Welcome to 2 to 8 August 2015. We hope you enjoyed your stay.

So this week I drew lots of pictures. How many pictures? I lost count. Lots. Today’s images are from Scenes 1, 3, 8 and 10. Scenes 2 and 11 are also sketched out. The five scenes that are left are the most involved ones.

As you can see, the thumbnailing looks more like borderless comics than traditional storyboards. The action and staging is there but I’m not concentrating so much on how to place things in the frame at this point. Either I’ve got something in mind already and the thumbnail is just a visual note to remind me, or I can pin something down when I hit the 3D crappymatic stage.

The last time I did this back in March, everything was on paper. This time I’m drawing it in Krita and it’s working out much better – no scanning anything in and fixing levels; rearranging things on the page is easier because each panel is on its own layer; if I’m having trouble with a pose, I can blue-line it on another layer until it works. Much advantageous! Not to say I don’t sketch ideas on paper too, but I’m re-drawing them all digitally.

Also I’m learning to do some warm up before i start drawing instead of going in cold and getting frustrated.

Other things I did this week included figuring out how to make Gronky’s mouth look the way it does in the thumbnails. The curve-based lips just can’t pull the kinds of awesome faces I’m roughing out. Given that Gronky’s psychological character has changed since I built the original rig about a year ago, I think a revamp isn’t such a bad idea. 🙂

That’s all for now. See you next week with more story art.

A question for people with Tumblr accounts: Do you want me to just come out and tell you the story of the film or would you rather it be a surprise?


Let’s talk about 26 June to 1 August 2015, bay-bee.

First, the weekly progress reports will cover Sunday to Saturday from now on. I’ve been splitting my attention between getting the movie made and talking about making the movie on my designated Day Of Making Stuff, and it’s not working out so well. Time to change it up.

So, last Sunday pre-blogpost I wrote the outline – a bullet point series of events that tell the story – and over the course of the week I’ve been fleshing it out and fine-tuning it: writing more specific dialogue; narrowing story possibilities (“but why wouldn’t he.. ?” “because..”); looking for inconsistencies to do with characters and logic; looking for opportunities to be funny; and so on.

I’m using the “Comment” feature of Google Docs a lot when there’s some issue I’m not immediately sure how to fix. It means I don’t have to disrupt the actual outline text with notes – I can just highlight a passage of text and leave a note on the side. Useful! And when the note is dealt with, click “Resolve” and off it goes. Zoom!

The outline is now complete enough that I can start thumbnailing tomorrow. That’s a nice feeling. 🙂

I’ve also been back in Blender this week doing particle-driven look development. Among other things, I’m trying to find a look for when Gronky’s ears are hurting. Right now I’m liking these little white pulsating discs.

Finally, it was a year ago this last week (27 July 2014 to be precise) that Gronky got his current look. I guess that means he just celebrated his first birthday. 🙂

That’s all for now. See you again soon!


And so this is 20 to 26 July 2015.

I kept looking into old-school cartoon story development. I hit the jackpot at ASIFA Hollywood via the Wayback machine – back in 2008 they described the story dev workflow from premise to storyboard: gag session, continuity, structure and the rough board. That and John K’s posts about getting a story from premise to plan have been useful practical info and a big confidence boost. One interesting take-away: storyboards work best as separate small bits of paper.

I’ve now got everything I need to put together an outline. Actual usable story thumbnails have started appearing in my nightly sketching sessions. The chain reaction of inspiration is starting up again. Widescreen Post-it notes are at the ready.

This week’s image is a scene teaser of “A moment in the sun”. There’s one shot from each scene as specified in the outline. (After I drew this I realised it made Gronky look like more of a bastard than he actually is. Fear not. Gronky is not a bastard – he just doesn’t like the way the movie ends.)

Scene for scene, the high-level outline of A moment in the sun goes like this (slightly spoilery):

  1. Gronky regains consciousness…
  2. Gronky helps Pointy regain consciousness with great uncertainty and trepidation
  3. Pointy needs a place to shelter from the sun
  4. Gronky helps Pointy look for shelter unsuccessfully, also Pointy won’t shut up
  5. Gronky loses his cool and accidentally discovers how to shut Pointy up
  6. Gronky and Pointy dance together for their own separate reasons
  7. Free of Pointy’s noise, Gronky recalls something and sports Pointy to safety
  8. Safe at last, Pointy ruins everything
  9. Pointy’s mystical journey
  10. Gronky checks on Pointy
  11. Pointy ruins everything yet again

Anything more specific than that high level outline I’ll keep to myself – how Pointy continues to ruin everything or why anyone is even unconscious, for instance. 🙂

I’m spending the rest of today (Sunday) fleshing out the outline. Once I’m happy with it, I go to thumbnailing, recording scratch, making more animatics and seeing how it all fits together in (crude) motion.

See you again next week!


Welcome to 13 to 19 July 2015. There’s no image this week – I racked my brains for hours and couldn’t come up with anything. 🙂

I mentioned last week that the rough outline I had felt undercooked. I sussed out the problem early this week – I hadn’t done a dedicated gag pass. John Kricfalusi (creator of “Ren and Stimpy”) whose blog I can’t recommend highly enough mentions the gag session as part of his story development process. (Turns out I’m already doing something like it.) So this week I’ve been brainstorming funny stuff.

To find opportunities for gags, I’ve been working from the resolution to the end of the film (not too far), and from the resolution back through to the beginning of the film. Writing backwards means I know what I’m meant to be anticipating.

To write gags, I just find an opportune spot in the rough outline and brainstorm funny stuff that could happen off to one side. (Writing gags directly into the outline doesn’t work. There has to be a pool to pick from.) Good candidates are unexpected but expectable in the context of the story, the tone, the characters and the setting. Great candidates for gags are good gags which are also funny.

By now I know the characters and their situation well enough now that I know what gags will fit. I

know exactly how either character would react in a given situation, but I don’t think of them as fleshed-out characters with backstories – I don’t care what their favourite colour is or what they got for their eighth birthday. My only concern is what affects the story and there the emotional reaction is what counts.

I mean, what’s Daffy Duck’s favourite colour? Whatever the colour of the thing is that he’s trying to get his hands on. Of course.

Gronky doesn’t think the end of the movie is funny but that’s actually his job. Pointy doesn’t really notice the ending. That’s his job.

See you next week!