In high school, I was direction-less in my career choices. I worked in a warehouse and was (on occasion) attending community college. In the art department, I took a few life drawing classes that exposed me to a professional art community and I got the idea that I could actually make a living drawing! WOW! It sounded a bit better than getting your fingers crushed in the warehouse. After that I was a bit more focused, and I transferred to Cal State Fullerton to pursue animation.
Do you always board to a set script? What's the process for boarding to a script and what's the process to boarding without?
Since most of my work is in animation, there is a lot of leeway for the artist to add physical action and comedy. I find that it is easier to sell some ideas by showing in boards, rather than a description in the script. This is what makes the storyboard process for animation so fun, the amount of invention!
If there is no script, then the process that I use is to get an idea for the scene by having a discussion with the producer, writer and director. Once a direction has been set on, I will usually draw out basic beat boards to outline the structure of the scene before diving into full-on storyboarding. It really depends on the scope of your scene, and how well formed your director's vision is for that scene.
If the scene is short and fairly self explanatory, then I feel confident in just jumping into the boards themselves.
The scenes can be broken up in many ways, based on a story artist's strengths, or lengths of scenes, or scope of assignments. Someone who is considered great at comedy may be put on a scene that needs to read as really funny. Or, if a story artist has exceptional draftsmanship skills, they may be placed on a scene with a lot of drama and or action. If it's a few scenes or a story thread that needs to be tracked, a few artists might be placed on a small team to tackle that problem.
What are some key rules you have in mind when story boarding a scene/shot?
Keeping open communication with your team is important. Having a good back and forth with the director is key, and leaning on your fellow story artists for brainstorming ideas can be incredibly beneficial.
You're constantly posting new artwork online. How often do you draw outside of work, and where do you find your motivation to keep it up?
Hahaha, well, I have taken a bit of a hiatus from posting artwork online recently, my blog is full of cobwebs at the moment. But, as a freelancer this was my bread and butter. Employers and producers are always drawn to more self-motivated creative types. Updating a blog is a really a great way to keep in contact with the art community and to get jobs.
I still draw a ton outside of work. It's not only my career but its also my passion. Nothing beats drawing an accurate caricature of a friend, or observing a moment on the subway and recording it with a simple sketch. I would say that the motivation comes from wanting to interact with the environment around me in a way that I know.
That is a skill that I will always be working on, probably for the rest of my life. There's always room for improvement and growth, and that's what makes it so fun. There is always a direction to grow and expand. Thats probably a better answer for the motivation question above, haha.
Of course, these skills do require work and dedication. It's like a muscle group that needs to be exercised.
You've posted many images of a boy and a robot. Can you explain a little about this story and where it came from? Any future plans for it?
It's artwork and exploration for a short piece that I was working on with a friend. It was a fun project because I had no idea where it was going and I was creating a few new pieces a week to push the story along. This was a very organic, and not necessarily a fruitful way of working, but it still was very fun and I wasn't bogged down with deadlines or scope. I'm taking a bit of a hiatus from that project, but it very well may develop into another idea.
Thank you for interviewing with AnimSchool, Mike. To view more of Mike Daley's work, visit his website: http://www.biocreep.com/