Story Sketch

"A story sketch is not geography—it is not continuity —and it is not a diagram. Nor does it merely illustrate the dialogue for the sequence. Those are all the common mistakes of the beginning story sketch man. The story sketch should show character, attitude, feelings, entertainment, expressions, type of action, as well as telling the story of what's happening. When you look at a board, it should reflect the feeling of the sequence so the viewer starts to pick up some excitement and stimulation."3

The story sketch is somewhat comparable to the New Yorker cartoon drawings of the thirties, when Harold Ross personally reviewed all the drawings submitted. He was critical of the staging, the characters. the whole idea; in fact, very little of the original work ever pleased him, and he was especially upset if he could not figure out where he as the viewer was supposed to be while observing this situation.4 Marc Davis used to give his art classes the assignment of trying to improve on the staging of a New Yorker cartoon. He knew it would be almost impossible to do, and very soon his students realized this, too.

A story sketch man at the studio was usually an artist who had a special interest in illustration, design, appearance, and character. His staging influenced the layouts that followed, his approach established a style for the picture, and his arrangement of the scenes and their storytelling value became a guide to the cutting and presentation of the ideas in their final form.

Whereas the stylist had been asked to make beautiful drawings in full color with no restrictions other than the creation of an exciting illustration, the story sketch man was faced with the problem of making everything work and fit together and match the situation on his storyboard. He tried to be flexible and keep an open mind, because he knew that in the story meeting his ideas would be only springboards to new and greater suggestions.

It was difficult for the story sketch man to maintain a feeling of detachment at these sessions, since he

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Disney Animation Sketches

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