The following rough storyboards of “The Pirates of Dark Water” are good examples of cinematic comics, or comics in motion, without captions and few dialogues. For those artists who want to become cinematic comics artists, they should just ignore the truck-in, truck-out, horizontal, vertical, tilt and arching field pans and just consider these as ordinary, horizontal, vertical, diagonal and curve comics PANELS. Most often cinematic comics don’t have captions but their stories can be understood by just looking at the drawings even without reading the dialogues.
And for those who want to become storyboard artists, take note of the directional arrows and the cinematic symbols and terms I used in the storyboards which are obviously self explanatory. If a number of artists still cannot figure out some aspects of the boards, the answers can be found in the previous chapters of this blog. Or probably, if they climb Mt. Everest, they might find the answers up there, hihihi.
Remember, in animation and live-action films, the backgrounds, the actions, and acting of the characters, and the motions of other things are viewed through the computer screen or camera. There are only minor differences between these two in storyboard. For example, 2D or 3D animation uses BG pan, whereas live-action which incorporates 3D animation uses BG and camera pans. The resulting effects of BG and camera pans are the same on the screen. Unlike in live-action film, the storyboard artist is the key actor in 2D or 3D animation film, his actions and acting are shown in his drawings on the board. This makes doing storyboards much more difficult in animation. But live-action pays more because of its higher production budget.
Storyboard is LESS on how the artist draws beautiful drawings on the board but MORE on how he moves the camera or how he moves the BG and characters on one side along a chosen imaginary line and direction in order to tell a VISUAL STORY. That is, storyboard is more TECHNICAL than ARTISTIC. But if the artist can combine these two, then he becomes a CINEMATIC VISUAL STORYTELLER, otherwise he’s just an ordinary illustrator. Sadly, because of too much specialization, very few artists are given the chance to become cinematic visual storytellers.
Ideally, aside from early development production, rough storyboards are done very fast by the storyboard artists, and their storyboards serve as guides for the whole production crew that includes the film and timing directors, art directors, production artists, character designers, animation artists, background layout artists, background painters, cameramen, actors and voice actors, etc. That is, the production crew waits for the storyboards before the film production can start. The storyboard artists are like the architects who design the architectural plans of a huge and complicated building before it can be built by engineers, building contractors and their construction crews.
Comics are NOT all about written words, generally they are mainly VISUALS. So, comics stories should be conveyed in cinematic sequences of drawings with fewer captions. And cinematic comics, in some cases, don’t need writers. That is, the roles of the writers in cinematic comics, occasionally, become irrelevant or secondary only to the artists. And the creative visual storytelling of many artists, in a number of situations, are beyond the imaginations of many writers. However, there are times in comics where captions are necessary, but excessive captions and dialogues that are used by some writers apparently imply that they are just facades or covers to hide their deficiencies and inabilities to tell stories visually.
If cinematic comics are the trend right now, maybe someday the comics writers might become partly extinct like the dinosaurs, hahaha. Traditional comics artists also could be left behind if they don’t adapt to the trend. But some storyboard artists might really hate me for revealing their trade secrets to everyone because it would mean more competitors and competition for them.
The point I want to emphasize here is for the artists to create their own cinematic visual stories; and if it is possible, to divorce themselves from the writers. Artists must believe in their own abilities that they are capable cinematic visual storytellers and must also assert that they are primarily the mediums of this present VISUAL COMMUNICATING GENERATION.
By the way, the rough storyboards of THE PIRATES OF DARK WATER are just a very small portion of my 75,000 storyboard artwork pages, more or less, which I have done in a span covering more than two decades of storyboard work. These storyboards and the principles I have discussed in this blog are useful for those who want to become cinematic comics or storyboard artists.