Tuesday, October 30, 2007

L.O. 5: Maintain Guts From SB to Layout pt 3 - Adding Poses

Chapter 3 of Maintaining some Goddamn Guts from Storyboard to Layout.

emotional states change from moment to moment- draw it!
Here are the rest of the pages from the maintaining guts from storyboard to layout manual.


I can't stress enough how important it is to make every pose completely distinct and unambiguous. We should feel the state of mind of each character every step of the way as the story plays out. Cartoon characters should not be stylized graphic images.

They are living pulsating blogs of quivering protoplasm, stuffed to the membranes with engorged emotions of every degree of intensity and subtlety. Don't leave it up to the audience or the animator to figure out what the characters are doing and FEELING. Your pencil needs to show us.

That's why you need to know all your drawing principles first. They are your story telling tools. Without them you are very limited in what you can say visually!

Don't rely on stock expressions you've seen in Disney movies or Spumco cartoons. You need to feel the emotions as you go, and have the chops to be able to draw them as they happen.

Notice that Rip does not merely pinch Chunk. He has feelings about the pinching. Pinching is important to him in very specific Rip like ways.

The pinch itself to a writer would be the end of the gag, but to you the performer, it's not enough. The gag has to be intensified by how the characters feel about the action. These are things that can be drawn and acted.

Break down the actions into States Of Changing Feelings

First Rip aims his pincers at a clear piece of tender flesh, then his eyes and grin widen as he anticipates the sheer pleasure he will derive from Chunk's coming pain.

As Rip tightens the pinch, his face cinches up to show the effort. When lets go, he looks at Chunk so that he can enjoy the reaction.

His face registers not merely happiness, but a proud sort of smug satisfaction, the look of a man who has done his job well. You should have this look when you draw your layouts and present them to the ornery director. Show him how proud you are of your clever mischief. That's why you make cartoons in the first place, right?

The emotions quickly change as the gag is over. Chunk is out for revenge and Rip's face and body attitude portrays "Oh, yeah? What are you gonna do about it, Punk?"- all without having to resort to dialogue to tell us what he feels.


In any creative department, there are so many things you have to plan and think about as you draw that it's very hard to remember everything, especially the functional needs of the scene.

It's very handy to have a checklist that you can refer to when you finish your scenes. You just go down the list and look at your drawings to check for each important point. If you see that you missed something, you can then fix it before you hand it in.

If you are this thorough in your work, your director will love you and the next creative person who has to work from your drawings will not have to solve problems that you didn't address. He has all his own complicated functions to perform and needs completeness from you!

REMEMBER: Your director may want to push you creatively, but he shouldn't have to point out functional problems. If you are a pro, your scenes should function correctly and you won't need to be constantly reminded to say- keep your poses within the TV cutoff...or your silhouette doesn't read clearly, etc.

If you haven't already donated to your cartoon education, this might be good time since it's the end of the month and all the bills are comin' in!

I'll post everyone's names in a couple days.

By the way everybody, my Dad was very happy with all your good wishes yesterday. Thanks a lot! He wants to Indian Leg Wrestle each and every one of you. Especially the girls...