Croods Odds and Ends - Eep and Guy February 4, 2013 09:34

This bit is in the movie, but we reversed the stacking of Eep and Guy.  Now Eep is on Guy's shoulders.  This board is much, much later in the production, and I'm a lot more accurate with what everyone is wearing.  I cannot seem to pass up the chance to draw belly buttons on characters, weather they are people or animals.  It's usually the  last thing I do before moving on to the next panel.

The Lost Boards part 7 February 1, 2013 11:33

Early versions of the film had a separation between the hunters and the gatherers.  Eep was fairly frustrated having to watch her brother Thunk taken out to the hunting grounds while she had to spend her days in the trees.  Making things worse was the fact that Thunk was a complete failure when it came to hunting, and Eep was a natural.  This board picks up where the plant-fighting board left off.  After Eep beats a carnivorous plant to a pulp to pluck a strawberry out of it, she gazes out to the hunting grounds.  Thunk is about two miles away, trying to knock a little bird off the back of a mammoth.  Thunk has been missing the bird all day, and Eep is tempted to finish the job.  Eep stores the strawberry away in her dress, then pulls a throwing rock out of her hair, where she keeps one handy.  Before she can throw it, her mother drops in to remind her not to get involved in her brother's hunt.

But Eep is going to throw it anyway.  I boarded it to cut between Eep and Thunk winding up, and releasing their rocks at the same moment.  At a few feet away, Thunk misses, and also manages to fall flat on his face.  Eep hits the bird from two miles away.

All this was dropped in favor of a more compact sequence where all of the Croods hunt together.  The new sequence works much better, but all this preliminary boarding went a long way in establishing the characters' traits and tone, and developing the world they lived in.

The Lost Boards part 6 January 31, 2013 11:05

The point of today's post is that doing lots and lots of rough drawings can do wonders for your gestures.  I've had the experience of struggling all day on a single drawing, only to have it come out way too stiff and self-conscious looking, and end up throwing it away - eight to twelve hours for nothing.  In the case of storyboards you don't have time to fret over things, you just plow ahead and leave rough drawings behind, hoping to get the time to clean them up later. Consequently, you're forced to relax and just throw down little graphic scribbles that capture a teeny little piece of the larger puzzle.  After the first dozen or so I always start to pick up speed, and by the end of the day can have several hundred such drawings.  None of them ready for a story reel or anything, but plenty strong enough to pitch.  And there are always some that I can pull out for beautification, their poses or expressions way better than if I had set out to draw only one.

This is the main reason I use a fat China Marker - it's impossible to draw details.

In this series of drawings, pulled from a much larger sequence, Eep climbs up in a tree to vent her frustration from an argument she just had with her father - she wants to keep Guy but of course her father wants to let him go.  As I mentioned in the last post, the Croods are quite a bit more dense than Guy, mentally and physically.  I made it my mission to have them treat Guy like a rag doll or stray kitten whenever the opportunity arose.  Not the prettiest drawings, but the last five have an ease and confidence that I can only manifest if I've been drawing all day.

The Lost Boards part 5 January 30, 2013 13:57

In every version of the film Guy is waylaid by the Croods.  Guy is human 2.0.  Unlike the Croods, he can use tools and make fire.  He is also physically weaker than a Crood, even a Crood child.  Hence, if a Crood wants to keep Guy around, Guy will be staying.  In this scene Guy is being forced to accompany Eep on a prehistoric date.  Her idea of a good time is watching things sink in tar pits.  The date is not going well.

But the real point of these two boards is that they both contain an early version of Guy, who used to be a bit of a hippie.  Thankfully, we changed that.

This is a little snippet where Guy tries to flee from the Croods.  Eep overtakes him with ease, and proceeds to ask him questions.  Again, mostly here for the hippie of it all.  Note the creepy vest.  And the hippie shoulder bag.  This was before he got his sloth.  The fourth panel is cleaner than the others because if I ever get the chance I try and make a drawing pretty.  One out of every hundred or so.  For these I sometimes switch from a China Marker to a black Polychromos.

The Lost Boards part 4 January 29, 2013 12:17

There used to be a Dr. Seuss-ish creature that lived in Crood Valley - a tiger with an unusually long tail.  He slept during the day with his tail across the trail, waiting for an unfortunate creature to trip over it.  Once tripped, the tiger would awaken and go on the hunt.  Grug's son, Thunk, is arguably the dimmest of the Croods.  The rock in the foreground of drawings is Thunks favorite hunting rock.  Even though it is indiscernable from a million other rocks, Thunk likes this one because it is famous - more Crood hunters have died with that rock in their hands than any other.

So Thunk is about to retrieve the rock, and of course steps on the incredibly obvious tail, alerting the tiger and starting a lot of trouble for himself.

If you are inclined to be a board artist there are some things to make note of.  I learned a few things from Disney board artist Burny Mattinson that help the legibility of these panels.  Burny taught me to fade background lines away when they collide with a character - this helps the character read against the background, boosting the clarity and keeping the image from being too busy.  When the character is actually in contact with something, like the tiger's tail, then its okay to have all the lines connect.

The other trick Burny would use is shading places and elements you need to pay attention to.  You may have noticed that on the 2nd and 3rd drawings in the Eep VS Plant series.  I shaded the plant on the 2nd drawing, and Eep's elbow and the plant's head in the 3rd drawing, so they read quickly when the series is digitized and placed in the story reel.  Drawing 15 is also shaded - Eep's foot and the plant face are what you need to see, so they are shaded.  Your eye will always travel to the point of highest contrast.