When we last left out hero, me, I was struggling with making my designs “animation friendly”.
I had resolved on good advice to not just simply make drawings with less lines, but also to ponder the question on what makes an animation good.
I’ll spare you having to look at further of my scribbly studies but suffice to say I did many a study of my favorite animations. Akira, Cowboy Bebop, Mononoke, Vampire Hunter D, the Sword in the Stone, Rock and Rule etc etc..
From doing that I started to get a handle on what I wanted the Demon Princes animation to look like. Some of the sketches I made of Kirth Gersen (the main protagonist of the series) were starting to gel:
And I also did a whole bunch of rough sketches of “final frames”, trying to get a feel of the camera angles and poses that would really sell the scifi noir adventure I want to portray:
(I said no more scribbly studies, didn’t say nothing about no sketches)
And this culminated in my first attempt at a visualization of the final look:
I’m very pleased with this look, I decided later that I had pushed the simplicity of his face a little too far but other than that I think it’s a good first step.
So after I finished this I met a man who along with Robin Keijzer I now consider my unofficial mentor: Dirk van Dulmen. He’s a professional storyboard artist who’s very good and also very passionate about the story craft. He also runs storybeard.net, a treasure trove of all things story related!
I met up with him and showed him some of my designs, told him about the books I read and how interested I was in becoming a storyboard artist. I asked him for some tips on how to get good at it.
“Well first you have to make a few storyboards so I can see what your strengths and weaknesses are.”
Ah yes. That makes sense. Now I had in fact made a storyboard of sorts for the opening sequence of the Demon Princes already… but just on post-its and it was very rough:
So I got right to it, the only thing I quickly bashed out were a couple of new designs for Gersen and Pankarow. The two characters I wanted to feature in the opening sequence:
I had an idea that it would be interesting to make Pankarow bigger than Gersen.
(which as you can see by the title is technically an animatic)
Showed it to Dirk and the verdict is: It’s not bad for a first pass. But I got notes. Many helpful and great notes about every single scene in this animatic. Wich honestly I’m so grateful for because that’s how you get good: by repeating the process until you master it.