d do the same thing”! 

One of my all time favorite movies is “Planes, Trains and Automobiles” directed by the late great John Hughes
Neal Page(Steve Martin) want’s to make it home to Chicago from New York for Thanksgiving.  He has every obstacle imaginable on his way home including the worst one in salesman Del Griffith(John Candy).

Neal is incredibly relatable as all he wants is to go home.  With every obstacle Neal faces we experience his emotions on screen.
After some time of getting beat up and a diverted flight to St. Louis Neal has to deal with a flighty rental car attendant (Edie Mclurg) who’s inconveniently on the phone and he’s lost all patience.  Neal erupts with so many Eff bombs that it makes you feel 'I wish I can be so bold".  But Neal looses this fight.

Just imagine being able to storyboard this kind of eruption.  it would be so fun to do.

In the set up of what ever story we are telling I really want to understand what the character is feeling, what they’re thinking and eventually what they’re going to do about it.  All on screen! 

As an audience member I want spend time with the character to the point that I can understand their choices and support them or go against them.  If the time hasn’t been taken to express all this to the audience we’re just not going to feel invested and I’ll check out very easily.  

When a character is wronged, what do they think about that? What if they’re insulted?  It’s heartbreakingly amazing to see Del react to Neal’s insults in the film and you really want to just hug him as he poorly stands up for himself.  I only wish and hope to be able to draw such pathos in my storyboards.
We really get a great moment of hilarity as Neal comes to the realization.
that Del left his large undies on the sink of the hotel they share.  Neal thought it was a wash clothe and used it to dry his face after a hot shower. Neal's disgust is Priceless!

One of the craziest, whackiest and brilliant quick cuts in the film shows Del as the Devil.  Neal really feels this way at this point in the film and this moment is delivered so clear that it is movie magic.
Either way, the story you tell has got to have a relatable characters experiencing real moments. As Neal and Del go through hell and back trying to get home they’ve bonded so well that I get choked up from this point on in the film.  I'm glued with emotion having laughed so much that the tears of humor turn to tears of emotion because we spent the time to understand them and relate.
That wouldn’t have been able to happen without all the real moments and choices that where made on screen.  Choices that allowed me to experience emotions that the characters really went through.  I feel like it’s me on that trip and me who’s made new memories and friendship.

All this to say,
what are they feeling, thinking, and doing about it?

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Be Resilient!

Just a thought...

The Merium Webster definition of the word "resilience" is written this way:

The capability of a strained body to recover its size and shape after deformation caused especially by compressive stress.

This is the exact word that came to mind as I considered being in story.  The idea of being able to snap back after receiving criticism or corrections is extremely important to your psyche and your longevity in your career.  

Consider this idea of recovery after getting notes.  We all get notes and we all must correct our work per director and leadership opinions.  We spend time making choices and digging into our weekly tasks and sometimes that compressive stress or deformation comes in the form of corrections.  

It's normal!  you just have to be resilient!  You must be able to understand that ideas will change and evolve.  The best part about it that you can grasp onto is you are a part of a greater movement to make your project great.  

This thought also helps when you're a student trying to get into the studio system.  When you get that constructive criticism or feedback be resilient and do the changes!  Work hard to fix and change and open up your possibility of reaching your goals!

Take care.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Disconnected drawing

Usually when we draw, we go through a cycle of looking at a model's head, then our drawing pad, sketch sketch, look back at the model's body, look down, sketch sketch sketch, look at the arm, sketch sketch....etc.  This may be a problem.

Obviously we need to look at the model or subject to sketch, but I'd like to impress that we are impressionists and not realists when it comes to our sketches.  

Looking up and down TOO much can lead to disconnected shapes.  

We concentrate on a head, a torso, a leg or any part individually and forget about the gesture as a whole.  The truest example of this is when the time is up and the model has moved and we only have a partial sketches done.  

What I believe is happening is the brain is trying to capture shapes of the body in segmented thinking because we worry about the correct shapes of anatomy and it bogs us down.  We should be starting with large shapes that cover the whole pose first then work over that trajectory with more detailed work.  

Remember the gesture is the whole complete idea of a pose.  It's not a gesture of an arm then a gesture of a body, then the legs.  It's everything in one!

My advice is to record a complete mental picture into your mind by studying the model or subject for a moment.  Then go down to the paper and draw until you've forgotten that mental pic and go up for more info.  This will help you draw your impression of the whole pose and not get caught up in segmented sketching.

I was at my son's first Tball game yesterday and sketched a few pieces.  It was so rewarding to experience such young kids playing America's oldest past time.

Coaching the batter

Assistant Coach

Paying attention to the game

Sunday, May 05, 2013

Remember it's ART.

I carry a sketchbook with me just in case inspiration hits.  Long ago I used to draw randomly and aimlessly in my sketchbooks believing that it was the shear act of doing it that would make me a better artist.

I was pouring out little sketches all across the page.  All the poses looked similar and none of them had any spark.  They all blended into one another in a way were not one sketch commanded it's own presence.  It also took forever to fill a sketchbook and the pages didn't seem like they were important because there was no focus on anyone sketch.

One day I worked up enough courage to show Glen Keane one of my books and he was kind enough to look.  After a few flipped pages he stopped looking and told me that my images were hard to focus on because I had way too many small sketches on the page.  He kindly spent time sifting through the book and looking for some sketches he liked, but I felt he was really stretching as he complimented.  In the end his advise was to draw one drawing per page and really focus in on what that one pose was trying to say or do and really study it.  He said,  "remember, each page is a piece of art!"

Glen's advise made me realize that every sketch is one that you can learn from, it deserves it's time from you. each sketch needs your focus and study. 

Each sketch is "ART" and it deserves it's own page!

When we focus in on one drawing per page that sketch becomes so important.  The choices become more definite.  The lines become very directed as the emotion and attitude illuminate from the page.

With that said mistakes are more evident- but you learn more from your own executions with each page you fill.  When I buy a new sketchbook I can't help but look at the page count and think that that's how many sketches will be in that book.

Gone are the days of unfocused sketches that randomly sit on a page.  Every page in my books now have become valuable to the sketch that sits on them.  Even if I don't agree with that sketch it still deserves it's day to shine.

Boldly give it a go!  I think you'll find great challenge to the approach.

The first four pieces are from Starbucks the other day and the last gesture from a lacrosse game on tv.

Thursday, May 02, 2013

High noon happy accident!

About a week ago I was walking into work a bit late and ran into a rugged mean looking cowboy  He had on a black hat, black vest and black villainous mustache.  It was the gesture model John Tucker who most of you know or have heard of on my blog or twitter feed.  

Then moments later a western saloon skirted, high heel boot wearing girl came down the hall and she was very excited to model in the class.  This was Rachel Bailit, one of the most bubbly actress' I know.

I was a bit nervous at first but quickly figured we had a happy accident of having two models pose this day.  Which of course I loved!

One tip I'd like to share about two models in gesture drawing is: Remember the beginning of the sketch is all one big mass shape.  You are definitely trying to capture two different subjects but when you approach the building of the sketch
you want to draw them together as they relate and connect to each other.

Sometimes we start drawing the sketchy gesture lines for only one of two models trying to figure out how they're posed and time is ticking away.  Suddenly the models have moved on and we're left with half a sketch or a ghosty image of the second model that doesn't really allow for a true relationship expressed between the two models.

In the few minutes we give ourselves to get the sketch done we really need to encompass the whole pose in the first few lines of trajectory.  It's not easy!  The challenge is tough but I know that you are passionate and are ready to take it on!  

Here are a few inspired quick sketches I did after noticing that even though these two models never met before- they hit it off like they were old saloon pals.

two minute pose (on twitter I said one minute because I started drawing late into the pose. let's break even at about a minute and a half)

Two minute pose 
Five minute pose