What You Might Wanna Know About Me

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All artwork and animation in this blog unless otherwise stated is Copyright © 2015 Eric R. Watson 'AKA' Cyber Six (Cyber Six is not intended to be a play on words. It is in fact a comic book and animation. You may read about them if you'd like by following this link. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyber_Six) All Rights Reserved. All artwork and content on this blog are property of the artist unless otherwise indicated. Do not use, reproduce, post, copy, or distribute any image or media without permission. I'm an artist and flash animator. Recently, I've begun learning Maya 8.5. Okay, my avatar is not a picture of me. In fact, it is a picture of a famous Japanese singer who sang in an all girl pop group named SPEED during the mid to late 90s. Her name is Hiroko Shimabukuro. Hiro for short. Unfortunately, they disbanded several years ago. I recently found out they are back together and singing as SPEED. Freelance Union Article: 5 Tips for Preventing Procrastination. "Prolific people don’t wait to be moved, they begin the work, and the work moves them to create more." ~ Jonathon Kastner

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Samurai Jack Season 5 is Coming

A few months ago I saw this poster and video online. Immediately, I was excited. Genndy Tartakovsky is working on the 5th season of Samurai Jack.

Jack is Back | Samurai Jack | Adult Swim

Recently, I found read an article on Cartoonbrew.com about Samurai Jack returning to television. Instead of it being on Cartoon Network, it will be aired on Adult Swim which gives Genndy reason to Jack a darker personality and have more intense action than before.

Samurai Jack: Season 5 Behind the Scenes | Samurai Jack | Adult Swim

To be honest, I'm excited to see this. In my opinion, this should have been a movie. Preferably, a trilogy. It would be very nice to see an artbook for this series. Also, when it hits DVD and Blu-ray I would like to have extended behind the scenes videos of the making of Samurai Jack. Ten years ago next week, I met Genndy Tartakovsky in the dealer's room at the San Diego Comic Convention. He's a pretty cool dude.

Friday, July 1, 2016

Life Update - 002

No art to show this time but, I did finish the second day orientation at my new job. Both June 30th and today July 1st the company I now work for catered our breakfast and lunch. I'm sure I gained a few pounds these past couple of days as a result of eating too much. My first day of actual work starts Tuesday. I am so happy I can enjoy the 4th of July off from work.Unfortunately, I have no one to enjoy some BBQ with unless someone calls to invite me over. That would definitely be nice!

On second thought, I will post something more. I had decided to study this scene in more detail to better how and why it was set up to be shot this way instead of some other way.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Life Update - 001

Today, I went on a tour of the facility I'll be working at. I can't say what kind of job I've just been hired to do. Although, I will say is it's not what I would have picked out for myself when I was in high school. That being said, I will keep moving forward by getting my LLC business license and developing my art and writing skills. Furthermore, I fully intend on learning how to market myself as an artist. Visual Development is what I want to do. So, it is vitally important for me to get a strong portfolio together these last few months before CTNx.

Here's what I've been working on recently. Amelie - (Subway Scene) 1 min. 47 sec. This is the sixth shot from the first sequence of this scene. I still need to change the numbering of the shots to reflect the correct sequence and shot numbers.

Why People Give Up

I have posted this image in a previous post but, I've got some quotes by a couple of famous people that are a perfect fit for the diagram. 

Believe in yourself! Work hard, never give up & anything's possible. OR: Kick back, relax & aim low-you'll never be disappointed.
                     ~Mark Hamill

"Continuous effort--not strength or intelligence--is the key to unlocking our potential." 
~Winston Churchill

People give up for various reasons. I too was about to give up but, I've decided to stick in there to continue the fight against boredom, slothfulness and, mediocrity. Last night, I found Jessica Abel's website. It's a treasure trove of teaching and advice on the subject of being a self sufficient creative person. I know it's gonna take constant effort and a lot of work but, I need to see my dreams come to pass.

Today, I'm going to an orientation for another non creative job that will pay the rent and bills but, it will not satisfy me creatively. However, it will give me the money I need to do some things I'd like to do this summer. I've made plans to meet a film director and attend an anime convention. In September, I would like to go to Industry Giants to network with other attendees and pros alike. Also, this November I would like to attend CTNx to show my visual development portfolio to industry professionals in the hopes of obtaining employment in an animation studio located in California.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Finally!!! The Wait is OVER! A STORYBOARD PANEL

I have finally got a bit of the animatic I'm working on for your viewing pleasure. So, without further adieu here it is in all it's sketchy glory.

This was drawn using Adobe Flash. And, it looks pretty cool as a thumbnail. This image is from the sixth shot in the sequence. Yes, it's numbered incorrectly. That will get fixed later. Here's where I got the idea to create this file. No, I've never taken Liane's class at the CGMA Academy. Nearly everything I learned about how to set up this Flash file was gleaned from the following video. The numbers at the bottom are symbols from a file I created several months ago. After this is done, I'll post the entire animatic here on this blog.

Interview with the Masters | Liane Cho Han

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

I'm working on a personal project: AMELIE SUBWAY SCENE STORYBOARDS

Back in the 90s I was really into foreign films so Eric Rohmer, Pedro Almadovar, Akira Kurosawa were a few of the directors that interested me. At that time, I had no idea what cinematography was. All I knew was, I liked what I was looking at. During my employment at Blockbuster Video I saw a weird movie named Delicatessen (1991) directed by Marc Caro and Jean-Pierre Jeunet. The story as it's described on IMDB.com is:

The story is centered on a microcosm of a post-apocalyptic society where food is so rare it's invaluable and is used as currency. The story centers on an apartment building with a delicatessen on the ground floor. The owner of the eatery also owns the apartment building and he is in need of a new maintenance man since the original "mysteriously" disappeared. A former clown applies for the job and the butcher's intent is to have him work for a little while and then serve him to quirky tenants who pay the butcher in, of course, grain. The clown and butcher's daughter fall in love and she tries to foil her father's plans by contacting the "troglodytes", a grain eating sub-group of society who live entirely underground. The "trogs" are possibly the most sensible of the lot, as they see food as food and not money. Edit: After watching the trailer for this movie I've decided NOT to link to it. You'll have to look it up on YouTube for yourself.

Anywhosles, fast forward to Amelie (2001). The color pallet for this film is very stylized and gorgeous to behold. I decided to use a clip from the movie to reverse engineer the scene shot by shot using Adobe Flash 5.5 to create an Animatic of the entire one minute and forty seven second sequence. I got this idea from Liane Cho Han the supervising storyboard artist on Long Way North a French Flash animated feature film coming to America through distribution deal with Shout! Factory.

Here's the trailer:

English Subtitled Trailer:

Cartoon Brew  coverage about Long Way North.

Here's the personal project I'm working on. Within the fifteen to sixteen shots I'm working reverse engineering there's camera movement I've need to simulate. No worries. I just need to get it done by tomorrow night so I can start a new project.

A Very Helpful Color Chart - The Psychology of Color

I'm not sure where I found this or who owns it but, the contact info is at the bottom of the image. I've always wanted to have this kind of chart because colors do have meanings. And, to complicate matters those meanings are not the same in every culture. This chart is a very good fundamental tool in creating great visual art.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

How I Feel Now That Everything is Cleared Up

This sketch was drawn in a fellow artist's drawing pad. She told me my drawings of fella look too much like girls so I had to straighten the cheek line a little.

I gave the original drawing to someone I met at a local restaurant. She was very appreciative.

This one I gave to a friend of mine in a going away card before she left to start at another job.

I decided not to post hi-rez images online anymore because, I would like to start selling my art. Osz7.deviantart is another place I post my art. Unfortunately, I haven't used it in a while due some personal issues. Since there's a lot of resources I have access to there I've started using it again. Later, I'll post post some storyboards here and there. : )

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Something to Listen to When Disappointment Sets In


The way you feel when people disappoint you. It's crappy but, life goes on.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Some Art of a Cosplayer Dressed Up as Romoma Flowers

This drawing was drawn from a photo I found on RadioMaru's Tumblr a few months ago. I've included a link to the original image here. : )

Here's the original link to give the proper credit to owner of the photo. Sugar Bunny Cosplay on Tumblr. :D

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Prince: One of My Favorite Singers Passed Away Today


At work, a middle aged African American woman told me Prince died today. Nearly everyone I asked these simple questions, "Have you heard about it?" Or, "Do you know what happened today?" Everyone who grew up listening to his music knew about it. Nearly everyone knew what I was talking about except a trio of young women who were from another country. It is very sad that he died so young. And, he was only 57 years old. I wanted to see him concert. He was a great singer and musician.

When I was a teenager back in the 80s, I would stay up late to watch Friday Night Videos and, Night Tracks. 'Purple Rain' and 'When Doves Cry' were in heavy rotation every Friday and Saturday night. I would stay up late just sing along with him.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Sounds Like Storyboard Artists In TV Animation Are Getting Over Worked and Under Paid

I have copied and pasted this information about storyboarding here on my blog to get the word out.

The non creative job I had been working at for about two and half months did us the same way. Unfortunately, I can't tell you the name of that company because I had to sign a Non Disclosure Agreement.

Monday, March 07, 2016

Storyboard Deadlines ... Storyboard Timelines

Let us take one more dip into the old mailbag*:

I've been doing TV storyboards for 25 years and this deadline thing is really getting ridiculous.

It was insane when they moved the deadline for 11 minutes of board from 6 to 5 weeks but 4 weeks for a finished board is NUTS. I am assuming that this squeezing of the deadline screws is just as bad for the rest of the preproduction folks out there but since storyboards are my area, I cover what I know best. Here are the facts: every panel for a television storyboard based on a written script takes 10 - 20 minutes AVERAGE per panel WITHOUT revision time included. This is also based on a board that is done on paper with out adding the timing or dialogue tracts required in Toonboom Storyboard Pro or Adobe Flash. So the fact is we are all doing a lot of unpaid overtime and not doing anything about it. If your production manager says that someone else is able to do the work in the 4 week time frame that 4 weeks is really 6 weeks and they have no life.

My suggestions :

1. KEEP TRACK OF YOUR TIME. Get one of those little paper book diaries and write down how many hours you REALLY work every day. You will understand yourself how much you are working, and you will have physical proof to show anyone exactly what's going on.

2. TALK TO OTHERS. Don't just complain, get a real consensus of what is happening and get them to keep track of their time as well.

3. GIVE A COPY of TV STORYBOARD TIME REQUIREMENTS to your Production Manager / Associate Producer. If you are afraid to hand it to them personally, slip it under their door. If they actually read it, It might give them an understanding why they can never seem to get "those slow board artists" to turn in their storyboards on time. ...

And now, the Veteran Board Artist estimates the time that the storyboarding will actually take. ...


NOTE: The following is based on the actual PHYSICAL time requirements to create a storyboard for TV animation. Although there is some variance to the speed at which artists draw, the following is based on the AVERAGE time needed to create the necessary work based on a script with equal parts action and acting and NO REVISIONS.

The following is what is required in any fully cleaned-up panel of storyboard:

1. Suggested background
2. An on-model character – either a) establishing and/or b) acting / expressing story point.
3. Scene description, and camera action. special effects description.
4. (TBSBP) Initial rough timing / anamatic set-up

MINIMUM time required to complete panel: 10 minutes/panel

Average Time: 20 minutes/panel

(A complicated action with camera moves and armies can take over an hour.)

For a 3 act script consisting of 36 – 40 pages:

#Panels / script page: 24 – 36 (8 -12 bd.pgs.) Time: 8 – 12 hrs, 1- 1.5 8 hr days*

#Panels / 1 minute of film: 60 – 72 (20 – 24 bd.pgs.) Time: 20 – 24 hrs, 2.5 – 3 8b hr days*

#Panels / 7 minute film: 420 – 504 (140 – 168 bd.pgs) Time: 140 – 168 hrs., 17.5 – 21 8 hr days (3.5-4wks)*

# Panels / 11 minute film: 660 – 792 (220 – 264 bd. pgs) Time: 220 - 264 hrs., 27.5 – 33 “ “ (5.5 – 6wks)*

# Panels / 22 minute film: 1320 – 1584 (440 – 528 bd. pgs) Time: 440 - 528 hrs., 55 - 66 “ “ (11 – 12wks)*

* (Time is based on average time of 20 minutes x panel count WITHOUT revisions and going straight to cleanup. If revisions are required, multiply all times above by 1.25X)

!!(Special Note: ACTION takes at least 2-3 times the amount of drawings that acting does. If the show is heavy on action, multiply numbers given above by 2X to compensate for the additional drawing and panels needed)!!

If working in Toonboom Storyboard Pro add .25X to the equation for the additional amount of work added to create a working animatic.

Simple formulas for calculating adjustments to the average time:

Average Show

Hrs x .75 thumbnail and rough only
Hrs. x 1 finished board no revisions
Hrs. x 1.25 finished board with revisions on the roughs
Hrs. x 1.5 finished board with revisions on the roughs in TBSBP

Action / Comedy Heavy Show

Hrs. x 2 action heavy board no revisions
Hrs x 2.5 heavy action board with revisions the on roughs
Hrs x 2.75 heavy action board with revisions on the roughs in TBSB


Parameters of 10 – 20 minutes for each panel described above is not an arbitrary figure. Consider the analysis below for the explanation of why it takes this amount of time for a professional storyboard artist to produce each frame for a cartoon’s blue print. Consider that every panel of storyboard requires the three steps: Planning, Drawing and

Usually a board artist considers a minimum of a scene at a time (3-10 panels) and how that scene works within a sequence (1/4 – 1 script page) and how that sequence works within a section (1 – 3 script pages) then how the sections work into each other and to the full script.

Storyboarding for animation is NOT just rapidly drawing a sketch. Even if a story artist is doing a pitch session and is quickly throwing up post-its, those sketches have to be taken down, reworked, and put into a blueprint like format so that the team working on the film can use them effectively.

Storyboarding for television requires that the artist do the following jobs: storyboarding as layout; writer of all action and gags and clerk for scene descriptions dialogue, action and camera action; and initial acting, action, camera, and timing direction. Also, sometimes, they are background, prop and character designer. All characters are required to be as close to “model” as possible, many times without the artist ever having drawn the characters before.

Every panel created requires the following:

1. Planning: reading the script to decide on the image

A. Staging – where and how to set up the shot in relation to:

1) Location choice
2) Camera position
3) Composition
4) Camera motion
5) Emotional Note
6) Cutting, timing and transitions

B. Acting - How the character(s) are to act in the shot with relation to

1) Personality of the character
2) Style of the show
3) Event taking pace
4) Actual action the character must commit
5) Point of dialogue delivery
6) Plot through line
7) Break down of action over successive panels
8) Action of relationship between multiple characters and their reactions

C. Continuity – maintenance of continued visual plot points

1) Correct costumes, props and locations
2) On-model / character proportions and physical attributes
3) Maintaining continued existence of Point of Interest characters, props or costumes not associated with on screen action but necessary for story through line or plot (Example: Evenrude in
the Disney series "Tail Spin")

2. Drawing : creating the image

A. Thumbnail – initial skeletal composition, staging, continuity, acting and action – work out unresolved story
and action neglected in script.

B. Rough – rework of initial ideas, draw in backgrounds, refine acting and action.

C. Cleanup – tighten all character acting and visual information.

3. Description: verbally describing the panel

A. Scene Description

1) Verbal description of action
2) Camera information
3) Staging requests (i.e. overlays, animating BG’s, Bi-pack)
B. Dialogue
C. Special Effects
3) Sound FX
4) Visual FX
5) Special timing requests

Here’s a given line of script: “The warriors attack the fort.” What has to be added that the writer left out? How many panels do you think it will take? How long will it take to execute??
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

* The above e-mail and attached notes (which appear below the fold) were triggered by a recent discussion with a veteran production board artist who has worked at most of the major animation studios ... and a good number of small ones ... over the last two and a half decades. I made the suggestion that they send along their descriptions and break downs of the time needed to execute storyboards of different styles and types.

Happily, they already had estimates ready to go. I said we would post the whole kaboodle here on the blog, which we are now doing. Understand this is one veteran's analysis of what's required to execute a professional cartoon storyboard. Other artists' mileage may vary.

-- Steve Hulett


jeff snow said...
I've also noticed the workload in animation storyboards since the advent of the digital revolution has increased tremendously. While computers have certainly increased the speed and productivity of artists, it's been disproportionate to the amount expected in the boards. Currently, the average board panels required by most studios has increased by approximately 40 percent compared to when boards were done on paper. Additionally, the artist, if working freelance, needs to absorb the costs of hardware and software, not to mention the time needed to learn the programs required. Also, many studios require separation of levels (for background, characters and effects ) in addition to sometimes even providing an editorial timing pass. And on top of this, the rates, at least for freelance boards by most studios has not increased in 20 years.
Christian Roman said...
When did the role of putting together an animatic switch from an editor to the storyboard artist? I haven't worked in TV for over 10 years, but back then I thought the editors were in the editors union, so making animatics was a union gig. Did the Animation Guild allow this change, muscling into another union's territory?

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

This Is 'VERY' Encouraging

Not sure where I found this graphic by Anna Vital but, it is so true. I've been feeling like giving up and throwing in the towel because there's so much to do and so little time to do it in. What I've got to keep in mind is all of my favorite artists, writers, singers and, musicians had to get on the grind and stay there to get good at their respective crafts. I am no different.

Monday, January 25, 2016

The Beginning of Much Needed Rest and The Search for Some Much Needed Employment

Today, I lost my one of my jobs. Technically it was yesterday but, what does it matter? It's been my main income since I left the fast food industry a several months ago. I'm kinda glad and sad at the same time. In a way, I enjoyed working there and earning the money I've been blessed to have earned. On the other hand, I now have more time to write, draw and, paint. This gives me time to devote more attention to my portfolio. I've got some prospects for where I'd like to work. And, I've got money in the bank so I'm not worried at all. R and R is what I've got planned for about a week while I look for employment elsewhere. 

Monday, January 18, 2016

David Bowie - Rest In Peace

David Bowie calls out MTV on their racism

I had no idea about this video before folloiwing the 'Now Trending' link a couple of days ago.


There's more I'd like to post about David Bowie soon.

Friday, December 25, 2015

Merry Christmas!

I didn't get to see some relatives I wanted to see for Christmas this year but, hopefully I'll see them next year. No worries.

On a different note, I haven't forgotten about my Jem and the Holograms movie rant. I've found more information about the production of the movie. I need to do more research.

I'll try to post art soon. : )

Friday, November 13, 2015

Jem and the Holograms Movie Rant Coming Soon

This rant is looong overdue seeing as I actually paid to see the Jem and the Holograms movie on November 4th. I'm not sure how I want to structure this. Whatever structure I'd like to use, I plan for at least three posts. Each having something to do with how this movie was marketed, how the movie was structured, and interviews of people envolved with the film and fans who were asked to send in videos and letters. And of course, I want to talk about the original Jem and the Holograms cartoon that this movie was supposed be based on. So, I'll wait until later this weekend to start posting about my thoughts concerning this film.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Jamie Hewlett Interview

I like to surround myself with people who are honest with me about who am I am and what I'm about.


The ego is a very dangerous thing and should be kept in a box under the bed ~ Jamie Hewlett. One of my favorite comic book artists. Many years ago, I first saw Tank Girl and was instantly enamored with her and her world. Since my tween years I've been into European comics via Heavy Metal Magazine so, Judge Dredd and Tank Girl were very interesting to me.

Trying to find the moment where you're lost in your work is 'being in the zone.' He let himself get interrupted too much. My problem is I've not been disciplined enough to get those things finished.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015


Copyright law is about to change...
For more than a year Congress has been holding hearings for the drafting of a brand new US Copyright Act. At its heart is the return of Orphan Works.

What does this mean for artists? it means it will make it easier for infringers to steal artists works and harder for people who are making or trying to make a living out of art more difficult. This will effect every artist and all the artwork they have created, are creating, and will be created. Corporates, Big businesses, and publishers want this to pass to make money out off artists works without paying us artists for past, current, and future artwork.

The Canadian Government has already expressed interest in following suit and adapting their laws to match this proposal if this bill passes.

- Basic Facts About The Law Being Proposed -
“The Next Great Copyright Act” would replace all existing copyright law.

- It would void our Constitutional right to the exclusive control of our work.

-It would “privilege” the public’s right to use our work.

- It would “pressure” you to register your work with commercial registries. - It would “orphan” unregistered work.

- It would make orphaned work available for commercial infringement by “good faith” infringers. - It would allow others to alter your work and copyright these “derivative works” in their own names.

- It would affect all visual art: drawings, paintings, sketches, photos, etc.; past, present and future; published and unpublished; domestic and foreign.

Ways to stop this or preventing these changes from happening....

Share, reblog this post, spread it for other artists to take notice and action. - You can submit a letter on how this law can be an issue for you as an artist in the U.S.

> > > DEADLINE IS THIS THURSDAY: JULY 23, 2015 < < <

Non-U.S. artists can email their letters to the attention of:
Catherine Rowland
Senior Advisor to the Register of Copyrights
U.S. Copyright Office

I wish had read a lot sooner than today. 

The following blog is where I read this.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015


These are some very rough boards I've been working on recently. Adobe Flash has been giving me some prompts informing me that it can not save my file. Somehow it actually does save the file and I can go back to using it as usual. The first panel of the third page is all wrong. I have to re-draw it. I've got a better idea. I'll adjust the camera left to end at that shot. That way the problem is solved in a much easier fashion.

Instead of continuing these boards in Flash, I will start over in Photoshop. I may start  on that tomorrow. The whole reason for drawing them in Flash in the first place is I feel more comfortable drawing in Flash than Photoshop. Yeah, I know PS is great for this kind of thing but, Flash gives me nice black lines throughout an entire stroke. PS has come a long way since I first started using it during version 6. For instance, the brush engine is a lot nicer. At any rate, there are pros and cons for using both programs to create stroryboards. I might list them some other time.

Recently, I downloaded Toon Boom Storyboard Pro from Toon Boom's website. So far it looks pretty good. I've got some online training to get up to speed on it. So, by the end of the week I should have a working knowledge of it. When I have more personal time, I'd like to create storyboard of a fight, a couple of quite moments and, some dramatic moments to use in my professional portfolio.

To a Close Friend,

MS, I have not heard from you  in a while. You asked me to create two paintings for you. I haven't forgotten. I gave you my word I would paint them for you. And, that's what I plan to do. After you read this hit me up sometime.

Eric : )

Sunday, July 19, 2015



Eric R. Watson

Some Very Important Notes To Keep In Mind Before Storyboarding.

  • ·         Go through the script. See what the story is about.

  • ·         What’s the journey the character goes through? And, how can I put that on screen?

  • ·         How can I bring out the inner qualities of a character?

  • ·         How can I bring out what this person is feeling?

  • ·         How can I interpret those things into playable actions?

  • ·         How can I turn a vague script into something playable on screen?

  • ·         Breakdown a script, determine what it’s really about and move toward that thing.

  • ·         Create a Visual Expressions Narrative for each character. (Refer the script.)

  • ·         How do I take a character through an emotional journey?

  • ·         What is their psychological make-up into playable actions?

  • ·         Design where things are located in each scene and how the lighting is set up.

  • ·         What is the choreography for every character for each scene?

  • ·         How do I design each shot to heighten the emotional effect of each scene? 
 These are just some important notes I've gleaned from Chris Oatley's Paper Wings Podcast Episode # 27: Creating a Professional Portfolio Part 1. Unfortunately, I didn't learn how to draw amazingly awesome storyboard in college. So, in addition to books I have on cinematography, storyboarding and the FLCL storyboard book I look for free resources online to learn the tricks of the trade. I'm sure there's more to creating storyboards from scripts than this; as alluded to by Justin Copeland. 

Chris Oatley's website:

Justin Copeland Interviewed on Chris Oatley's Podcast:

Justin Copeland's Deviantart page:

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Writing as a Drawing Tool

Writing as a drawing tool - yeah, that sounds weird. If you wanted to work with words, you’d be a writer, right? This isn’t beautiful writing, though. This is organizational, planning writing that I’m going to talk about. Writing out a scene beat by beat in order to outline an entire story is a good way to better understand mechanics of visual story telling. (I’ve re-written the previous two sentences for better clarity.) 

Full disclosure: I’m not a visual thinker. If I’ve only met you a few times, I recall you in terms of a general impression and descriptive words. I have no picture of you in my head. It’s kind of crazy that I’ve gotten this far in this field without a mind’s eye, but using writing as an intermediary between intention and drawing has helped me a lot. If you’re a visual thinker you probably have your own methods of working, but either way I hope this is useful. When I jump straight into boards or thumbnailing, it can be easy to get lost or forget the point of view I intended to convey in the scene. When I work straight ahead in either writing or boarding - it’s easy for me to go down the rabbit hole of possibilities. The farther down the rabbit hole you go, the harder it is to distinguish which choices are serving my goals, because this option is awesome — wait, and this one is, too. All of them are interesting and worth pursuing, and sometimes I forget where I was going in the first place. While that exploratory work is useful, it can be deadly when I’m crunched for time. Not LITERALLY deadly but, deadly to productivity for sure. So that’s where writing comes in. When I write down where the scene should end up, what each character is doing, that’s one thing I don’t have to constantly grip in my mind. I’ve got it on my notepad, and my mind is freed up to explore within the constraints I’ve set down. It all seems clear in my head, but it helps to write it down. Seeing the whole thing down on paper gives me a good look at where the disorganized areas are, so I can make adjustments. When I go straight ahead, it’s easy to tell myself I’ll figure it out when I get there… but, this brings me to another point: Writing is so, so much faster than drawing. I’m not talking about flowery description. I’m talking about basic “she goes there, he feels this, because of this she does that,” etc. You can knock this out in five minutes. Even looking at the bare bones it’s easy to see where you’re losing the spirit of your pitch. I’d much prefer to find out that I’ve lost the spirit of my pitch in five minutes than an hour later, after thumbnailing the whole thing.

Here’s another advantage: I can write down my plan, approve of it in sound mind, and have that paper with my plan for the scene or story written on it when I am:

•in the throes of self-doubt
•seduced by the compulsion to change everything at the last minute
•wondering whether this was ever a good idea and what is on TV (very subtly different from the   throes of self-doubt)

If you’re not convinced, you’re not convinced. If you are, here are some guidelines: When you’re beating out a scene, think about WHY the audience is watching - like, what do they want to find out? Think about what they probably EXPECT will happen (so you can support that) and what ACTUALLY happens (so you can surprise them with it). Write down everything that happens in the scene. Descriptive words help (because again, when you’re tired and can’t decide what the acting should be, you can look at your descriptive word and just do that). 

•She looks up, confused.
•Above: wasp nest on a tree
•Wasps buzzing around it
•She is horrified
•She runs

For an outline - for your whole story - things are a little different. A general guideline I use for writing out an outline is that each of the following gets a paragraph:

•the concept of the story
•who the main character is
•what is her place in the world
•what goes wrong (inciting incident)
•how does she try to fix it (act 1 break)
•brief description of complications (act 2)
•what really goes wrong (midpoint)
•low point
•resolution (act 3)

It seems counter-intuitive that almost half of the outline would be setup for the story, and that the end would be just one paragraph, but this really does work and make sense when you need to see your whole story in just a few pages.So next time you have a story idea, try writing some things down before you start sketching your favorite moments. Maybe you’ll like it.

(I forgot where I found this tidbit of information but, it's definitely worth including here. And, I’m not sure who to give credit to for writing this.)

I'm glad to have found this on my hard drive. Since then, I've saved this into the Adobe Flash document that I'm creating my storyboards in. Also, I have Mark Andrews Lecture Notes I copied from two YouTube videos in the same Flash document. If you'd like to see the videos and read my notes here are the links to them:

Mark Andrews Lecture part 1

Mark Andrews Lecture part 2

My Notes on These Two Videos (300dpi print quality)