The Battle of the ‘Ketchup Bottle Syndrome’


It never fails.

I get all ramped up for starting a new storyboard. I have a good outlook and tell myself I can do all this work and still have time for the other things I want to do. Like write a blog post :). I get the little things around the house done that I didn’t have to time to do during the last storyboard. During ‘hell week‘. I’m free and clear to sit down and work.

Then it happens.


I sit and sit and stare and stare. I get up, I sit down. I get up and do things I shouldn’t do. The things that working from home draw you to. Like check email. Like see what Britney did today. Like clean the bathroom. Then I say. “Enough! Get to work!”.

And I sit and I sit. And I stare and I stare.


This could go on for days. It’s horrible.

Read moreThe Battle of the ‘Ketchup Bottle Syndrome’

First Storyboard Wrap Up and Taming the Beast


OK, so how did the first storyboard treat me? Well, not too bad.

I hadn’t boarded in almost nine months. And the show before that, I did on the computer in Flash. So I hadn’t done a storyboard on real paper for quite some time. It’s good. I like paper and the feel of the pencil on it. Digital and paper both have their pros and cons but I’m content to be doing this one the good old fashioned way.

So I had the director’s meeting and picked up my materials. Then I got home and organized all those materials. Then it was about two weeks of thumbnailing out the whole show. And I gotta tell ya, the thing turned out to be a beast.

It would have been about 250 pages for an eleven minute cartoon and that’s pretty huge. Usually an average page count for eleven minutes is 160-180 pages (remember that’s three panels per page). At least it used to be. Good thing I had my thumbnails! After some discussion with the director, I managed to cut out about the equivalent of 50 storyboard pages.

So it was gonna roll in around 200 pages. OK, I could live with that. It’s better for the show to time in a bit long than too short. Much easier to cut things out than add things in after the fact. But if I know it’s way too long, there’s no point in drawing all those extra pages knowing they will be cut out in the end. It just wastes everyone’s time.

Then it’s down to business. Drawing all those pages. Deep breath…

Read moreFirst Storyboard Wrap Up and Taming the Beast

Production Journal – A Million Little Drawings

OK, maybe not a million…but lots!

I’m talking about the first step in creating a storyboard. At least the first step I take…I can’t speak for everyone, of course. After getting the materials, going over the script and getting organized, I draw small.

Those little drawing are called thumbnails. Smaller versions of the panels I will eventually draw bigger, nicer and cleaner. Just as the storyboard is the plan for the cartoon or the film, the thumbnails are the plan for the storyboard.

Some artists go right to full size panels and rough out their boards. Then they clean them up. If this works for you, great. But here are some benefits of drawing small thumbnails first.

Read moreProduction Journal – A Million Little Drawings

Production Journal – Getting the Show on the Road

And so it begins.

Here I am, starting the first board of a new cartoon. I’ll be doing five shows in a series of 52 eleven minute episodes over the course of six months. It’s a brand new show created (and directed) by a buddy of mine, so that alone makes it all pretty neat.

I’ll be working from my studio at home but you could very well end up working in-house. Studios sometimes want the less experienced people in-house but feel comfortable with the experienced ones working on their own. There’s no set rule and I’ve done both.

So what happens first?

Well,I had a meeting with the series director on Monday and signed my contract along with a few other forms. Since I’m dealing with a studio I’ve worked with many times over the past 8 years or so, it’s all pretty much routine at this point.

I had received the script on the Friday before, to become familiar with it. Read your script before you talk about it with the director! It would be ridiculous to try to ‘fake it’ and read along as you discuss it. You’re going to be spending a lot of time with this script so it’s important you understand it and get the director’s take on it.

The meeting begins.

Here is where we discuss the script and his vision for the show. And I had a few notes. Now, I love story and want the cartoon to be as good as it can, so I give my honest opinion about the script. I see myself as the ‘fresh eyes’ to the story. Keep in mind that I know the director and the studio, so if you’re new to this, be careful…they can be a sensitive bunch. They have worked very hard on those scripts and I respect that. If you don’t feel you have the experience to give your opinion, then don’t.

I do. So I did.

It was fun, right Boots?

Read moreProduction Journal – Getting the Show on the Road