Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Wisdom From Animators Who Have Crossed Over To Illustrating Children's Books

Giuseppe Castellano, Executive Art Director at Penguin Random House, asked 12 animators to share their kid lit #arttips on his blog, in this post, Animation and Children's Books.

Among the great bits of wisdom shared were these three::

"In those 32 pages, I not only want to illustrate what has been written, but I also want to be able to show the reader who the character is and let them get a sense of the world that lives in between the words of the story."

- CLAIRE KEANE Visual Development Artist at Walt Disney Animation Studios (Tangled, Frozen) and a Children’s Book Author/Illustrator
Here's an interior spread from Claire's Once Upon A Cloud:

"In film school, I studied the 5 C’ of Cinematography: Camera Angles, Continuity, Cutting, Close-ups, Composition. Every single one of those applies to picture books. Too often, I see animator’s illustration portfolios with a well-designed, solidly-constructed character that is just standing there, static. Make them act! Or there are characters, but no background. In animation, you may have a specific task (character designer, colorist, background designer), but as an illustrator, you need to wear all of those hats."

 -TINA KUGLER Former Storyboard Artist for Walt Disney Television Animation, Nickelodeon, and Warner Bros. Television and a Children’s Book Author/Illustrator

"I think the one thing that I learned in animation (from doing storyboards particularly) is to not be too precious about my drawings initially. I draw probably thousands of storyboards on any given film and you have to be willing to throw away something you just drew in order to draw a better idea. The whole point is to get the film up in storyboards as fast as you can so you can get it wrong as fast you can and change/fix it. If we spent all our time rendering our storyboards so that they look pretty but don’t really tell the best story in the animation reel (rough cut of the film in storyboards) then we just wasted all that time polishing storyboards we now have to throw out and redraw. So to apply that to book making is great because I can rough out a book in a day or less and then take a look at it and fix the story structure before I even worry about tones or useless details that will change as the story evolves and gets better. If you spend a lot of time on rendering your sketches or drawings then you start to become attached to them and it will be harder to toss them out and start over to get a better idea and story across. remember, STORY is KING. Focus on the story, not the rendering. If the story doesn’t work, the rendering won’t make it better. So my advice to anyone would be to focus on the visual story structure, character development, staging, compositions, pacing and word play and THEN you can add the details and rendering later.

-OVI NEDELCU Picture book Author/Illustrator, Visual Development, Character Design & Story Artist for Laika, Sony, Disney, and Cartoon Network
Here's an interior spread from Ovi's The Cat, The Boots, The Legend, from Simon and Schuster.

Illustrators, go read the whole piece - it's well worth your time!

Illustrate and Write On,

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