Saturday, April 4, 2009


My blog posts have tapered a little as the workload has increased. Now that drawing has started in earnest, it's kind of tough to switch from image mode to word mode. But it's Saturday morning, and I'm waiting for Jiyoung to get up for breakfast. Blog time!

Man, this is hard. I thought the writing was going to be the toughest part, but the storyboarding is brutal. I've spent the week trying to figure out the best working method, and I'm still wandering all over the place. Experiments have included:
  • Using an internet-based timer to remind me when five minutes are up. And by "remind," I mean "scare me out of my skin." Man, is that thing jarring. I was only able to stick with this for a day -- five minutes per drawing over eight hours is just about the most exhausting thing you can do to your brain. 
  • Using Painter instead of Photoshop to keep things impressionistic. Alas, it's so impressionistic that I have trouble telling if this or that blob is a person or a spaceship.
  • Using Photoshop again to draw in a more linear, sketchy way. This isn't bad, but the line feels artificial. Sort of bugs me.
  • Using Painter again, but with pencils instead of paint. This might work. Still trying it out.
I'm trying to figure out how not to run out of steam over the course of a day. I've been starting strong, but by mid-afternoon my mind is a total blank. Part of the solution may be to set clearer daily goals: "Today I have to get three pages of script storyboarded." The problem with that is that some shots, even if they don't take much time on screen, require a huge amount of storyboard explanation. So "a page of script" can mean an hour of work or two days of work. 

On top of all that (and this is the toughest thing for me), the drawings are looking pretty awful. My discomfort with this is yet another side effect of my not having anticipated the reality of the process (c.f. "I can do the script in a couple of weeks, I think"). I look at the Miyazaki storyboards and they're beautiful, intricate, and fully-realized visions. I don't know how long they take (I probably don't want to know), but I expected that I'd be coming up with comparably finished stuff. I guess I forgot that I was also trying to hash out the entire storyline in two months, per the suggestion of Steve Thompson, my spotter.

I still think Steve is right on the money. Just get the stuff down, then circle back around for revisions. Still, my ego is really tied up in this, and I wish the drawings were prettier. To spend eight hours drawing and not have a single gee-whiz image to show Jiyoung at the end of the day... it's kind of a bummer, man. Sometimes I wonder if the only reason I've ever made anything is to get the little dopamine payoff at the end when somebody says "wow, that's cool." These days, I feel like a rat who's hitting the feeder bar twice as fast, but the food pellets have stopped dropping.

So this is a great opportunity to start working for the right reasons, I suppose. Or maybe I can tell my brain that this is all building toward the ultimate dopamine bonanza at the end of the year.

In other news, three people, including my dad, are reviewing the script right now. It's been a week and no word. I'm trying not to panic. Please let this not be garbage.

Okay! Back to drawing!


  1. Hey this sounds familiar to me. If I may offer a suggestion even though quite allot has happened since you posted this originally. When/if you get back to drawing storyboards again, focus on key moments, do your in-betweens later. Spend more time on your Key drawings and you'll feel inspired to fill in the rest later. Each one of those half rendered blobs is gonna chip away at your morale and your psyche. It's a recipe for burnout. Some people can work like that. I can't and I suspect you don't like to either. Don't. Enjoy it. Do 3-5 drawings in a day. Make some nice drawings and feel good about them. Why else would you do this otherwise? This is your project. Don't worry so much about the time and enjoy beautiful drawings and storytelling. After you've established a good flow and had time to stew on the in-betweens go back and fill them in rough and loose. Just my 2 cents.

  2. Wow nate you are an honest artist i give you that...Can't stop reading...