I've been wanting to post and talk about Disney artist Vance Gerry for a long time. This isn't what I had in mind for my first post about him....I keep typing up tributes to him and that post keeps growing and growing. Plus I want to scan some of his rare artwork to accompany that post. But tonight I'm at a loss for what to post so this will have to do.
Vance was the greatest story artist I ever knew personally. He was the best. His involvement in the studio was minimized by the previous administration at Disney and that was really criminal. Ever since the nice people at Pixar have taken over management at the Disney Studio I think every day about how much I wish Vance had lived long enough to see what the studio will be like now and I know he would have been a major creative force if he was still around. Anyway, someday I will post my giant tribute to Vance and you will hear more about him. I won't pretend I knew him all that well but I talked to him whenever I could. I wish I had made the time to go by his office and talk to him more often.
I cribbed this drawing from "The Illusion of Life". In it, Vance proves 3 immutable laws of storyboarding.
These laws are:
1. Sometimes the best way to sell a character's expression or attitude is to not show their face at all.
Seeing Penny's face would have made this drawing a lot LESS powerful. Yet people always think of the face when they think "expression". Expression is conveyed by the staging, the environment, and the character's whole body language. In other words, the whole story sketch. The face is usually the LEAST important part of the "expression".
2. The more tone or value (basically, the more black and grey) in a sketch, the more somber the scene feels.
3. You can't say "lonliness" or "isolation" better than putting the character small and alone in the middle of the frame with lots of empty space around them.
You don't have to take my word for it. Or Mr. Gerry's. But can you argue with Mr. Norman Rockwell?????