Obsessive Mimicry



Obsessive Mimicry is what I call it. Some might call it Storyboards, Character Design and Sequential art, but the bottom line is that someone somewhere has done this before, over and over again.

I have worked for a number of animation studios over the years, and was fortunate enough to draw some pretty cool characters. The Simpsons, Family Guy, Men in Black, Godzilla, and more.

I got started part time creating maquettes for animation, moved on to character design and finally storyboards and then concept art. Animation is quite different then live action film or TV. I didn't design any of these characters from scratch, I had to adapt my drawing style to their model sheets and then draw them as they were.

Below you'll see some of my practice runs at these characters. Teams of people made these characters what they are. They were refined and edited down to their most basic, repeatable designs and lines.
 





 

I start with life drawing, any studio will tell you to brush up on your life drawing skills. Go to a busy place where there are lots of people, sit down and draw them they said. Go to a zoo and draw animals they said. I did. 

Many characters that I designed for the studios, started out as simple words on paper invented by a writer. My job was to interpret their ideas and design these characters, essentially bringing them to life.



Each drawing of and existing character is a challenge when I first get started. I have to adapt what I know to suit the director's needs and make the character look like it is meant to. The illustrations are older drawings of me getting familiar with each of the character’s nuances, that’s where the obsessive mimicry comes in.


Fortunately, I have worked with some amazing talented artists, but there really weren’t many artists doing storyboards at that time.



I found my niche in storyboards, and liked the idea because they were much looser and less polished then character design. Before I get started, I usually do several warm up pages of different types of characters.




I've done storyboards for feature films, animation, television, multi-media projects, comic books, and presentations. I have drawn thousands of individual frames over the past twenty years, but each project was always different.


These storyboards are for Quantum Enigma, A sci-fi film and comic book project. The boards are very loose and rough which is what this script called for.

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Storyboard design is very specialized, it involves telling a story with sequential images, interpreted from the written word such as a film script.



A storyboard is exactly how it sounds. It is a way to convey an idea to a group of people through pictures. Usually, it is the action that needs to be shown this way, instead of two people sitting at a table conversing.


Family Guy, Film Roman


A director relies on my ability to show the film crew camera angles, scene detail, character continuity, special effects, and more before it was done on screen. With storyboards, everyone that works on the project understands what is going on.




The Incredible Hulk: Animated Series, Marvel Films. 
This TV show was a crossover with the Fantastic Four on the Marvel Action Hour











Fantastic Four: The Animated Series, Marvel Films 






Godzilla: The Animated Series











Rugrats, Klasky Csupo: Animated Series






Silver Lining: Live Action Film


































True Vinyl: Live Action Film
True Vinyl Trailer






I’ve done many different types of storyboards and generally it depended on time and budget. Sometimes, I did a series of pencil sketches or stick figures which worked perfectly. Occasionally, highly detailed character sketches were the solution. It taught me to be flexible, creative and fast.