To satisfy popular demand, I have posted more sneak peeks at the new George Liquor Show...
Thought you might like to see the stages of art production that happen before animation and what the difference in drawing approaches are.
Storyboards are rough. Their purpose is to tell the story, make the characters seem spontaneous and have a lot of guts.
A storyboard artist doesn't need to draw "on model" but does need to know how the characters look and act. He has to feel the story as if it is happening right in front of him at the very moment he is drawing them.
He has to be able to change personalities and fit himself into the souls of the characters. He should not rely on stock animation poses and expressions. He needs to FEEL the right characters and their proper distinct emotions within the context of a story and make it all seem like the characters are creating the story as they go along, just by being themselves in the situation they are in.
This has happened very rarely in the whole history of animation. Most cartoons - even in the classic age - feel contrived or controlled by their creators. Chuck Jones and Tex Avery characters are frequent victims of their directors' whims, but not compared to cartoons today where everything is completely contrived and controlled by super conservative committees or even individuals with too many rules holding back any chance of spontaneity and invention.
Clampett's characters always seem self motivated; the story follows them, not the other way around. Fleischer Popeye cartoons are self motivated even though their cartoons are highly structured. This is an amazing achievement.
For me, the storyboard artists I like are ones who can fit themselves instantly into diferent characters and spontaneously play out their dramas. You have to be very observant of life, not just of other cartoons to draw stories that aren't mere illustrated scripts with rubber stamp acting.
Layout drawings are tighter and more finished. They have to have construction, more details and flip well from pose to pose so they can be animated. This is a more anal job than storyboarding. The layout artist has to do his damnedest to not lose the guts of the storyboards by toning down the poses, expressions and humor in the storyboards.
He still has to understand the story and the context of every pose and expression, but he is preparing the scenes to be functional and clear.
Inkers pretty up the finish of the layouts and give the drawings weight and a hierarchy of forms. They need to understand the order of importance of the elements that make up the total form and use line technique to enhance the visual ideas inherent in the drawings. A knowledge of construction is very helpful to good line artists. It's not just having smooth lines.
I'm lucky to have found inkers who did many of the lessons and exercises on my blog and now have a clear understanding of how to get the best out of the layout drawings.
No matter what artistic job you are doing on the assembly line of cartoon production, your work will be much better if you know the whole story, get the jokes, understand the characters and constantly refer to your storyboard. ....and know how to draw.The natural progression of a non-supervised ignorant assembly line (modern cartoon production) is for each creative step of the way to decay and stray further away from the original intent. Like when you dupe things multiple times-each dupe loses more information than the previous one.
This is a very hard natural tendency to fight, but fight it you must if you are to have finished cartoons be as exciting and spontaneous as the original ideas they sprang from.
Having a studio system geared to prevent the natural decay of copying copies is a huge factor in whose cartoons end up with the strongest, most believable characters.
I envy the Looney Tunes system most of all.