Today I want to talk a little more about clarity in staging, particularly in storyboarding. The example I have dug up is a little more subtle than some of my previous examples.
This is a storyboard sequence I did for "Mulan". It's the scene where Mulan enters camp for the first time and Mushu is coaching her "man-walk". It’s an okay drawing. The line work is simple, the pose is good and the drawing itself isn’t overly cluttered; however, the point of interest is unclear. I conflicted the point of interest by putting too many lines around Mulan. It is poorly staged.
So I drew it again. Something you’ll have to learn, it’s not uncommon to have to draw something 3 or 4 times (or more) to really get it right.
There, she’s out in the open. You can see her clearly and better appreciate her pose and her expression. Yes, she has to cross over that line, but I didn't want any important action to happen there.
Here is the following drawing as she enters the gate:
Notice what I did as she crossed in front of the gate? When she is outside the gate, I shaded in her armor slightly. It gave her a better, clearer silhouette. But not as she passed in front of the gate, I knew if I kept her shaded in she would get lost against the background. (Now in the final film, the art director would have to make sure that the color and value of her armor would have to contrast well with both the gate and the area behind it. Glad it wasn’t my problem.
The second lesson to be learned here is how to critique your own drawings. Don't be satisfied with good enough. Good enough is just not good enough.