Thursday, June 22, 2006

Equal Time for The Big Guy

I know how many Milt-o-philes are out there and there's lots more Milt to come. But this is a storyboard site first and foremost so....let's take a break from Milt with some equal time for our patron saint...I mean Bill Peet.

These are from the collection of Andreas Dejas (who did not give them to me). He generously shared them with the recent storyboard trainees here at Disney, who generously shared them with me. They're from a legal pad that Bill used to thumbnail some ideas for "Sword in the Stone". If you look in Peet's Autobiography there is a drawing of himself working like this on a legal pad while vacationing with his family. As far as I know he worked this way a lot. He often spoke in interviews about "filling legal pads with ideas".




Now some people may be tempted to compare Bill's thumbnails with Milt's and decree that Bill doesn't compare to Milt...well, I disagree with you. It's apples and oranges - both were filling different functions.

Nevertheless, I have known many people who determined that "Bill couldn't draw very well". I vehemently disagree. Go look at Bill's boards for "Dumbo" in the "Paper Dreams" book. Bill's sketches are amazing for that stuff. He put a lot into them - tons of textures, lots of suggested lighting, etc. But as the years went by, he drew less and less in his sketches. Becasue any story artist has to crank out tons and tons of sketches, and drawings keep getting cut out of the reel and replaced and rethought. Why put all the extra drawing and detail in there? No story artist has time for all that, and no story artist would stay sane for long if they put all of that into every sketch only to see it replaced endlessly with another idea. So Bill only puts what he needs to put in there to put the idea over. When he needed to draw a lot of stuff to put over an idea, he put it in. When he didn't need to, he didn't. This, to me, is great drawing. A great story sketch communicates what it needs to and no more. This may sound crazy but any board artist who has done this long enough realizes that communicating more than you need to creates confusion.

Also bear in mind the very different purpose of Bill's thumbnails and Milt's thumbnails. Bill is staring at the blank page - trying to figure out a sequence from scratch with nothing to go from. Trying to find a shape to the thing and order the events in the right way. So he's tackling the overall form of a big chunk of film. By the time Milt is thumbnailing, he knows exactly what the scene is about and what it needs to communicate. Milt's work, by definition, is much more focused on detail and subtleties.




Click to see bigger.

It is worth pointing out that everything I scan here has been given to me by fellow artists, not the Disney Company. The copies of artwork I recieve from the company come stamped "do not share or duplicate" and I will not break that agreement. But I still have tons of stuff to share legally!

16 comments:

Ali said...

I love that Bill Peet drew thumbnails on lined paper. I always thumnail on lined or squared paper.

Marmax said...

Really fun and clear work. Bill Peet's style is just full of appeal!

SMacLeod said...

funny, I just posted some Peet stuff too. In addition to the autobiography they checked out for us to read, I got my own copy of it from a friend before I got here. I'm glad his influence is still so prevalent and his artwork appreciated. genius.

Steve said...

I wonder who would say that Bill couldn't draw that good, the simplicity with which he translates his information is so stunning... and the appeal.. fugetaboutit =]

I just received the Art of Cars book today, beautiful book full of awesome boards, and there is a wonderful sketch Bill did for Susie the little blue coupe...

very inspirational stuff...

I'm also glad to see somebody using the lined paper, I find it's alot less intimidating to draw on lined paper, plus it's cheaper than a sketch book, you've already got lines set up to do turn-arounds for characters, and you can write ideas in it as well.

Notebooks make the best sketchbooks in my opinion

mark kennedy said...

I always thumbnail stuff on these blank 8 1/2 x 11 pads they have at work. I neber thought about lined paper...I guess becasue many times my thumbnails become the boards becasue I run out of time to draw them bigger and nicer so they just get cut into the reels. But the lined paper thing is nice, you guys are right. I never thought about the turnaround thing!

Steve said...

Mark, will you ever be able to post any of your boards from Chicken Little, your stuff is great in that book.

That is a pretty good book full of cool stuff, I really dig your boards and the color key stuff rocks...

mark kennedy said...

Steve - I was so close once to posting a bunch of my Cl stuff...but I never did. I think I have better stuff in my "reject" pile than was printed in the book...but I'm still not that happy with any of it. The stuff I'm doing now is so much better...but I can't post it because the movie hasn't come out yet, obviously.

I dunno, maybe someday.

Steve said...

It would be so awesome to see some of your boards, I think the ones in the book are solid and I get alot out of looking at them...

I think that would be another great addition to all the cool stuff you already post =]

cdeboda said...

Found your blog, and just wanted to say that I'm enjoying going over your previous posts. You can bet i'll be back for more.

OV! said...

AWESOME, thanks for posting those.

>oVi

edhead said...

the peet and kahl stuff is equally wonderful to see - thanks a lot for sharing Mark!

Matt J said...

SUPERB to see this stuff - it really gives insight into how these great old legends were thinking & working. This has gotta be candidate for most interesting animation blog.

spock foolish said...

Peet's sketches show how much a good story artist's work can deeply influence the design and animation of the finished film. These thumbnails are absolutely beautiful. Very inspiring!

pbcbstudios said...

Hey Kennedeeznuts, have you ever looked at Peet's handprints over at the Disney Legends Plaza? Other than Kimball's it's very different than how everyone else did it and say's a lot about him. He's definitely cut from a different cloth and deserves more spotlight.

mark kennedy said...

briggsyboo, I have looked at them a few times but not noticed that they are that different. I have often comtemplated taking a picture of them to post here. What's different about them?

Jenny said...

Yay!
Looking at these makes one just plain feel good, n'est pas?

...how come trainees always get the best stuff, btw? lol