Drawing for Storyboards | Siobhan Twomey | Skillshare

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

16 Lessons (2h 17m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. Drawing on Paper

    • 3. Drawing on Paper Demo

    • 4. Scanning your Artwork

    • 5. Intro to Drawing Characters

    • 6. Shape Language

    • 7. Character Poses

    • 8. Drawing Emotion

    • 9. Creating a Character Pose Sheet

    • 10. Blocking in Backgrounds

    • 11. Fundamentals of Perspective

    • 12. Depth, Scale and Tangents

    • 13. Intro to Drawing Sequences

    • 14. Review of Shots and Angles

    • 15. Directors' Tips for Storyboard Artists

    • 16. Class Project

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About This Class

Hi! Thank you for checking out Drawing for Storyboarding. This is a fun, engaging course that will teach you how to draw for Animation Storyboards.


First, you’ll learn how to draw characters - how to draw good expressions and poses

From there, you’ll learn the best approaches to drawing suggested backgrounds for your boards - from rough blocking, to adding perspective, and how to draw depth and space in your panels.

You’ll also learn the best practices for story artists - these are the top directors’ tips and I’ll share them with you so that you know what is expected of professional story artists.

I’ll also share with you some sample storyboards of other students in the course series - this is going to be an amazing opportunity for you to not only see diverse examples of different styles of drawing; but importantly, to see how fellow students are approaching their assigments, and working.

There is an opportunity in this course to complete assignments and exercises for each of the topics covered; plus at the end, the class project for this course is to take a page of script and storyboard it out entirely yourself. I’m going to give this project to you as though you were working for a studio - so you’ll get model sheets and layouts, as well as the script and then it’s over to you to put everything that we’ve covered in the course into practice.

This course is a supplement to my successful storyboarding courses:

Learn to Storyboard for Film & Animation


Advanced Storyboarding Techniques

Both those courses cover in depth everything you need to know to about storyboarding - the technical aspects, the filmic language and the nuts and bolts of communicating your ideas for a story visually.

This course takes all of those concepts and principles and dials down into the actual process of drawing.

This course is aimed at beginners, so you don’t have to have taken the other storyboarding courses in the series - you could use this as a starting point in fact. If you have taken the other courses in the series, this is going to bump you up to the next level and ensure that you are able to draw fast, fluid, efficiently.

Meet Your Teacher

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Siobhan Twomey

Artist, Illustrator, Instructor

Top Teacher

Hello, I'm Siobhan :)

My background spans the disciplines of drawing, painting, filmmaking and animation. I studied Film in Dublin, and at the Tisch School of the Arts, at NYU in New York. I later studied drawing and animation. Since 2005, I have worked in studios in Vancouver and Dublin as a professional background artist and environment designer. I've also worked as a storyboard artist, concept artist, and I have directed a number of short animated films. My studio practice revolves around portrait painting and figure drawing, for commission and gallery exhibitions.

All in all, I've worked for 20 years as an Artist, Illustrator and Animation Professional. 

My passion is to teach others the whole spectrum of Art Skills that I’ve learned and develope... See full profile

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1. Introduction: Hi there. Welcome to the class. I'm so glad that you enrolled and I'm really excited that we're going to take this journey together to explore drawing for animation and storyboards. In this introduction video, I'm going to explain how the class is laid out so that you know what to expect. I'll also give you some pointers on how to get the best out of it. In the first few videos, I'm going to talk a little bit about drawing on paper. A lot of students in my other courses draw on paper, not in a digital format. I really wanted to take the opportunity here to share some tips and tricks that might help you in your drawing process, especially for storyboarding. Also I wanted to explain how to import your drawing into Photoshop if you wanted to take your hand-drawn art and then work on it in a digital format. Then the rest of the class is in three main sections; characters, backgrounds, and drawing sequences. When it comes to drawing characters, I'm going to show you the shorthand and the drawing conventions that are most widely used across the animation industry. I'll show you how to pose your characters and also how to draw emotion and strong character expressions. You don't need to be a character designer, but you will be able to take any character that's given to you and redraw it in a multitude of poses. Then in the section on backgrounds, I'll show you how to quickly and easily visualize a scene. I'll also give you a storyboard artist's overview of perspective. What perspective is, when to use it in your work and also why. In the last section, then we'll look at how to put all of these drawing techniques together when we are drawing sequences for storyboard. That means what shots and angles you can use, what storyboard patterns are, and when you can use them. Then ultimately, ways that you can understand the visual language of film so that you can come up with your own unique style for visualizing stories, for making films, and for animation. Throughout the class, there are assignments for you to do. You'll get to draw a character posed sheet, as well as drawing backgrounds, and at the end there's going to be a big class project. I'm going to give you what's called a fun pack and a script. If you were working in an animation studio on a TV show, this is likely what you'd receive. A fun pack contains character designs as well as layouts. I'll also give you a one-page script that you will get to draw your very own storyboard from scratch. There's a lot to cover. I'm really excited that you're here. I think this class is going to be an excellent addition to your existing visual and creative skill set. This will open doors for you to further your work and even your career path. Thanks for joining me on this drawing journey. Let's dive in. 2. Drawing on Paper: A very big portion of students in both my storyboarding courses actually do their work on paper. I wanted to encourage you that if you don't have software or equipment to draw digitally, then you can still make storyboards with pencil and paper. For materials, you can use anything you like really. The basics would be plain old paper in your sketchbook and some pencils. But you can even use a pen, or a marker, or a charcoal stick, charcoal pencil, if that works for you. I have a kneaded eraser. But if you have a normal, regular eraser, then that's fine as well. I wanted to share a tip with you for drawing by hand if you are drawing storyboards. Specifically, that is, instead of working in your sketchbook, you can use just a stack of cartridge paper or printing paper. This is paper from our home printer. It's standard size, standard weight. The thing about this is that you can use lots and lots of sheets of paper and you're not working in expensive sketchbook paper. Now, obviously, the thing about drawing digitally is that you do have a lot of scope for changing your drawing, or deletion, or even redoing it. You don't really have that option with pencil and paper. My advice is to sketch your rough construction lines very lightly or draw your rough sketches separately and then redraw them with more precise detail. I think the key is to work lightly as much as you can. You can start out your construction lines. I don't even know if you can even see this, extremely lightly. Understand where you're going, what you're going to do with your drawing. Then you can come back in and put in a more defined line. What we used to do way back in the day in animation school, when I was studying animation, is that if we had to draw on paper, we used to use either a blue or a red pencil for the initial sketch, and then we would go over it with a lead pencil. Now, the brand we used back then was called Col-Erase Pencils. They had an eraser on the tip and you could get them in different colors. I'm not entirely sure, I'm not 100 percent sure why we use colored pencils, but I could be wrong here, I think it has to do with that back in the old days of hand-drawn animation, they used to photocopy drawings a lot. I think that if you draw with a blue pencil, the lines don't get copied when you photocopy them. I'm not 100 percent sure. Don't quote me on that, but I think that's where the idea came from. What you do is let's say we're drawing a storyboard panel and we've got some panels just like that. I don't have a Col-Erase pencil, I've just got this red one, but it's the same principle. I'm going to quickly sketch in my composition, see what do I want in this frame. I'm doing the standard thing that I always do. Look, here's a landscape with a tree. It's not going to be very interesting, but I just want you to get the idea. Then say maybe we've got a close-up of the cowboy from the previous storyboarding course, got his close-up there. Maybe he's looking at the gun in his hands. We've got an extreme close-up here of his gun. Then what do we see in the final one? Maybe let's just go back to the landscape. I completely made that up. That's got nothing to do with anything, but I'm just showing you that so that you can see how you can work with a colored pencil and then go over it. I'm going to take, this is just a to B pencil. But let's say I've worked out what I want in these drawings. I'm going to go, "Now I can just pick out one line and worked very cleanly, very carefully." We've got hills in the background. It's a very nice way to work. You've got a guide underneath in a different color. Even if you draw dark enough with your line work, you could probably come back in and erase out the red lines. Pretty much. I wouldn't do the whole four panels. This is just to give you an idea, maybe there's a rock in the front. That's also one of those Western type thing rock formations. My last tip for drawing on paper is a bit of a strange one, but it's good to know because in animation, what you're doing pretty much all the time is redrawing things over and over again. We all know that's the process for animation, for storyboarding anyway. You might need to redraw a background. Certainly, you're going to be redrawing characters in panels all the time. If we were in a studio and you are drawing on paper, then what you would do is use a light box. You'd put your drawing down on the light box, turn the light box on, and place another sheet of paper on top. Then you could trace your drawing out and change it for the next panel or add more characters in, whatever the case may be. Since we're not in a studio, if you do want to trace your line work, then I suggest you use this very strange tip. First of all, let me just make a drawing. For the purposes of this exercise, I'll just redraw this panel here of the cowboy. I've just sped up the video so that I can get through it and show you the process if I wanted to redraw this character or trace him. I'll just quickly make as best a sketch as I can. By the way, this is also an extremely good process if you want to trace over your rough drawing. I've got my drawing. I'm going to take it over to a window, believe it or not, and just tape it up onto the window or use what I'm using there, which is press tick and just stick a clean sheet of paper over top of it. Now, if I zoom in, you can actually see how clear that under drawing shines through onto your sheet of paper. Really, it's just a matter then of following the line work and tracing your drawing. Now, it's not the easiest method in the world because you're standing up and you're having to draw on the window. It can be a little bit tiring. It's not ideal, obviously, but it's a really good hack if you are at home. If you need to clean up your drawings or add more detail into an existing drawing or copy a drawing, then this is just a really good workaround if you don't have a light box. I'm trying to keep my line work super clean and crisp, and not draw rough. That's the beauty of this way of drawing. Actually, drawing on pane of glass is very nice surface to work on for nice, clean lines actually. Well, for me anyway, my second drawing is never going to be exactly as the first one. I always tend to miss out on lines. But you get the idea anyway. That's pretty much it. If I take this drawing down and compare them side-by-side, you'll be able to see how effective this is. It really just took me a couple of minutes. Those are my tips for drawing storyboards on paper. Now, some of you might prefer to make your drawings on paper, and then scan them into the computer so that you could work on them with color. Color up your artwork in a program like Photoshop. 3. Drawing on Paper Demo: This is really just a quick process video for drawing characters. I just wanted to show you how you could approach it if you're drawing on paper. Later on in the course, I will be going into much more detail about proper approach to character design, how to construct your characters, how to work with basic shapes. If you want to work alongside with me in this video, maybe go and check those fundamentals, those principles at first and then come back. But I wanted to have something, some kind of drawing on paper that I could use to show you how to scan your work in and how to prep your artwork from paper into a digital format. I'm going to do a quick sketch of a pirate character. I have been working on a lineup of pirate characters for my script. I'm sketching very lightly, very gesturally, very, very loose, and rough. He got his hands on his hips. Let me see. I might do another one as well, maybe a contrasting character shape. I'm using a very light sepia-colored pencil so I'm going to go over these rough drawings next with my lead pencil. But this is just a very rough way to sketch out my initial ideas. Let me do one more. The captain guy. I've done this character over and over again so you might be completely bored of seeing me draw this pirate character, but it's just that it's an easy one for me to draw. I think that's why I fall back on it quite often. Now that I've got an extremely rough drawing down on my page, I'm going to switch over to my lead pencil and start to draw it again. Obviously, there's not a whole lot of detail for me to work on, but at least in my mind, I've put down a guide. I've put down some basic shapes I'm going to follow. I'm just using my pencil to now redraw that. I'm actually more or less making it up as I go, but I feel like I've got some basis on which to work. As I said, I'm going to talk you through a much more detailed process later on. If you feel like there's some steps missing here, just bear with me and we'll get to that in the character design video later on. As you can see, I'm just winging it a bit and making it up. But I did want to point out that when I'm working with pencil on paper, I try to vary my line work a little bit. I'll draw a little bit lightly in some areas and then a little bit more defined and heavier in other areas. This is good practice because it makes your line work a little bit varied, and it helps you to practice good clean line work as well. It helps you to gain confidence in your linework. This guy has his hands on his hips. I'm just blocking in some shapes for the hand and following the shoulders through to the other side and drawing this arm. It goes out to the elbow and then comes into the waist again like that. Simple, basic blocks of shape really. The idea for this process video is to show you how to scan your drawings in. With that in mind, I don't necessarily need to make a fully finished, fully defined drawing on paper. Because I'm going to scan this in, there's an opportunity for me to rework this in Photoshop and to tidy it up at that stage. He's going to have little fish, maybe no shoes. Just we see his toes and his feet like that. Then little skinny legs. I'm going to move on and do just one more drawing. I think I'll only work up two characters. This is the pirate captain. These are going to be his eyebrows. I like to try and get the features down, the main features of the face so that the rest of the head can fit around that. Once I've got the face worked out, then I feel like I know pretty much more and exploring the rest of the drawing needs to go. He's got a big mustache. He's got his big pirate hat. Then his very wild long beard. I'm going to indicate his shoulders, draw his arms coming down like this one on forward. For the overall proportions, I'm going to keep his feet quite small. He's wearing boots. The idea is that the main shape of this character is this big round belly, and he's got small legs underneath, little tiny feet. Then his other arm just goes there like that. I'll just finish off the beard. I won't work too much more on this drawing. I just want to get it as close to finish as possible. That's pretty much it. I'll leave it there for these two drawings. Then in the next video, I'm going to show you my process for scanning them in in order to be able to color them or at least refine them in Photoshop. Join me for that in the next video. 4. Scanning your Artwork: Let me show you what I would do if I was to scan this drawing in. First of all, I would lay it face down on my scanner. This is my particular scanner that I'm using, it's part of my printer. Then I go over to system preferences because I'm on a Mac and I open up printers and scanners. I'm going to click on "Scan" and then open scanner. Once the scanner is warmed up, it gives you this overview here to the left. Just to be sure, I always click and drag around the image that I want to get scanned, it's pretty much the same as the whole page. You can leave it at Color, but this is where I would change from anything low, like 75 to 300 DPI. Then you've got a choice of where you want to send your scan to. You can choose other if you want to put it into a specific folder, but for me documents is fine. The only thing I would change is this, I don't want it to be called Scan, so I'll just type in the name of the file and click "Scan". That's how it's going to be sent to my computer. If you don't have a scanner, you can just take a photo with your phone or with a digital camera and send it to your computer that way. Now that the drawing is scanned in, I'm going to bring it into Photoshop, tweak it slightly so that it's ready to work with in digital drawing software like Photoshop. You can just drag it down into your application and it pops open like that. Now it's come in this orientation, so I'm going to go to Image, Image Rotation and Rotate 90 degrees Clockwise. What I'm going to do is try and just increase the contrast, make it a little bit darker. Maybe delete out these lines which I don't need because ultimately you want to do one of two things. You want to either redraw this sketch in Photoshop and make it digital drawing, using this as a guide, or you want to keep your line work and color underneath it. With the background layer selected, I am going to just do a couple of very slight adjustments. You can play around with these as much as you want. There are a whole load of different ways of increasing the contrast on your drawing. This is just the workflow that I usually do. I increase the brightness, say to bright there, maybe not so bright. Maybe increase the contrast, See what happens. Just click "OK", for now. What I might do is now try and play with the levels of the image a little bit. The levels affect the darkness and the brightness of your drawing. You can increase the darkness, and you can see there my drawing is getting a little bit darker. I can also adjust the mid value by dragging that slider, incrementally forward. I wouldn't go in big steps with your levels because you can lose a lot of integrity in your drawing. Like for example, if I push the white all the way up there, you see I'm losing a lot of it. Just experiment in gradual stages with that. I'll click "OK" for now. It's looking a bit better. Another thing that you could do is bring up the curves editor. Let's go to Image, Adjustments and choose Curves or hit Command Control M on your keyboard. A very handy way to do this is just to drag the bottom-left graph down and push the top-right on up. Maybe ever so slightly. You get the idea. It does pretty much the same thing in this instance as the levels. Now what I'm going to do is just hit M on my keyboard, click and drag over this Command or Control C to copy and Command Control V to paste. I can now get rid of this background layer, and I will fill a layer underneath it, you could choose the same tone as your page if you wanted. Hit G on your keyboard. It's not going to be exactly the same because the paper has different shades derived, but that's close enough. Then drag that into the middle, adjust it slightly. Now you are ready to, as I said, either paint underneath this or redraw it. If you want to redraw this image, just create a new layer above your drawing, I will bring the opacity of this layer down a little bit so you can see what you're doing and literally go in really super close and with a brush to start redrawing with a much cleaner, smoother line. But because you've got your rough drawing underneath, it's going to be very easy. That's one way. If you didn't want to do that, if you wanted to keep your original pencil work and you wanted to paint underneath it. Let's say we want to give him a skin tone. I'm going to paint underneath this. Put an order for the paint to actually show through underneath the line work. I need to change the blending mode of my drawing layer to Multiply. Basically the layer that your scanned drawing is on that needs to go to Multiply. That way you'll have your line drawing. Now, if you want to do that, you probably have to practice this image a lot more. You could go to Image, Adjustments and bring up the hue saturation. I would bring the saturation way down and the lightness up a little bit. Then I would go back into my levels and very slowly just start to drag the levels to the right levels to the left. There you've gotten rid of pretty much most of the page. Now you can continue to work on the layer underneath this and paint away. Those are just some basic options for you for scanning your artwork, gain and preparing it in Photoshop. 5. Intro to Drawing Characters: For the next few videos, we're going to look at conventions and techniques for drawing characters either for animation or for storyboarding. I'll just show you the way I set up my document in Photoshop. I'll just open up Photoshop and go to Create New. Then you can choose either previous presets or a set of saved presets or ones that are specific to photo or print. I usually do something like I'll go to over here and I'll put in 1080 by 1920, and that's pixels. That's simply because that kind of resolution matches the screen recording that I'm doing. But if you want to, another handy tip is to go over to print, choose letter or A4, and just flip the orientation to horizontal. Hit "Create". Then you've got a nice big wide canvas to work on. The first thing that I always do is I create a new layer above this background layer. As you can see, this background layer is locked. Now you can unlock it by simply tapping on the padlock. But it is already filled with white. What that means is if I do draw on it, I can't access those marks at all the way I can if it's on the top layer. If I just undo that and draw on the top layer, you can see that I can actually just access that line alone, which is actually very handy. So I'll undo that. You can even delete that layer altogether if you want. But it's nice to have a background layer to work on top of. Now, some people do not like to work on a stark white background. What you can do is maybe change up the color. So I've got a color down here that's maybe somewhat paperish color. If I go to the bucket tool and tap into there, that gives me a nice toned background to work on. A handy thing to do is to lock that layer again just so that you don't accidentally draw on it and just come up to the layer above it to start drawing. In the next video, we're going to get into some conventions and some techniques for drawing characters. There's definitely a set of conventions that you can follow. If you are trying to increase your drawing skills and trying to ramp up your drawing skills, then knowing to write these simple techniques, these simple approaches to drawing figures and to drawing characters will really, really help you to get good at drawing animation characters. I'll see you in the next video. 6. Shape Language: In this video, I'm going to explain some of the short-hand conventions for drawing characters in films that you can apply to your storyboarding work, to your concept design work, and to animation. What I'm going to talk about is going to apply to stylize characters, not realistic looking characters because for the most part in animation, you're working with stylized designs, stylized characters, and environments. For a number of reasons, one reason is that stylized characters are easier to draw over and over again, and therefore they're easier to animate and they're easier to pose out. To start out, I'm going to explain what shape language is and how that is used in animation and storyboarding. Shape language is often referred to as being really important in your designs because shapes communicate ideas. That's crucial to character design because from the very outset, the actual shape or design of a character goes a really long way to telling the audience something about that character, giving them a bit of insight or some visual cues about their personality and even about their backstory. It's really crucial when you sit down to draw characters or to come up with characters for yourself, to think about their shapes and what the shapes say about their specific personality. Here I've got three basic shapes, probably the most basic shapes in design. You've got the circle, the square, and the triangle. Shapes are actually more universally understood than colors. Now, colors can mean different things in different cultures, but shapes pretty much communicate the same idea across cultural boundaries. For example, a circle, if you think about shapes in nature, round fluffy clouds, or round flowers, or even the sun in the sky, all of these shapes convey ideas that are safe, comforting, friendly, and that you can use to your advantage in character design. Equally, a square has a specific set of connotations. If you think of a square and you look around you, you immediately think of strong, immovable, sturdy objects like buildings or great big granite blocks. A triangle can imply edginess. It definitely in nature can imply danger, like a spiky hedgehog, or even think about a cactus. Edginess, and spikiness, and dangerous is often associated with triangular shapes, but there's another important aspect to the triangle that you can use in character design, and that is that it can convey unbalance, or I should say imbalance. If you have a triangle that is balancing on one of the apexes then that shows you that this character is probably unstable, unpredictable. All right. What I'm going to do is take these three shapes and I'm going to start out showing you how to extrapolate, how to draw ideas out of these shapes to character designs. Let's start out first of all in faces. For each of these three shapes, I'm going to draw a face based on this particular shape. A round shape is very easy to draw character faces, you just draw a circle, and eyes, and round noses. Then for a square, you have to think now in terms of more blockiness like a block head, things like that, square head on, sturdy shoulders. You just start out drawing the shape and then build the face and the features up around that. These are very rough, by the way I'm not making any character designs. I'm just warming up and loosening up and showing you how to just throw down one basic shape and build it up from there. What I always do is just indicate the eye line and the nose and mouth, so that I know whereabouts on the shape the features are, and then start to build characteristics up from there. For a triangular face, let's see if I just drop down a triangle like this and throw a nose and a couple of eyes onto there. That's already quite a interesting looking character. Just practice with this, draw your basic shape first in a couple of different ways and then just start to build it up by placing features onto that shape and seeing what you can come up with. Now, you can take it one step further and start using these basic shapes to build out a whole character. If you were to start with a circle, again, just sketching out really rough and loosely big round oval shape. Now, obviously with round circular shapes like this, the character that most immediately springs to mind is rotund character, a jolly figure like Santa Claus or something like that. Just work with that if you can. Add on legs, you really don't have to make any details at this stage. These are rough ideas, rough concept sketches. If you just indicate where the limbs are and try to practice drawing in this way, drawing really loose and rough, you'll have loads of time afterwards to refine your ideas and to draw in the details. For this last circular character I'll try and make a female character. This could be pretty much the entire mass of the body really and I could just even stick a couple of tiny feet at the end here and that would be fine. Then on top a circularly ish face. Maybe she's wearing a scarf over her head and she has apron on and she's carrying something in her hands, just like that. I'm going to do this for the rest of the shapes with a square and for the triangle. I'm going to select these and reduce them down. I'm going to hide that layer and add another one on top of it, so that I can continue to draw large and then I'll scale them down. But I want to show you at the end of this how all of these characters look in a lineup. I'm going to move on and sketch out some ideas for the square and the triangle and you can follow along with me, that would be great and hopefully you've got some much, much better ideas than I do and you're able to make some really cool and interesting characters from these basic shapes. The idea is that you're just jotting down visual ideas, so it doesn't have to be perfect or amazing. Certainly, it doesn't have to be detailed. The reason why square-shaped guys, again, I'll just shrink them down, Command or Control T for the free transform tool. Reduce them down, put them out of the way. Then I'm going to create another layer. Then I'm going to hide those two layers and put another layer on top and just do three more drawings for the triangle shaped characters. Now, you can see that I've got all of these characters done. That didn't take me very long at all, maybe 10 or 15 minutes. Using a basic shape to start out your drawing or your concept ideas for characters is really easy. I hope you have seen that it's really easy. That's one important thing to note about using shapes, but there is another important thing that I want to explain, and that is that if you do use shapes like this in your designs, you're able to add variation within your designs and that's one of the key things. If I were to show you now, if I just grab, say, three random characters from all of these, I'm going to put them all onto one layer and get them into a bit of a lineup. Then I want to turn this guy so he's looking over to the right. Then I'm going to silhouette because I want you to see how if their silhouetted out like this, they immediately register as distinct and separate characters. There's no confusion, they all look totally different and that's what you want in your character designs. You want variation so that characters can be distinguished from each other. They don't all look the exact same, they've got variation when they compare one against the other. Ultimately, you want to have variation within a particular design. Think about using a circle and adding a triangular head or a square head. Think about using a square and adding a circular head or think about using a triangle with a square body. In the next video, I'm going to talk about how you can now start to pose your characters and why posing is so important for drawing and animation and storyboarding, plus some really easy and simple tips on how to get your poses to be really strong and dynamic. 7. Character Poses: In this video, I want to talk about how you can practice drawing dynamic poses. This is key for a good storyboard drawing as well as for animation and illustration in general. A pose is the way that a character stands or the way that he or she does an action. The reason posing is so important in storyboards is because it tells the director, the animator, and anyone else involved in the process how the character is moving within a scene. You might think, well, isn't that really the job of the director and the animator to determine how a character moves around? The answer actually is not always. It's actually more often the job of the storyboard artist. If you draw a compelling pose in your storyboards then hand that off to the animators, the animators will know exactly how to animate that character, if that makes sense. Your drawing will indicate the action, it'll indicate the emotion, and sometimes it'll indicate the acting of a scene. Being able to draw dynamic poses is really, really crucial. It's one of the most important aspects of an animation storyboard artist. What I'm going to do is take this idea of using a basic shape as a starting point for a design, and I want to show you how you can understand this in terms of structure because getting the structure right is what is going to be the one thing that will allow you to draw your design in any pose that you want. Right here, I've got this basic round shape. I want to show you how to build a three-quarter view. Imagine that we're seeing this character from a three-quarter frontal view. Thinking of this in a 3D sense rather than as simply a flat circle, I can estimate that the shoulders of the character are here and here. Just imagine for a moment that this is totally see-through so that one will be over there on that side. Then the hips are here on this; one here and one there. Now I can draw an arm extended out like this because it's coming straight from the shoulder, it's coming towards me a little bit, and I know on the other side exactly where the arm is going to be because I've identified where that shoulder is. Then I'll just draw in sketch and really quickly, the head can go there. Now, in this case, the head slopes down towards the shoulder, so you don't really see the neck. But getting the shoulders mapped out is so important. Equally, I know exactly where the legs go since they come straight down from the hips. You want to know where the hips are and where the shoulders are; here and here. Looking at this, I feel that the head might be slightly off. If I draw a straight line down the middle of my design, I think that's the centerline, you can see that it looks like the head is slightly back. It's actually probably fine in this case because I would think that his round belly offsets that and balances them out a little bit, but I'll make a slight adjustment, move his head forwards. So that's how you work out your structure, how you understand where the hips and the shoulders are, and then get that balance within the overall figure. Now, remember that this is actually in perspective. I'll show you what I mean. If I draw a cube around this character, you can see that we actually are seeing part of the side view as well as the front view at the same time. You can see if I turn that layer off what I mean. It's not perfectly drawn, but you get the idea. Now I can draw this guy in different poses because I know the structure. Let's say I wanted to draw him bending over to pick something up off the floor. I'll start off with the big round shape and put the hips in where they would be, and from here I can draw the legs. This leg is not going to be all that visible, it's on the other side of him. I'll do the same thing with the shoulders and then the arms. It's so easy. I don't think you can go wrong once you get those things identified; hips and shoulders. Let's do another quick sketch. Let's say this time he's running at speed. His head is going to be flung back like this. You can see he runs forwards. His one hip is going to be going forwards like this, which means that corresponding shoulders and arm, it's going to go back. Then that far leg is going back. Let's say he's in mid-air air he's not even touching the ground. Then that forearm can go forwards like this. There you go. There he is running really, really fast. You can apply this idea of structure to all of these basic shapes. Obviously, the square shape is the easiest one to understand because it's an easy structure to see in 3D. Let me show you how you can build it up if you would just identify hips and shoulders first. Draw your hips and shoulders in just like this as round circles with the line, that's the shoulders. Then one thing to know is that shoulders and hips always contraposed each other. I don't know if I've just made up that word, contraposed, but basically, if the shoulders are at one angle, then the hips will always be at the opposite angle. It's like you can think of an accordion. One side is going to be squeezed in and the other side is going to be long. Once you get that down, you can then build up the body around this. This leg will be bent like this. Let's draw the same thing with triangle shapes. Let's say we're drawing a female character. Now if I choose a blue color, this is where her shoulders are; here and here, and the hips are here and here. Now, if you're struggling, you can always start out with the front arm pose if that helps you to understand the structure better. Now, with that worked out, you can draw her in a much more dynamic pose. Let's say we'll do another quick sketch. She's leaning on something like this so that one shoulder is higher up, that's going to throw her hips outwards like this. One hip is going to be higher than the other, and that means that say one leg comes forwards, the other leg is going back. Then once you've got your rough sketch worked out, you can go over that and refine the drawing and add more detail on and make it more fleshed out. Join me in the next video and I'm going to show you how to get really good at making great facial expressions. 8. Drawing Emotion: By far the most important aspect of the character's pose is going to be the facial expression or the emotion. In this video, I want to show you that it doesn't have to be difficult to draw emotion, or your story-boarding, or animation. In fact, there's a really easy way to get facial expressions right, and that is to, first of all, keep it very simple. I mean to use some standard animation conventions or short hands. What I'm going to do is, first of all, I'm going to write down a few emotions that you're most likely to be called upon to draw as a story artist. Obviously things like happy, sad, angry, maybe fright, and maybe fear, something like that. Now, the first thing to do if you're trying to draw a character's emotion is to basically just make a rough sketch of the most immediate aspect of that emotion. Then later you can build up your character around it. I've jotted down these words. What I'm going to do is quickly draw out the most basic indicators of each of these emotions. When you're doing this, think of emojis on your phone when you're texting. All you need to see is the eyes and the mouth. For example, happy. The absolute basic thing that conveys happy is a big smile and bright eyes. For the sad expression, the shorthand is going to be to angle the top of the eyes like this. Imagine that the eyebrows are pulling down at the ends and angling up at the top, and maybe the eyes are looking down like this. If you think about the idea of sad, everything drags down, the mouth included. For angry, think about how you feel when you're angry. Your eyes get really laser focused, so you could sort the pupils right in the middle like this. Then what you're going to do is angle the eyebrows downwards towards the middle. The mouth, if you really want to push the design, is you can show the teeth because we sometimes tend to clench our teeth when we're really angry and maybe only show a corner of the mouth. Again, it's just like the simplistic emojis at this stage. You're just keeping it to three elements: the eyes, nose, and mouth. That's all you need to draw right now. For fright, let's say the character got a fright? Well, with that, you're reeling back or pulling up and away from the thing that frightened you. I'm even going to angle the eyes a little bit like this. The eyebrows like that. Then the mouth is drooping down, but open a little bit in a gasp or shock expression. Now, I might actually change the pupils to be really tiny pinpoints because even the pupils are contracting here in front. On to the last one. I just realized that I put fear down for the last one, which is actually more or less the same as frightened. So let me just rather do a different emotion altogether, say something actually like laughing out loud. That's a good one to do because it's more extreme than happy and it's actually a different drawing. So let's do that. For laughing, you could maybe actually close the eyes altogether. Just have two lines like this showing that they're closed, have them shut tight. Then a big, open mouth maybe showing just a line of teeth at the top, the inside of the mouth like that, and these two creases showing that the cheeks are pushing upwards. A good idea is to jot down these emotions only working with the eyes, nose, and mouth. Now, once you've done that, you can apply these expressions to your character. Let's say we're working with a very generic character of a boy. This is going to be his neutral position right here just to start out with. I'll quickly sketch the basic shape of the head, place in the ear, the eyes. His hair is going to go up and around and over. This is a jaw line and cheek. It's a very neutral position, generic kid, that's easy enough. Now I'm going to draw the same face, but try and make him look happy. I'll start out with the same overall shape, the underlying structure of the character, and then remember, the characteristics of this simplified emotion of happy or big eyes looking up and a big smile with the cheeks being pushed slightly upwards. You get the idea. Just work through all of these emotions by first drawing your character's structure really lightly, and then apply the shorthand or the conventions of that emotion onto the facial expression. Then you can go back in, tighten up your drawing so that the character stays on model and so that it's clear that it's the same character. Remember for each emotion, there is a pose or a posture to the drawing as well, like angry could be coming towards you, maybe you want to draw the shoulders hunching up around the ears. Fright is leaning back, so maybe the character's entire pose is leaning backwards and maybe the face itself is pulled down, it's stretched a bit. For laughter, maybe the character's face is a bit squashed up. The cheeks can push up towards the eyes. It's over to you. I want you to write down a few emotions on a sheet of paper or in Photoshop. Then spend some time to try and distill that emotion down just to the eyes and the mouth; how could you describe that emotion if you just had to use eyes, nose, and mouth first. Then once you've done that, see if you can apply that simplified version onto a character's face and give pose and the whole character that sense of emotion. 9. Creating a Character Pose Sheet: After emotion, the next important thing to practice is drawing poses. I've talked a lot about character poses. In this video, I want to show you how to work out a character's physical dynamics through different poses. What I have here is, this is just a rough line up of character ideas for my pirate story called the Metal Queen. This is going to be part of your overall class project towards the end of this course where you'll get to storyboard the script. This line up here is something that you'll often find in an animation production. These drawings are still very rough, they're not cleaned up final line work yet. But what I want you to do is to pick out one of these characters now and create a pose sheet. A pose sheet is where you draw the same character in a number of different poses. The reason you do that is to explore not only the range of motion and action that the character can do, but also to explore whether or not your character design is actually working. Whether the underlying construction is something that you can work with in order to put this character into different poses. If you put your own original character that you'd like to work on, then I really encourage you to do that. Just take your character and put him or her into completely new dynamic different poses and see how many you can do. But if you don't have your own character, then you can take one of these drawings here, doesn't have to be the same one that I'm going to do, but pick one and try to work it out the way that I'll show you now. For me, let's say I'm going to pick the captain character, so what I'll do is just copy this drawing and create a new canvas over here and I'm going to paste him in. Very much like the facial expressions in the previous video, this drawing now is his neutral pose. Put him over to the side. Now I'm going to freestyle some dynamic acting poses. This means drawing very rough at first as usual. Let's say I'm going to draw him rallying the troops or calling the crew together to sort off and go into battle or something like that. I'm going to start at this pose with his head and I'll again simplify the shape first and get the direction of the head with his eyes and his nose, so that's all going to be looking this way. This is his beard. In my mind, I see this pose, I see his head is facing this way but he's going to be sort of turning and as if he's heading off towards the left. I'll just simply draw the shape of the body and the leg like this, like he's stepping up on to something, and this arm is going to be up. I'll draw that in there and I'll have this other arm motioning for the others to join him. Now the rest of the drawing is really just a matter of filling in the clothing, working out how it moves around the body. I think the overall motion of the pose is fine. I'm trying to keep the basic elements the same, the same volumes and the same construction. That's it. What I'll do now is I'll leave it as it is. I'm not going to work on this anymore, just scale it down. I'm going to move it out of the way and work on a few more poses. For this next one, I thought about wanting to draw him in mid stride, like he's walking along, his hands are up. As I draw it, the overall direction of the pose is going to be leaning back like this, his arms will be up in the air. That shape of the big round bellies is so important to get down. I can work out the details of the costume later. Then let's say he has one leg going forward and one leg going back. Now I can zoom in and work on the eyes and the nose and get some expression going. It's really important not to zoom in too much when you're drawing like this because you're more likely to get stuck into drawing details and what you want to do is just really stay rough and loose. To do that, it's always best to draw your poses while you're zoomed out and you can see the whole pose in one go. Then again, when I'm done with this, I just scale it down, move it over to the side, and I'm going to work up maybe two or three more poses. You get the idea. You can use emotions such as, say, surprise, anger, confusion or laughter, things like that, you can use them as starting points or springboards for your ideas for the pose if you want. Or you can simply just to start drawing your character and see where the drawing itself takes you. I think that's really what I mostly did with these drawings. I managed to let the pose emerge as I was drawing the character. That in itself was actually a really good exercise in drawing dynamic interesting poses. You start out really rough, you don't have any expectations of where you're going, but as the drawing starts to take shape, then you follow that really and see if you can come up with an interesting pose. By the end of about a half an hour or an hour, I think I took a break in the middle of these drawings, but in not that long of a time, I was able to come up with a page of drawings for one character. If you wanted, you could then clean these drawings up, even color them maybe, and then you'd have a great pose sheet ready for your portfolio. But the main reason that I wanted you to do this exercise is so that if you are ever given a model sheet to work with or a neutral character design, then this exercise is really good for helping you to draw your storyboards, it's something that you could do either to warm up before storyboarding, or as a way to actually build up a library of poses that you can work with throughout the boarding process. You can come back to this sheet and see how the character moves and acts, and then apply those poses into your storyboard panels. 10. Blocking in Backgrounds: In this next section of videos, I'm going to take you through the process of creating environments and backgrounds. This will not only help your storyboarding skills, but it will also give you additional animation production skills. Because like character design, background art and layout are actually distinct skill sets that you can specialize in if you do go on to working in the industry. First of all, I'll just define the terms a bit. A layout is a finished locked line drawing. By locked, I mean that it has been approved by the director. Very often a layout artist will take a really rough drawing that the storyboard artist did and scale it up and make it into a proper finish line drawing for the production art. Then that line drawing will go to the background artist or the color stylist for coloring. But more often than not, the background artist is also the layout artist. The background artist will take the storyboard panel, draw the layout, and complete the final coloring or painting. If you're interested in creating background art and paintings for animation, then what you need to focus on is getting really good at drawing in perspective, drawing details in environments, and things like that. I am going to make a separate dedicated course on environment art and background design and in that course, I'll walk you through the process step-by-step. For this course though, we're interested in learning how to draw scenes in order to get your storyboarding to a much more professional level. What I'm going to show you of the next few videos is going to help you achieve exactly that. The first thing that I want to talk about in this video is how to use blocking and shading to start your process, to start your creative mind, visualizing the scene, and helping you to work out your compositions. Instead of jumping right in with complex perspective grids and rulers and plotting things, I always start out rough. Sometimes it's really hard to actually just visualize the scene if you start drawing straight lines straight away. Whenever I'm stuck, I literally close my eyes, imagine the scene that I want to draw, and then use very big blocks of tones to work out where the elements within that composition will go. I've made a new canvas in Photoshop. This one is 1920 pixels by 1080 pixels, so it's big enough to draw a large rough drawing. The next thing I'll do is hit "M" on my keyboard for the marquee selection tool and I'm going to click and drag out a rectangle. Then I'm going to go up to Edit and choose Stroke and in this box here, I'll change the width of the stroke to about four pixels. The color is already black, so I'm going to leave it at that and hit "Okay." Then I'll hit "Command" or "Control D" to de-select. Basically, I've now got that rectangle, it's been created on my background layer, which is locked. I do this simply to give myself a frame to work in. I'm not just starting out on a completely blank canvas. It's very useful to always have a framing boundary. I'll create a new layer above the locked layer and then choose a big soft brush. These are all default brushes within Photoshop 2020, but I'm choosing this one that I actually downloaded the whole set of brushes from Adobe's website. I'll leave these brushes for you so that you can have them as well in the download section. Now when I was making this video, I tried to think of examples for background art that I could work on to show you that process and I thought about using like a standard fairytale as an example. Something like Little Red Riding Hood, because we all know that story. We're all familiar with it. Let's say that you've got a script of Little Red Riding Hood and you need your storyboarding at the whole story and you need to draw a scene for the grandmother's house that's in the woods. Now what I would do is I'd take this brush and very crudely block in sways of tone. I'm not drawing any details, just blocking in patches of tone. I know I want something in the foreground. I need a carbon, obviously for the woods. Some open space, a big tree in the foreground. Trees maybe and foresty elements in the background. Then I can just shade it in blocking tonal values. I know you're thinking, this looks absolutely terrible, but bear with me. The next thing that I'm going to do is over here in the layer stack, I'm going to drag the opacity of this layer down to about 1/2, or 50 percent, and then add a new layer above it. Now back over on my canvas, I can switch brushes to something that's a little bit more linear and start working out some of my ideas. Over the tones and the shading, I'm just going to sketch in those compositional elements that I was thinking about. So very roughly drawing in a cabin over here, maybe it's got a porch that comes out like that. I'm not going to get into any details yet, nothing at all, just trying to keep it loose. The idea is that I'm using these tonal values that I put down in blocks to guide me towards creating something more defined, like the trees, for example, or this rise of the hill in the foreground. Maybe I can put some rocks in as well and just populate the forest in the background with tree trunks and leafy canopy. Eventually, when I get to a certain point and then merge these two layers together and I can repeat the process here if I want to. Bring the opacity down so that I can make another layer on top and then just refine the drawing a little bit better now that I'm understanding that the composition is working and I'm getting to know what details and what elements I want to pick out within the composition. At this stage, I don't want to make a proper final drawing. It's still exploratory. For example, the cabin, maybe I can make this a bit taller, maybe make it have more of a defined porch, make it more structured. I'm not sure. I mean, to me at this stage, it's looking a bit too big within the competition, but I'll see how it goes and maybe change it later. Now this tree and this rise in the foreground, this frames the middle section. I'll add some shading back in. Here I'm really just switching between the big soft brush for areas of tone and the smaller charcoal brush for line and details. Using blocking and shading to start out your background art is always a really good way just to get unstuck. You don't have to be tied down to any part of this drawing at all because it's all movable at this stage. It's all really rough. You're just experimenting with elements and with the composition. Now I'm going to change the house because I don't really like the way it is, also actually just delete it out altogether and re-draw it. I wanted this to be a typical woodsman cabin, maybe with some steps going up to the front porch. I want it to have a really big pitch roof like this. That's looking much better, much more cartoony. That's the end of my rough phase on this drawing. This in itself could be part of a storyboard. Depending on the style of the show or the storyboard that you're drawing, it doesn't have to get more detailed than this. But if I wanted to, I could take it one step further and draw a more cleaned-up version. But let's just switch gears for a minute and I wanted to show you what it's like to draw an interior because sometimes landscapes foresty backgrounds are easy enough. But what if you wanted or you are called upon to draw an interior? For example, I've got my pirate story going on with my pirate character and there's an interior shot of the captain's room. Well, I could do the exact same thing. I'll start out with blocky shading. I know I want a desk in here, I want those interior ship hole structure things, and also a back window. Then obviously, I want something in the foreground for framing. I'm not even sure what this is at the stage. I'm just blocking in some tones, something in the foreground on the left and on the right. Then again, I'm going to lower the opacity of this down and I'm going to draw over this and try to figure out what each of these compositional elements could be. The desk is good. It's straightforward. That's fine. There's things on top of the desk. I'll put a chair at the back and those very ornate ship windows that you see at the front of the ship. Then these rib-like structural beams for the curve of the ship. Notice that I'm not even considering perspective yet. I'm really just working out how things are going to look and how they're going to fit together. I'll put a nice wooden barrel, that's always a great compositional element no matter what the story is, and the sea chest, and obviously some rolled-up maps, very piratey looking. At this stage, that's a good enough rough drawing and I think I'll leave it at that. If you're stuck when it comes to drawing backgrounds or scenes, try this method of starting out very loose, very scribbly even, and work out your elements in broad strokes. It will really help you to free up your visualization as well as help you to draw really fast and dynamic. In the next video, I'm going to look at the all important aspect of perspective. 11. Fundamentals of Perspective: In this video, it's time to talk about perspective. Now, I covered perspective in the other storyboarding courses, so this really is going to be a simple refresher. But I did want to point out some important things that you need to bear in mind when it comes to learning how to draw in perspective, because some of these points have been raised by students in those other courses, and I thought this would be a really good opportunity to address them. But first of all, let's go over exactly what perspective is and what aspects of perspective drawing you need to master as a storyboard artist. As a board artist, you are going to need to know how to draw in two main types of perspective drawing. The first one is one-point perspective. This is where you just have one vanishing point on the horizon line. You can think of this horizon line and the vanishing point as the direction that you're looking in. In this case, you're just looking straight ahead, you're in the middle of the frame, or the viewfinder, and your eyeline or camera is about slightly higher than the midpoint. From this point of view, objects in your frame will visually become smaller the further away from you they are. The closer the object is to you, the bigger it will appear in the frame. In order to draw that scale of big to small, we can just use a grid. We make a grid by using radiating lines coming out of the vanishing point, below the horizon line and above it. These lines are going to be our guides for the scale of the objects in our scene. The way I'm drawing these, I'm just tapping the brush in the center and then holding down the Shift key on my keyboard, and tapping the brush at the azure edge. That will give me a straight line. Then to complete the grid, draw parallel lines going also from the front of the frame towards the horizon. You already start to get a sense of depth in your frame. Now to draw this line straight, you can simply hold the Shift key as you draw from one side to the other. Now that you have your grid, you can start to fill in your drawing by following diagonal lines and parallel lines. Let's say we're drawing a city street. That's the easiest thing to visualize in this way. Just follow the grid. Draw rectangles like this. These are going to be the buildings. What you're seeing is, you see one side of the building that goes towards the vanishing point. The front side is parallel to us, to the viewer, to the picture plane, or to the camera. It doesn't matter how big or how small your buildings are. As long as they follow the grid, they'll be represented to scale correctly. For example, let's say there are some street lights lining the road, all of these are the exact same height, and in perspective, the ones that are furthest away are smaller than the ones that are near to you. That's straightforward enough. The second type of perspective that you'll be called upon most to draw, as a storyboard artist is two-point perspective. Let's assume that we're looking at the exact same scene, this street scene over here. But now instead of standing in the middle of the street and looking straight down, let's imagine we're off to the side so that we see the buildings from an angle. I'm going to draw the exact same horizon line. But this time, in order to draw the buildings from an angle, I'm going to make two vanishing points, one on the left and one on the right. Before I go any further, I want to make the point now that you should nearly always place these vanishing points outside of the picture frame when you're drawing in two-point perspective. Simply because if you don't, your drawing will become really squashed and distorted. In nearly every case, it's a good idea to place these two vanishing points as far apart as possible. That often means placing them beyond the frame of the frame that you're drawing in. I've got one here and here, and from each of these points, I'm going to draw my radiating lines. Now, there's actually no need to draw parallel lines, because each set of these radiating lines intersects and they form the grid like that. Then I'm going to go ahead and start drawing the buildings. Imagine that the street is now running from the right hand side vanishing point across the screen, coming towards us, at an angle like this. I'm really following the grid completely to draw these rectangles. Each side of the building now goes towards one of the vanishing points. There's no parallel side, as we had in one-point perspective. But the same sense of scale is still working. As things move away into the distance on the right, they become smaller and smaller. Similarly, if the left-hand side was visible, then we would see that objects or, in this case, rectangles, will become smaller as they travel towards the left vanishing point. That's one-point and two-point perspective. The next two things that you need to know about are whether or not your point of view is a high angle or is a low angle. This concept can be tricky at first because if you think of a high angle, then you might visualize that you're looking up at something. But actually you have to visualize that the camera or you yourself are up really high and your viewpoint is looking down. Then you'd be looking down on something. The horizon line and the vanishing point is up high. Let's put the vanishing point off to the left slightly. I'm using one-point perspective for this example. Now let's say the scene that we're drawing is a table in a room. I'm just going to follow the grid, draw the table like this. I'll even use the grid to draw the floor and indicate the floor plane and the walls. A good way to remember about how to draw high angle, is that you always see the top of things, when you're drawing that angle. For example, the top of a chair or the top of the table. For a low angle, think of yourself or the camera as being low down almost on the floor and it's looking up. Your point of view this time is upwards. If you were to draw the table again from a low angle and follow the grid, as you can see in this angle, we're actually going to see the underneath of the table, we don't see the top. That's the way I always remember how to draw low angles, is that I'm not seeing the top surfaces of things, I'm seeing things from underneath. These four things, one-point perspective, two-point perspective, whether it's a high angle or whether it's a low angle, these represent I think, the most important concepts that you need to understand, to practice and to apply to your drawings. I've had students now ask me how to draw or why are we not drawing those extreme angles using three-point perspective looking completely down on something or looking way up, like the shots that you see in Spider-Man or action movies like that. The thing that I would say is that most of the time students who are looking to try and draw extreme down shots with complex multiple vanishing points haven't yet mastered or even understood a simple one-point perspective drawing. I'm mentioning that not to be critical, but just to point out that you really do need to be able to understand and draw a simple one-point perspective drawing before you can go for something that's extreme, complex three-point perspective. If you really want to draw complex shots like that, but you don't know how to draw one-point perspective, you'll never get it right. You have to understand one-point and two-point perspective first. Then when it comes to drawing three-point perspective or extreme down shots, extreme upshots, you'll be able to draw them without having to be taught anything, because these four things first are the simple building blocks. I really wanted to mention that, and I hope it makes sense and I hope you understand where I'm coming from. Also, the other thing I want to talk about perspective is that you need to think of perspective in terms of story point. There is simply no need to draw an extreme down shot with three-point perspective if the story doesn't call for it. I know in something like Spider-Man, obviously, the guy swinging through the skyscrapers of New York, and yes, you will definitely need those shots. But think about when you're making a storyboard, whose point of view are you showing? Always think of your story point when you're choosing your shots, and think of your story point when you're choosing your perspective. Now that those fundamentals are covered, I want to now jump back into that really rough drawing that I did in the last video. I want to show you how you can work out your perspective in your rough drawings. It's really easy process. First of all, when I look at this drawing, I'm going to determine where the horizon line and the vanishing points are. Now for me in this drawing, I will look at the rough drawing and I can see very roughly that I was drawing from a point of view where the horizon line was just above the middle of the frame. I know that because I can see a little bit of the top of the desk, I can see the top of the barrel and the chest, things like that. Then I can draw my grid. Even though I've got these lines on the floor that look as though they're following perspective, I'm actually going to ignore them completely and simply make a grid that is distinct from the drawing. I want it to be distinct from the drawing at this point in all aspects except for the point of view. I'm not fitting the grid to the rough drawing. I'm going to draw my grid in and of itself, and then I'll fit the drawing to the grid. Once this grid is made, I'll lower the opacity of the layer, then I'm going to lock the layer and create a brand new one above it. Then I'll also lower the opacity down of the rough drawing which is in this group here. You can actually lower the opacity of a group as well as of just a layer. Now over top of this, I'm going to draw the elements that I worked out in my composition. This time I'm going to follow the grid exactly. The table I can work up like this. Now, this drawing is still rough. It's by no means my final line work. But this is my next step if I was drawing this out for storyboard panel. By following this method of working, the most important thing to get right is the floor plane. Once I get that in, and I get the walls and the ceiling worked out, then I know that the drawing is going to be okay. In this instance I do have curved walls, but I'm not really going to worry about that just yet. It's more important to get the basic cube shape of the room worked out first. Once that's done, all of the elements can also follow the grid, like the chest, the barrels. That's really the basics of how to get perspective working into a rough drawing. Once you've got the construction lines figured out, and as I said, the basic cube shape of the room, everything else then can fall into place if you just redraw the elements with structure now. This example was intended to show you how to apply a grid to your rough drawing. It's not really intended to show you how to draw a complex layout. Because for one thing, if I was doing that, I should actually be using reference images. For this drawing, I just sort this and made up all of the elements in the drawing. Bear bear that in mind. Use this example as a way to understand the process of working out your rough image for your composition first, and then applying perspective on top of it. 12. Depth, Scale and Tangents: The next topic that I want to talk about is how to tackle drawing with a sense of depth and space without having to be tied to draw in precise layouts and having to use a perspective grid every single time. Because very often when you're drawing storyboard panels fast and furiously, you don't really have time to scale up a proper layout or a background design using a grid. But at the same time, you do want to be able to draw realistically with a believable sense of scale and depth. In this video I'm going to talk a little bit about that and explain some conventions and from shorthands that you can work with in order to do just that. I've got a standard canvas here in Photoshop. It's about 1920 by 1080. Again, I'm going to go over to the marquee selection tool up here, rectangular marquee, and just click and drag out an area like this. Go up to "Edit" and choose "Stroke", and then hit Command or Ctrl D to de-select. That's going to be my frame in which I'm going to draw our lockers and create a new layer above that. In the previous storyboarding course, I gave an assignment out to the students to test your ability to draw with depth and scale. The challenge was to draw a farmyard scene using some simple elements such as a barn. I'm just going to quickly sketch in a barn over here. Let's say it's got a door. That's about it. Then another element that you could use was rolling hills in the background. We'll just make some hills going over like that. Then obviously if it's a farmyard, it's going to have fields. I'll just draw in some fencing here. Let's say we see fences coming up to about there. Let's say this is a gate and we can just have the road going off like that. In terms of overlap, I've used the hills in the background, I've used the barn and the fence. That all works very well to create a sense of layered perspective without having to, as I say, go all full-on drawing a grid. You can see that this barn is following a very simple two-point perspective without having to work up too much. At least we can see the front and we can see the side. I don't know if there's windows in a barn. I'm not sure. Let's just put a window in just to be on the safe side. Now to take this one step further, I would also suggest that you can give a sense of scale by using two or three similar objects. So two or three things that are exactly the same. An obvious example of that is using a tree. Over here, if I just quickly sketch in a tree, like this, I'm going to hit "E" on my keyboard. Decrease the size of it by using the open square brackets and just take out that line there. I'm going to hit "B", switch back to the brush tool, finish off the tree. Let's say that tree is there. We put one tree there. Now if I were to put an element in the foreground like this, the way this works is that the eye is instantly going to read this as a tree, even though we just see a tiny bit of it, because there's a tree already established in full view back there in the background, the audience's eye is going to know that this element here that we're seeing up-close is the same similar thing, it's a tree. That immediately goes a long way compositionally to establishing depth and scale for the viewer. It's a really easy compositional technique to use two or three elements that are pretty much the same, and then only using part of one because the full extent of the others is already shown. Another thing that you can do is having elements like this close to the foreground helps to frame your composition. In a way, this tree is, if you like framing this area here, the branches and the leaves are pointing down towards us because the viewer's eye travels along this tree and into this area of interest. In this very simple scene, you could even do the same thing with say the fence, you could start to scale up the fence and maybe put in, I'm not sure, I haven't really quite worked out what that fence is made of. Let's say it's made of these wooden poles and some wire going through, like that. A bit of barbed wire. But there you get the idea. Again, it's just leading the eye in as a framing device, and it's also relating itself to these far of elements here, and telling the audience that this is near us and that's far away. It does sound a little bit simplistic, but I think compositionally it's an important concept to take on board and to try and work into your own drawings as much as you can. Now some students have asked me whether using the concept of atmospheric perspective can also help to establish or describe depth and scale in your composition. Atmospheric perspective is when things that are further away appear lighter and things that are closer to the camera or closer to you appear darker. Could also think about the things that are closer to you have higher contrast and the things that are further away have a lower contrast, and that's what makes them look lighter in tone. I personally would say I only use this for painting. For line work, it's not really going to read in the exact same way. It will just actually look a little bit strange if your line work is leisure in certain areas of your drawing and then darker for the things that are closer to the camera. I'll just show you what I mean by if I select this section of the drawing, so these elements are in the follow-up in the background a little bit, so with that selected, I'm going to hit "Command" or "Control X" on my keyboard to cut it off that layer. I'll hit "Command Shift V" to paste it in place, and now it's on a brand new layer above the top one. If I lower the opacity down, say, to about 60 or even 70 percent, you can see what I mean. It looks a bit strange. I get that you're trying to give the impression that things are further away. However, for me, it doesn't really necessarily work. What I would think would be a much more effective use of giving the impression of depth in your line work is to actually make the things that are closer to you have a thicker line. Elements that are in the foreground like this, you could make these things have a bit more of a thicker line, and then the elements that are further away will have a thinner or lighter line as they move away into the far distance. For this tree, we could just make this line a bit thicker, not overdoing it completely. I mean, you still want the image to have a bit of cohesiveness and readability throughout, but it is nice to emphasize these foreground elements by using a bit of a thicker line in comparison to the line work that's in the rest of the composition. This is especially true for things that are repeated. For example, say you had blades of grass in the foreground. You could use a thicker line for your blades of grass like this, and then thinner and obviously smaller lines as if you wanted to indicate grass as it moves back into the picture plane. That's how I would treat it. I would make things that are further away have a thinner line and the elements that are closer bit more of a thicker and pronounced line. The last thing that I want to talk about is tangents, and this is something that I didn't make a big point about in the previous storyboarding course, but it did come up a couple of times, so I thought this would be a good opportunity to address it. I want to explain to you what tangents are, how you can avoid them in your artwork, and I also want to talk about whether or not they really are that important. A tangent is a compositional element, or I should say it's an error in your composition. It's where two lines meet and create a new straight line. It's where they touch, but they don't intersect. Let me just explain this a bit more clearly. These lines here, you've got a line going like this and one going like that. Actually, I should put this on a new layer. This line meeting this line, is an intersection, so it's not a tangent, but if we were to grab, say the line that creates the mountain, if I just grab that, and if I were to move it up to there, so say I drew my image initially with the mountain a bit higher on this side, where the line of the mountain meets the top of the barn, that is a tangent. We're back up to the top layer. It doesn't intersect the barn, it meets it and creates a new straight line. What this does is that it has the effect of flattening out your composition, and that's why tangents are deemed to be so bad. You can also see a little bit of a tangent here, where there's an upright. One of the uprights of the fence is meeting this line back there, that will create a tangent. Anything that intersects is fine, so these lines are all fine. Not really seeing any other tangents here, but hopefully, you get the idea. That is what you want to avoid in your artwork at all times. Now I'm going to tell you something that you don't often hear, but I do want you to understand. Tangents are actually just very small, insignificant errors in your drawing. I'm not going to tell you if you've made a really good drawing, that your composition is bad simply because there's one tangent. They're actually not that big of a deal in terms of your drawing. However, what you do need to know is that anybody else who knows to look out for tangents is going to spot them right away and will inevitably call you out on them. That's actually the reason why you want to avoid them the most, is because you could work all day long on a really lovely, extremely well composed, very detailed background, and to have just one tiny little tangent could actually mean that your work get sent back for revisions from your art director, your supervisor, or your director. The best possible strategy is to know about tangents and to make sure they aren't in your drawing so that when you do hand it over, you can be safe and sure that you're not going to get any revisions because it's just as I say, the easiest and the simplest thing to spot in somebody's artwork and send it back, so just avoid them for that reason alone. 13. Intro to Drawing Sequences: So far in this course, I've walked you through some of the common drawing conventions for characters and for backgrounds. As a board artist, you need to be able to draw both of these elements quickly, clearly, and dynamically in your storyboards. I do want to address one point that often comes up about this and that is, do you have to be able to draw detailed full layouts and backgrounds for each storyboard panel? Likewise, do you have to be able to draw model sheets and fully finished character designs? The answer is no. Generally speaking, you really only have to draw suggested backgrounds in your storyboards or if you're working on an animated TV show, it's actually likely that you'll be given the layout that's already been designed and drawn up and you'll also be given the characters and their model sheets. Then your job is going to be to use both those layouts and those model sheets in order to draw the storyboard. Remember that you will have to draw the layout that's given to you from different angles and you're going to have to draw the characters that's given to you in different poses. Plus, you'll have to be able to draw all of these things very fast and very correctly. All of that means that even though you don't have to draw detailed layouts for your storyboards, you really should at least be able to do so. Now let's move on and look at how you can bring all of your drawing skills to bear on storyboards. How do you apply your drawing skills to a script? In this section of videos, I'm going to recap the basic camera angles and shots that are used in narrative film and in animation. I'm also going to share with you some tips that directors often give to story artists. Plus, we'll look at how many panels should you aim to be drawing per scene. Then finally, we'll go over some sample boards and have a review of students' work. 14. Review of Shots and Angles: In this video, I'm going to give you a quick review of the different kinds of shots that you could use to tell your visual stories. This is going to be a refresher on what I covered in much more in-depth in the first storyboarding course. But I did want to take the opportunity to recap now since it does relate very much to drawing because up until now you've been building up your drawing skills for characters and backgrounds and you need to now apply them to visual storytelling. You need to honed those drawing skills towards telling a story in a compelling way and to do that, you need to understand the different types of shots that are at your disposal. These six shots that I've got here are pretty much the main storytelling shots that are used in film or animation. I'll go through each one of them briefly and just explain when and how you use them. The establishing shot is used obviously at the very beginning of films. It's that very wide-sweeping shot that you see at the start of a movie. It can also be used at the start of a sequence as well. If you've been having a load of action and you want to breath oriented the viewer as to where they are, you can go back to establishing shot. That's really what this does. It tells the viewer where the action is taking place. The next one up is the wide shot. The wide is used in the same way as the establishing shot, in that it tells the audience something about the landscape or something about the location. But this can be used more often throughout the sequence than the establishing shot. You can think of this as there's a visual storytelling pattern that's known as progressing inwards, so you can think of the wide shot as being the next step in towards the scene after the establishing shot. In fact, all of these are pretty much taking the viewer progressively inwards and you'll often see the wide shot used directly after the establishing shot. Now that we've established where the scene is, let's go into the scene a little bit further and start the story in other words. I did mention in the last storyboarding course that these two shots are pretty much associated with landscape and with the environment of the story, like where are the actions taking place and that the following four shots are used for characters. It's not a hard and fast rule, like you can have long shots or medium and close-ups and extreme close-ups of objects in a scene, or parts of the landscape, or parts of the room where the action is taking place. It doesn't have to relate only to characters. But it's a good way to think about storytelling because you're always coming back to the fact that the character drives the story. In every single film or every visual story that you can think of, it's usually the character that drives the story. That's why these shots are important to understand in terms of character arcs and character stories because they can be used to reinforce your theme and importantly to establish audience identification with your main characters. Having said all of that, the long shot which is after the wide is related to character. It shows the full length of the character. You will see the character from head to foot. It's often called a full-body shot. This is used if there's a lot of action in the scene or if there's movement, if the character is walking around. You want to be able to show the full length of the character in order for the action to be readable. Then after that is the medium shot. The medium shot is pretty much the absolute standard character shot, I would say. It shows a character from just below the waist and up to the head and it's used because with this setup, we can still read the emotion clearly on the character space, but it's still wide enough in order for the character to act if he needs to and importantly to use his hands. Anytime there's a shot or a scene where the character has doing something with his hands, then you go for the medium shot. The close-up is generally associated with just the head and shoulders. This shot is the most important one to establish emotion on the character's face and to allow the audience to read that emotion and to start to identify with the character. I will say that a lot of people tend to go a bit too close when they're drawing close-ups and I would encourage you to be mindful of the fact that something like this is maybe too close. You want to give the character room, see the top of the head, see his shoulders, and also given space if he has to walk around in the shot. Then finally, the extreme close-up, that's when you can go very close in. You could even go in as close as the eyes if you really wanted to drive home the emotion or heighten the emotion in the scene. It's a very claustrophobic shot, that's why going so close on a regular close-up doesn't work because it tends to make the audience feel a little bit suffocating or disoriented if it comes in that close. It's really used to underscore the emotion of the scene. Again, just to repeat myself, it can be used on an object or a part of a scene or anything like that. It's not just for characters. You often hear me and other people talk about camera angles, camera shots and it seems like it's a bit of an interchangeable term. A camera shot describes the size of the view that we see. Think about if it's a wide view, a close-up view, an extreme close-up view and a camera angle describes the placement of the camera relative to what we see. In every single one of these shots, the camera angle is just straight on. It's very generic. The horizon line is in the middle of my shot in nearly every single one. This is maybe a little bit of a down shot. It looks to me like I drew it as if we were looking down. But coming back to this one, this one, and this one, these are all regular angles. As I explained in the earlier video about perspective drawing, you can have a high angle and a low angle. Just to recap, the high angle is when your camera is high up looking down on the scene. If we had a high angle of an establishing shot, my mounting range would be up here, my horizon be up there, and I would see much more of the ground plane. I would still see my tree and I can have the cactus in the foreground, but there's much more view of the ground plane like that. Then a low angle, if you had your camera down low, then we would see less of the ground. The ground plane would be much lower down. Let's say if I'm drawing this wide shot, I'd have my mountains way low down in the horizon and the tree. We're looking up from underneath at the tree there and then another angle that you can use is called the Dutch or tilted angle and that's when the horizon line is tilted, somewhat like this. If you really want to disorientate the viewer, you could do something like that. Actually, this tilted angle is a really nice option to use when you want to just mix it up and not have everything look so boring and dead-on straight. You can just tilt the angle like that and immediately, this gives much more of an interesting sense. It's much more dynamic. Compositionally, it works really well. In fact, for people who want to use those very extreme high-up shots or extreme low angle shots that I talked about previously, maybe instead they could consider using a Dutch or tilted angle to convey that unsteadiness and to convey that dynamic quality to their shots without having to get too caught up in complicated perspective grids. That's something to bear in mind. I would definitely suggest doing that. I'm not sure why it's called a Dutch angle, but that's the film term, and just remember that it's the camera angle or the camera is tilted. Since you're taking this course and it's likely that you've taken my other storyboarding courses, then I know that you already have a very keen visual sense and a really good understanding of filmic visual language. You probably very instinctively know how to read a film and can visualize story in terms of shots. I've certainly seen that over the past few months with student assignments, that even with people with very rudimentary drawing skills, they still have this incredible visual storytelling sense and are able to see shots and camera angles in a very sophisticated way. It is important to know why the shots that you choose for your storyboards work and how they fit together. This is what's going to help you to create good sequences because once you are fluent in these visual motifs of shots and angles and once you know why they work, then you can start to create patterns and develop your own particular style as a filmmaker, as an animator, and as a story artist. The most important thing to remember is that each shot fits into an overall sequence, and each sequence fits into a larger section or act within your script, and each of those fits into the overall story. This is going to give you an idea of how to choose your shots for your story points. Like I said before, if you want an extreme down shot, just ask yourself, what's the story point of the scene? Does it actually fit into the story point? Maybe there's another shot that actually more cleverly underscores the ideas that you want to talk about or the idea that you're explaining. In the next video, I'm going to talk about some top tips that are most often given to storyboard artists in order to improve their work and it really does all come back to this idea of using your shots to tell the story point. 15. Directors' Tips for Storyboard Artists: Now I want to share a few tips with you on how you can approach your storyboarding from a more professional level. These are tips that are very often given by directors to storyboard artists. It's not a few, I think I only got about four tips for you but they are well-worth knowing. They apply across the board to whatever storyboards you want to work on and I think a lot of beginner storyboard artists aren't fully aware of the simple hacks that you can really use to improve your storyboarding. Knowing about these will help you drawing your storyboards and it will also help to preempt any of your director's requirements. Knowing ahead of time what the director is going to want out of you is also very good to know about. My first tip is to really go for the over the shoulder shot when you are boarding dialogue sequences. I see this a lot of times for beginners storyboard artists where they've got, say for example, something like this what I've got here, two people talking and they'll show the dialogue or they'll board out the dialog showing just one character at a time. Obviously, if we look at this sequence we can tell that this guy's doing all the speaking and this guy is just listening. But think carefully about the dynamic that is at play between any two characters. One one that will really help to establish the dynamic and the interaction is to show a little bit of the head and shoulders of the other guy. It just drives home to the audience the relationship between these two and it's a very good way to establish that relationship. Plus it can also be used to underscore any tension between them. If I was to fix this up, I would maybe move this guy over a little bit and add in the head and shoulders of this other character immediately it changes the dynamic of this simple scene that makes it a lot stronger. I think it really adds to this interaction what's happening. This guy is chatting and this guy is listening and even here, he can still be talking away and have this guy just listening, a better understanding and a better connection between the two characters which then helps the audience to read the scene a lot better. The other thing is that this dynamic that's established with an over the shoulder shot can really underscore any tension between characters. For example, if we look at this set of thumbnails that I did in the earlier storyboarding course, this dialogue sequence here between the sheriff and the bar man goes along way to demonstrating that. This shot here is probably more technically called a two-shot, so both characters are in the shot equally, but then we move into a bit of an over the shoulder shot, we cut back to his reaction and then we have this over the shoulder shot. I like this because it does help to establish that this guy is in a bit of a weaker position. If I just create a new layer, I'm going to grab another color. You'll see that Appleby, the barman, pretty much in every shot occupies this area of the frame. Whereas the sheriff occupies the top left of the frame, and in this instance even more of us. That's just a subtle visual cue to the audience that the dynamic at play here is way should towards this sky. The over the shoulder shot shows the audience what the character is looking at plus it crucially shows the character in the act of looking. Just enhances character identification. Now the next tip is one that's often given out by directors to storyboard artist and that is to cut wider on the action. What I mean by that is that if there's action happening in a scene, for example here, I think these two shots should be a little bit wider. It's very tight and almost claustrophobic when you look at these two shots. You've got three characters in here, something is going on. They're turning around because this guys walked in, but it doesn't really read very well. If we look at this example here, now this is much better. We go from the succession or a series of close-ups and in this shot Tucker, the sheriff, is going to step in front of Gretta and try and handle the situation by cutting wider. You've just got way more room for the characters to act and to move around. That's what's meant by cutting wider on the action, and it's just something to keep in mind. A lot of people will go in for the close-ups automatically, maybe it's because they want to enhance the story or enhance the emotion of the scene, but generally speaking for something like this, cutting wider will actually allow the action to play out in a much clear away. My third tip is something that I mentioned in the last video and that's to use the tilted angle or the Dutch angle. Again, using straight on ordinary compositional angles where the camera is directly in front of characters can tend to be a little bit boring. This is quite a nice angle. It's a bit of a down-shot. The thing about a tilted or a Dutch angle is that it creates diagonal lines, and those are the compositional elements that interest a viewer or engage the audience. I've got a set of rough thumbnails here and I just wanted to show you how effective this shot down here is. We go from very standard shots, close-ups, cameras all on the same level, and then here he's tilted the camera slightly so that we see a bit of the floor and these lines here leading towards the door. It just has the effect of adding to the drama and creating that sense of unbalance and tension. As I say, these diagonal lines are really good in any drawing, in any composition to help lead the viewer's eyes to where the area of interest is which in this case is the door. They are running out the door. Remember to go for a tilted or Dutch angle whenever you want to enhance your composition or add a bit more of an interest into your panels. The last tip that is pretty much standard across everybody's work is to remember to use elements of your composition to frame your characters. This is just always going to make for a much stronger image and a much stronger shot. If you foreground some things or use objects within the shot to frame your character, then you'll be doing really well. For example, in this shot here, this diagonal line of the railing and this character here perfectly frames this area of interest. It leads our eyes towards the character of the sheriff then walks through into the scene and continues on to the next panel. What this is doing, this and as I say, her directional gaze is foregrounding, Sheriff took her walking in. That's very nice visual storytelling. It's just a simple example, but you've seen me do it over and over again even up here where I used elements in the corners to frame whatever is happening in the center. Again, in this section or in this panel, here's the banister up the stairs, creating that really nice diagonal line and framing leading the viewer's eye in towards these two characters. It's a perfect setup for the dialogue sequence that follows. Those are my top tips for drawing storyboards and building out your sequences. In the next video, we're going to take a look at some student work and review some of the storyboards up and coming in in terms of building sequences and creating dynamic storytelling through your shot choices. I'll see you in the next video. 16. Class Project: Well done for getting to the end of the course. I'm really proud of you for watching this all the way through. I hope you've enjoyed it and I hope that you've learned something useful. I want to introduce you now to the final class project. As I mentioned before, this is going to be a very fun project for you to take on and apply everything that we've covered so far in the course to storyboarding a script from scratch. What I've done is I've left you a folder in your Download section. You'll be able to find all of these assets. First of all, you'll find your script. I've left both a PDF and a Word doc version. If you can't access either of those, let me know and I'll send you a different sort format. What you'll find is that it's pretty much one page of script. Now, I want to just point out that you don't have to storyboard this entire page. Once you start dialing down into the details, you'll see that there's quite a lot that's involved in just a straightforward one-pager. Feel free to take a part of this, if you feel that's enough, or take the whole script, that will be great. Essentially, you've got your script and you've got some character designs. I've drawn this character, this is Captain Barnaby. I've also put together a lineup of his his pirate crew. As you'll see, I have made poses for Captain Barnaby, but I haven't drawn any poses from these guys. Hopefully, you've had a go at practicing putting some of these characters into poses yourself. But you should be able to use any of these for your storyboard. You also have a sample layout. This is the layout that goes with the first scene in the script. If I hop back over to the Metal Queen script where it says exterior docks night, that's that layout. The rest is up to you. I want you to come up with a suggestive background for the ship deck. You can refer to my rough drawing for the captain's cabin if you want, when you get down to the end of it. My advice is to read through the script, jot down your ideas, your thoughts, and put how you visualize the story, make little notes on the script, and then formulate those ideas. You want to be thinking about angles, shots, and how those shots will fit together to tell the story. When you've got your thumbnailing done, then you can go back in and redraw it as a final finished storyboard. I've also left you some storyboard templates that you can use to finish up your project. There's a few files here, both JPEG and PDF. This template has three panels. I have another template that has six panels on one page. It's totally up to you. If you've got any questions, of course, you can just let me know, send me a message and I'll gladly help you out. But I hope you can have fun with this project. I really do hope that you're able to apply things that you've learned in this course to your drawing, for this project and going forward into the future. Let's stay in touch. I look forward to seeing you in the next course.