One Artist’s Process: The Revisions. For Real This Time

I’m here! I’m here!

It’s the long-awaited Aidan storyboard revision follow-up. With my comments and everything.


Since it’s been a short lifetime since I started this series, feel free to refresh your memories with the introduction post to Aidan Casserly’s storyboard he has created for his portfolio.

Then you can check out his brainstorming and thumbnail post, his first pass storyboard and my feedback on them in part one here and part two here.

Then he took my notes and made some revisions. He didn’t do every single thing I suggested and that’s cool.

Though…he should have. Because I’m, like…*ahem*…right and all. ; )

But I digress.

So now we have my final comments about his revisions. Enjoy!

(You can click on the images to enlarge them.)

Page 1

I had suggested he add a pan on the first panel of the exterior of the jailhouse and he chose not to. Which is fine. But I can’t help but notice the total lack of camera movement in the board. I think it’s done more to keep the panels “nice and neat-like”.

And I say, if you want to storyboard for animation, you’re going to have to show some camera movement and not let the template dictate your story. I see it with students too. They make their camera movements to fit in nicely within the storyboard template.

Don’t do that. Tell the story the way you need to and you dictate what the panels should look like. So what if it ends up uneven? It’s all done for the TV screen, not the paper.

Without any indication of ‘cuts’ and transitions, it’s hard to tell when he wanted to cut and when it’s all one scene. As it looks now, they all look like cuts. And I don’t think they’re supposed to be.

For actual production boards, you have to show pans and truck-ins/outs. So if you are doing a storyboard for your portfolio…to get work…add some camera movement indications when appropriate.


Page 2.

This is an area where he could do some cutting since Aidan has indicated he wished the board was a little shorter. To trim it down, I would use the last panel on page one (guard at monitors) and combine it with the second panel on page 2 (guard still at monitors and legs walk past).

Then I’d get right to the close up of the guard and him getting whacked in the head. Four scenes (and seven panels) gone.

And that pretty much takes care of page 3.


Page 4.

Even though he has added a little arrow in the second panel, I’d prefer to see that as one complete diagonal pan in one drawing. Again, that’s how it should be done for a real production board.

Don’t *not* do it to keep the panels pretty. (Have I said that enough yet?)

The composition of the character has just a wee too much space above his head for this whole scene. I’d shift the frame down a smidgen.

Page 5.

I did suggest to make the second panel part of the previous scene, but he chose not to. Again, that’s fine. But the second panel still doesn’t hook up to the first (or really the third for that matter).

So I stand by my first recommendation.


Page 6.

He added the character taking the suitcase out of the bucket, so yay for that. In the first panel, I just would have had the character bent over a bit like he was about to reach in. Now it looks like the suitcase came up out of the bucket to his hand in a way. (Yeah, yeah, I’m being picky here. Sue me.)

The fifth panel should at least have an arrow indicating him entering that scene.

Yay for little icons on the keypad!

Page 7.

For hook-up reasons, the fourth panel should have an arrow (and ideally “IN”) to show the jar enters the scene.


Page 8.

I had originally wanted the second panel to be the first one (with that “IN” arrow again). Then the first, third and fourth would all be one scene. It’s not “wrong” this way, I just think it would flow better.

Page 9 and 10.

I’m digging the laser beams. It gives another obstacle for him that wasn’t there before.


Page 11.

Well, that whole ballet thing is…uh…interesting.

Yeah, that’s it. “Interesting”. *cheeky smile*


Page 12.

I still feel that last panel is begging for some dialogue. But that’s just me.

So there you go.

I hope it was worth the wait. (Somehow I think it wasn’t…but what the heck.)

When it’s all said and done, it’s still the artist’s choice. At least for a portfolio piece.

If this was in a studio, I’d have Aidan’s hide for not listening to me, I tells ya!!

But it’s all good. I can only offer my opinions and whatever you choose to do, so be it. And just to be clear, in a normal Mini Critique you wouldn’t get the revision feedback.

This is just a bonus for Aidan (and you) because he’s been such a good sport. For the ripping apart his work stuff and for all the waiting stuff (oy, the waiting!).

Thanks again to Aidan for letting us watch his process and share his fabulous drawings with us!

You rock.


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Page 12.

I still feel that last panel is begging for some dialogue. But that’s just me.

5 thoughts on “One Artist’s Process: The Revisions. For Real This Time

  1. Aidan Casserly

    Kids, read this carefully: IT’S WORTH IT. By that I mean getting Karen’s advice, not marrying her, getting the house and 2.5 children and a busted down Honda in the garage, because take it from me it aint worth it that much!

    [Editor’s note: Karen and Aidan have never actually met before, so all their banter here is just keeping it fun and loosey-goosey. Remember to be professional in a studio environment.]

    …when did we get an editor?

    But seriously, there’s a lot of good stuff that Karen has listed here that I hadn’t thought of, the main thing being that I was restricting myself to tiny panels for sake of a clean portfolio lay-out. That’s going to have to change. There are also instances when I took it as a given that the reader would understand that the camera was moving (i.e. panels 1-3 on page 1), but instead might be confusing. As Karen taught us, these things are really a guide for what the animators and artists will be referring to, so don’t assume that they’re all on the same mental wavelength as you are (or clairvoyant, thank Christ, because animators are a sickly breed and you don’t want their telepathic fingers digging into your mind!).

    While Karen is right that if she was my boss (…more so) I would have to change these things with a tiny chance of defending my choices (depending on the situation/director/studio/deadline), there are a couple of things I kept because, even after I changed it to match her suggestion, felt a bit off. I’ll probably point out some examples of that in my own blog, or I’ll come back and post something here if I feel like fighting Karen.

    [Editor’s note: don’t ever fight Karen, unless you tire of having all ten fingers.]

    Get rid of that damned editor!

    [Editor’s note: go to hell!]

    There is one final issue for this board that I’ve been working on (other than adding the little arrows and directions, THANK YOU MADAME LLOYD). The ‘stool sample’ joke is not really appropriate for a lot of studio productions, and I’ve been thinking of another alternative (read my blog for the full rant). I’ll open the floor to you loyal boarders for suggestions.

    All in all, this has been a great experience, and I open you all to give Karen’s services a try, or, even better, have her critique your boards out here in the Wild Open Internet. It’s worth it.

    …and if no one rises to the challenge, I’ll come back in a month or so with another board (and the money, Karen, and the money.)

    [Editor’s note: No, he won’t. He’s going back to his graveyard shift at the KFC drive-in. ]


  2. Karen J Lloyd Post author

    @ Aidan – I love it when comments are as long as my post!

    Thanks man. Awfully nice of you. And propose all you want…the answer is still “no”.

    (Yes folks, we have never met. Heck, we’ve barely even emailed before this. I guess weird likes weird.)

    In short, you’ve very welcome and I’m glad I’ve given you some stuff to work on and think about. Yay!

    If you’ve serious about another critique, don’t forget about the price increase on Oct. 12th! (plug, plug)

    So stay in touch and stay nuts. And you might want to check into that little split personality thing you’ve got going on there… 😉



    Thanks Karen and Aidan.
    I have one question. You asked Aidan to remove blank space in one frame. And read somewhere that we should cut the head from top of the frame and should keep space below the chin when framing someone’s face. Why so ?
    Please enlighten me on that.

  4. Karen J Lloyd Post author

    Hey Kasana,

    It’s really just a compositional thing. Too much space above the head is kind of ‘dead space’ that isn’t being used in the best way. Why not have more of his body in the frame? There’s nothing interesting in a bunch of blank space above a character, so use it up.

    People seem to try to always center the *head* in a close-up when they really should be centering the *face*. The face only takes up the bottom HALF of the head. And there’s usually nothing too interesting about tops of heads. (There are always exceptions…like if they had something in their hair or a weird hat we had to see.)

    Does that make sense? 🙂



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