Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Story Muscle

I’ve always felt that drawing was like any other form of exercise; the more you practice the better you become. It’s hard to get worse at something if you practice enough. Except for, maybe, golf. It turns out that coming up with cartoon ideas, or story ideas, sort of works the same way. The more you exercise that muscle the stronger it gets.

I recently took a storyboarding workshop with Karl Gnass at the Animation Guild. The point of the session was to create stories through gestural drawing. Specifically, by setting up 1-2-3’s, or an Action, an Effect, finished by a Result. Most stories, short and long, work in this fashion. The evil guy concocts a plan, drinks the evil potion, and turns into a monster.

Karl brought in an actor and he did a wonderful job modeling. He had a suitcase filled with simple costumes and changed them frequently. He’d hold a pose for a few minutes so we could capture the gesture. If we were told this was the “first” position, we would then take a few minutes and draw the second and third actions from imagination. Likewise, if we drew the last pose then we’d take a few moments and draw the first and second poses, simply making them up.

I found this a fun way to exercise that creative muscle. It forces you to imagine something that wasn’t there before--- a story! With a beginning, middle and an end. No matter how simple. The other great thing is that the drawings don’t have to be great. They just have to convey movement and energy.

I think the clown costume was my favorite.

Friday, May 1, 2009

It's That Time Again

It's that time again. Time to cower in the darkness; the only light present is the soft glow of fear emanating from the little box. Remember SARS? Bird Flu? West Nile Virus? Killer Bees? There's always something new to be afraid of. Better go out and buy something.