Monday, March 29, 2010

A question from Robert

Robert asked, " I'm just in high school, and I was wondering what I could do to possibly prepare myself to become a storyboard artist."

Personally, I never went to school for it, but if I could go back in time, I definitely would have. It would have saved a lot of time and work, and it just sounds so awesome to be surrounded by students excited about art and animation. Art Center in Pasadena and Cal Arts are both great schools. If you are able to get into Gobelins in France, that is, in my opinion, the best school for animation in the world. Another good school is Sheridan in Canada. Other than schools, just study films and break them down shot by shot into storyboards. that's a really good way to learn. After you learn, studios have training programs where you can get in and learn on the job. TV also has something called a storyboard revisionist. You can basically just show up to any studio with a portfolio of storyboard samples and they will usually call you back and give you a test. Doing the test for the job is actually a great way to learn. I did several test for studios before I finally got a job. every test, I would take to someone in the industry and ask them to look at it and I would try to make less mistakes the next time. that is sort of how I learned to storyboard. Try it, make a storyboard portfolio and drop it off at Nickelodeon.

18 comments:

  1. Definitely find a local (or local'ish) animation course. The best boarders have an understanding about animation. Most studios will want to see some animation schooling before taking on juniors.
    And above all, draw draw draw. It's all about building up a portfolio and gaining experience.

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  2. Finding local animation courses is a great idea (and a lot cheaper than going to college). I'd strongly recommend taking classes now if you can. Some schools do have teen programs so don't wait.

    I can't give too many recommendations for local animation/art schools, but if you happen to live near Burbank, The Animation Academy does have a story boarding course as well as a teen program.

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  3. I would definitely take the time to research. It's really worth it to go to one of the big good schools. It's just a different league than a local school. The only other tiny lesser known schools I know of are san jose state, cal state fullerton, and the small atelier schools. But you have to be very careful you aren't wasting your time and money, as would be the case with most art schools. You have to be well aware that you will never get any better with many schools and after you graduate will just end up having to go somewhere else. Personally, I would go to cal arts or art center. If money was really tight, then I would go to san Jose state. There is something going on at that school that is producing really good artist.

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  4. Rad, this is great advice. I never knew that studios take whatever submissions they get like that. I always thought it was a very strict process where they only look at storyboards from professionals. I'm clueless as to how all of this works haha.

    When you say study films, and break them down shot by shot, do you look for things specifically each shot? composition, camera angles- like when you do gesture studies of disney characters you're looking for rhythm and flow and such. I've never seen how someone goes about studying a film for storyboard purposes. Do you think you can do an example sometime?

    Thanks again for your posts and insight!

    -Lauren

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  5. Could anyone recommend a good storyboarding book that's in print? I'd love to find something that details the industry standards and technical ins and outs, rather than a how-to-draw book. Any thoughts?

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  6. Craig: I haven't seen a good book, but I do teach a class. Wink wink.

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  7. Heheh, well, the commute to Pasadena is a real bear for me. I live in Japan. The class selection looks awesome, though.

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  8. Wait, you teach a class in Pasadena? Sorry if this sounds horribly naive of me, but I just recently came across this blog. Is there a link to this class you teach? Is it at an art school?

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  9. I teach here: http://www.conceptdesignacad.com/ I will be teaching again this summer.

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  10. What a wonderful blog you have here...

    My name is Gilliom and I keep a blog on graphic design, comics and illustration called Monsieur Bandit. I published a post about your blog yesterday. Hope it will lead some people to this treasure trove of advice and information.

    If you want to check it out :

    http://monsieurbandit.blogspot.com/2010/03/how-to-draw-cartoons.html

    Hope you like it.
    Thanks for all this. Great stuff. :)

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  11. Gilliom: wow, thanks for the cool link! Really cool blog.

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  12. I saw in a forum post from Mike Mattesi way back in 2006 that there would be online classes. Are they still offered? Is yours one of them?

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  13. If you're in southern California, look up the IATSE animation guild in Burbank (a great resource for animation schools! That's how I found Animation Mentor! :) ). I have yet to take classes from them, but I do recall seeing animation classes and some specific on just storyboarding. Last winter they had a short session dedicated to 2D animation. I called too late to sign up. :(

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  14. Great blog with tons of amazing information and such that I love reading through! I have a question as well, as I hope you don't mind myself asking: I'm majoring in illustration, attending college here in NY. Somewhat taking an interest in the field of animation, I wonder if there's many illustrators might that work in animation, such as character designs, and etc. Like is there a lot of crossover of illustrations into animation, and vise-versa? Thank you for your time and attention. Once again, great blog!

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  15. Kel: There is a huge crossover. As long as you learn the technical skills, and or the "idea" skills, you can apply it to illustration or animation.

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  16. Rad, just out of curiosity do you know what the base salary is for a storyboard artist just starting out? What about an artist new to storyboarding but coming into the industry from say a freelance illustration career? Just curious :) I love the art of story telling and went to school to be an illustrator...but have been working on a few small projects with a small video game company, which, I find I really enjoy...just interested in learning a little more about a career move :) Thanks for such an informative blog!

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  17. Awesome advice, thank you so much Rad !

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