Monday, November 30, 2009

Cranking out storyboards

Storyboards are usually done under adverse conditions like a terrible deadline. An artist develops a reputation for meeting deadlines as well as interpreting the script in an interesting way. Often, because of time restraints, the renderings must be done fast and loose. These examples are part of a series that I did for Y & R in Irvine, California. I had to do 65 frames over a weekend.

One of the problems with this assignment was that I had to find specific reference for many of the frames which takes up a good deal of time.

A close up of the statues at Grand Central Station in Manhattan. I had no time to spend on these frames, you can see how loosely they are rendered.

The eagles on top of the Chrysler building.

This assignment was for an automotive client, Lincoln Mercury and also had a lot of automobiles in it to render which complicated things even more. In my next post I'll show a few of those frames. I don't recall the Art Director's name, but he was very good to work with.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Tough storyboard assignments

Some of the toughest and most demanding storyboard assignments one can work on are the automotive ones. Even though boards are quickly rendered because of deadline considerations, the product must be done fairly accurate. Often the ad agency does not provide photos of the cars, complicating things further because you must find reference material which takes away from your rendering time. The Art director may also want to see pencil sketches before you start rendering the frames.

Rava Sktch
An example of one of my rough sketches which I place under a sheet of layout paper and trace for the final rendering.

Subaru 1   copy
One of many storyboards done for Subaru while I lived in New York. My many years of working in Detroit was a great help for me when doing automotive storyboards. I don't recall the ad agency or Art Director, but suddenly one day they closed shop and I lost a good client. Anything can happen in the ad biz.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Living with deadlines


Tough deadlines are a way of life for the storyboard artist. A lot of the time my assignments wouldn't come in until Friday with the usual Monday AM deadline. I would have the whole week to pursue my fine art interests. Other times I would work all week and have the weekends free. All this must sound very familiar to all of you storyboarders out there. With the crazy schedules in this field you must work well under great pressure and be relentless in your other pursuits. here are a few more examples of my black and white storyboard frames, part of series done for Doner in Southfield, Michigan.







On many occasions you would also have a batch of ad comps to do in addition to the storyboards. Sometimes you wondered how you ever made the deadlines, I'm sure the Art Directors wondered also.

Monday, November 23, 2009

The battle against time

Storyboard artists know this battle well, it is a battle that must be won every tine we get an assignment. If you have thirty frames to render and can just shave two minutes off of each rendering, you've gained a full hour! Soon the sun will rise and the deadline is fast approaching. One time saver I've resorted to is to do black and white frames instead of full color. Below are a few such frames that I did for Doner in Southfield, Michigan.








I don't recall the Art Director on this assignment. When they had a big campaign to produce Doner would call me in to work on premises for a week or two and I would be working with several Art Directors and writers. In Europe, when I worked in Paris, at various times Lintas sent me to Vienna to work on ad and storyboard campaigns. They also sent me to Madrid, Jakarta and Singapore to teach their staff how to render storyboards. The client also sent along my wife, Jeanne, so we had a semi vacation which included a week in Bali as well. There are not many clients around like that.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Prague and Rio in one night

Who but a storyboard artist can visit Prague and Rio in one night ? This was the usual rush overnight assignment and in spite of the deadline was a fun project to do. I had to find very specific reference material which sometimes can be a real problem, especially if you have a tight deadline. Before I stopped doing storyboards in 2004, every assignment I received for the last year had an overnight deadline.


I can't remember if this is actually Prague or not, but in this frame I had to depict a specific area in a specific European city.

Prague 2
usually I could count on finding reference like this in my large collection of National Geographic magazines or on the internet

Prague 3
Reference material is very important, you can't just make up stuff like this.

Ptague 4

The next few frames were of Rio de Janeiro

The happy folks must have been celebrating New Years Eve.


All these frames were rendered with markers on high quality layout paper and delivered over the internet.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Comprehensive ad illustrations

Often when doing a storyboard campaign there are also a group of ad comps to render. The two renderings below were done for a Chicago ad agency, Crammer Krasselt, they were one of my best clients for a number of years.


These ad comps are done much larger than storyboard frames and take quite a bit longer to plan and render. If time permitted I would frequently do two versions of an ad if I had different thoughts on the subject. Sometimes this was done at the early pencil sketch stage.


The renderings below were part of a series of ads, I did two versions of this airport scene. This was done for a New York ad agency, I can't remember which one or who the Art Director was.


I enjoyed creating dramatic rendering and I would often get assignments from Art Directors that wanted an unusual approach.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Craig Smith Gallery invitational party

CSposter Nov 14, 09Final
Last Saturday Craig had another one of his great invitational dinner parties, these events are always great fun, The artists and guests mingle and chat and the food is always first class.

Craig was too busy to pose for me, so I took a couple of photos of him doing some last minute things, changing burnt out light bulbs.

Some of the guests enjoying their meal. That's Craig standing by a Dale Threlkeld painting. If you haven't seen his paintings, drop by the gallery, you'll enjoy his wonderful work. Craig displays a lot of great work, his gallery has 4000 square feet of space. Some of the other artists exhibited are Scott Covert, Stephen Moss, Syvia Ziontz and Judy Mullen.

Here's Gloria, glamorous as usual, standing next to my new painting MUSE.

Soe 2
Yesterday Gloria and I had lunch at Soe Cafe in Sawyer, Michigan, a great local restaurant.

They have one of my new paintings on display, this one is titled RECLINING NUDE.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Storyboards for BP

This was an interesting, but tough assignment. The agency wanted to show a BP gas station with the people in kind of a transparent form, indicating a lot of activity. Storyboards are not always just renderings of scenes, but often the artist must also depict special effects. With markers you have a somewhat limited range of things that can be done, so this can prove to be a difficult task. I had to try a few frames before I was able to come up with the effect they were after. To add to the problem, of course, was the usual tight deadline.

BP Stybds

BP Stybds
They were very pleased with the result which was fortunate, as there was no time to redo anything. I can't remember the Art Director or ad agency this was done for, I'm pretty sure it was for one of my New York clients.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

A fun board to do

This was an interesting assignment, although a rush overnight job as many of them were. The art director was Michael Brennecke of Y & R New York. The locale in the commercial was China and they wanted to show a certain area that had a very distinctive mountain landscape. I had to do a search through all my National Geographics and came up with nothing. Time was flying by and I was getting a bit concerned. Luckily, after searching the internet I found the reference material that I needed. These frames had to be in New York the next morning, delivered over the internet. It's amazing how the computer has changed everything.

Brennecke Bds
These storyboard frames were rendered on high quality layout paper using Chartpak Art Markers. This assignment only had six frames, sometimes I would get twenty or thirty to do overnight. There is always a great deal of deadline pressure when doing ad comps or storyboards.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Storyboards for Doner

Some of the last storyboard work I did was for Doner in Southfield, Michigan. They used to have me come in for a week or two to work on premises when they had a big campaign in the works. Working in house has it's limitations as you can't bring along reference files and books. It also takes a while to get used to all of the activity that's going on in the agency when you're used to working as a loner. Here's part of a series of storyboards that I did about five years ago. The first two frames are typical of my preliminary sketches.

Strybds Kid 1
Strybds Kid2
It was kind of fun working back in the Detroit area as I could meet with some of my old buddies that I used to work with. I have a daughter that lives in the area as well.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Squeaking through the night

15Frames to go
Sound familiar, fellow storyboarders ?
If you work as a storyboard artist in advertising you can relate to this. Artists that do their work on the computer don't get the squeaks.

Smith Barney 2

These storyboards were done for O & M in New York sometime in the late 1980's. The client was Smith Barney and the art director was Parry Merkley. I also did a whole series of ad comps for the same client. In 1983 I came back from Europe where I worked in Paris for about seven years. Yes, they have tough deadlines over there also.

Smith Barney 1
For most of my time in New York my rep was Diane Boston of Way Art. Diane is a delightful person as well as a great rep, she also kept me very busy even after I left NY and moved back to Michigan.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Ad comps

Here are a few examples of marker renderings that I have done for various clients, most done under the pressure of a deadline. Often ad comps and storyboards have pretty tough deadlines that must be met, if you don't work well under pressure this is not the occupation for you.

A word you'll become very familiar with if you work in the ad biz.

AdComp Dogs
I did a series of these for a Chicago ad ad agency. This was before I had a computer and I would either FedEx the renderings or take the train in to Chicago to deliver the job.

AdComp Utopia
Often the renderings were loosely done because of the time restrictions. These are all marker renderings done on a high quality layout paper.

Astra Ad Comp388
I can't remember which ad agencies any of these renderings were done for. These assignments usually had several comps to render.

Milk Bone
Some were even fun to do,

Ad Comp 1
I developed a free, fast style so I could belt these out quickly. Often the ad agencies would require me to work in house. I used to get called in to work at McCann Erickson in New York for a week or two to work on premises.

...and sometimes there were changes and corrections, not all clients would pay for these.