Tuesday Tips - Floating Hands

I use this a lot when storyboarding a first pass of a sequence. Placing hands in the right, most appealing position can be tricky. In order to create a clear silhouette for the hands, I often draw them “floating in the air”. Then, using my general knowledge of anatomy, I just “fill in the arms”. This way I can create a much more expressive and clear pose than if I was just radiating out of the torso. That’s when structure and anatomy can get in the way of a clear message. And hands carry a lot of meaning, so I want to make them as clear as possible  for my audience to see them.
I would say the same applies to life drawing. Since they often don’t carry the body weight (legs most often do), I feel like i can take the freedom of changing their position slightly to make a better visual statement.

Griz & Norm - Tuesday Tips // (WIP G&N Master Post)

Hey guys,

If you haven’t seen or heard about these guys and their blog yet you should totally fix that and head on over to The Art of Griz & Norm!

Not only is the art pretty ace they’re both professional working artists.  Griz, (short for Griselda Sastrawinata-Lemay) is a visual development artist for Dream works Animation and Norm (Normand Lemay) does storyboarding for Disney Feature Animation

My favorite portion of what they put out - and the relevance of this post within art reference and development - is this weekly bit they do called: Griz & Norm Tuesday Tips - every Tuesday they dish out really nice little ‘how-tos’ and reference pieces that cover everything from anatomical reference to important 'need to knows’ straight from the industry, (i.e. how to create dynamic composition, shorthand character design, drawing scenes with a cinematic mindset, etc .. )


“Tuesday Tips - LINE OF ACTION

The line of action doesn’t necessarily need to be drawn in. As long as you think about it while drawing, your gesture or posing will be stronger. It gives a direction to the pose, a force that runs though, or simply a visual pathways to guide your audience. Use it always!

- Norm”

[All image(s) and related text property and © of Normand Lemay - 2014 // original source is Art of Griz & Norm @ Tumblr]

'Tuesday Tips’ Intro List  

This is just a quick start list - there’s about two or three times more already up on their blog than what i’ve listed and linked here so be sure to head on over there and enjoy the entirety of their collection, and always be sure to check back because like I said they update every week!

( *** - personal favorite(s) )

  • Tangents - (x)
  • Basic Head Construction - (x)
  • Asymmetry in Facial Expressions - (x)
  • Gesture Drawing (as a story artist) - (x) ***
  • Character Design - (x)
  • Basic Storyboarding Rules - (x)
  • Silhouette - (x)
  • More Acting, Less Anatomy - (x) *** 
  • Hands - (x)
  • Feet - (x)
  • No Straight Lines - (x)
  • Beat Boards/Storyboards (what’s the difference?) - (x) 
  • Push it! - (x) ***

Hope you guys enjoy these super folks and their work as much as I do - good luck and keep drawing!


[I DO NOT OWN ANY OF THE ABOVE MEDIA OR LINKED MEDIA - All Image(s) and related text, linked images & pages, Tuesday Tips and GrizandNorm related articles property and © of Griselda Sastrawinata-Lemay and Normand Lemay - questions relation to images and above property should be redirected to Griz&Norm original blog/Griselda Sastrawinata-Lemay and Normand Lemay - suspicion of illicit reproduction or fraudulent claim of ownership other than that of the original source should be brought to attention of tumblr staff or related authorities.] 

Tuesday Tips - “Pick A Side”

To create appeal and clarity in your figure drawing (or any character drawing), try to simplify an overall side of the body and to keep the details (limbs sticking out, face profile, body compression) to the other side. Your posing will becoming much more dynamic and interesting to look at, creating an organic asymmetry to the overall silhouette of the body.

Tuesday Tips SUPER WEEK - Push it!

Clarity is probably the most important thing to think about at all time when boarding. Pushing your poses to an undeniable level of clarity will improve the clarity of the storytelling in general. Don’t leave space for uncertainty in posing out your characters. Your audience will be more engaged and entertained by the sequence.

This is the last post for the Super Week. I hope you enjoyed it. Back on the regular schedule next week (Every Tuesday).


Tuesday Tips - Gesture Drawing

As a story artist, I feel like one of the most important technical skill to develop is the ability to draw things things clearly and fast. Practicing gesture drawing is, in my opinion, a good way to get better at it. I think it’s fun, too! Of course, you can draw from life and find unique things people and animals do, but I also think practicing gesture drawing from imagination is truly helpful. For instance, I usually do some gesture drawings of characters I’m about to work with in a sequence. It helps me find a short-hand to start building from. The simpler, the better. Especially early on a project, it really helps to find a quick way to draw a character over and over without repeating yourself all the time.

I remember Life Drawing teachers telling me to “draw from within” and to “feel the weight”. It’s absolutely true, but in terms of storyboarding, other elements came to be as important to the process. Silhouette and a sense of “cartooning” is tremendously helpful to communicate certain things clearly to an audience.

I’m only focusing on character posing right now (and this is just an introduction to the subject). Gesture drawing is very close to thumb-nailing, another ultra-helpful skill. More on that later.

For those who want to spend some money on great books on the subject, I highly recommend you to pick up “Drawn To Life: 20 Golden Years of Master Classes of Disney Master Classes” (Vol. 1 and 2) , from Walt Stanchfield. Do it.


Tuesday Tips SUPER WEEK - Hands

This is the first post about hands. Other posts about hands in the future will cover “hands in relationship to the body”, “different characters, different hands”, “expressive hands” and “hands touching things”. If you have suggestions for Tuesday Tips, write me a personal message.


Tuesday Tips - The Face Profile

Something I use all the time when I storyboard. The profile is simple, direct, and conveys a lot of information about a character. A great deal of facial features are easier to define in a profile, such as the nose and mouth shapes. Use it to your advantage! It’s really useful when thumbnailing or doing gesture drawing.


Tuesday Tips - Clothing

As always, simple is best. Clothing and fabric can be wonderful to explore in an illustration or detailed sketch, but it tends to get tiresome to overdo it in storyboarding.

*special mention to Jeff Ranjo for his amazing quote!

If you have questions or requests, message us. We might just address those in future Tuesday Tips!


Tuesday Tips - STRAIGHT against CURVES

This principle really helps to create shapes and characters with “points of interest”. The straights move the eye towards the areas of curves, bumps and details. I mostly focused on the silhouettes of the shapes/characters, but the same principles should also be applied to shapes and volumes inside the main shape/volume.


Tuesday Tips SUPER WEEK - Feet

I don’t often have to draw bare feet, unless I’m doing Life Drawing. When storyboarding, the focus is generally not on the feet. They also are usually covered (shoes, socks), or just not shown on screen that much. Nonetheless, it’s important to understand their functionality and general appeal. Keep details to a minimum, unless the character uses its bare feet to grasp things or do things with them most humans don’t. The best example of pushing feet to an extreme degree of functionality would be Disney’s Tarzan (one of my all time favorite). Other than that, don’t draw too much attention to them, but find appeal in its shapes.


Tuesday Tips - EARS

In storyboards, I often don’t put too much thinking into drawing ears. I mostly draw them as shapes. The only time I really need to know the ins and outs of ear anatomy is when I draw an over-the-shoulder shot. I never wanna draw attention to it, but a poorly drawn ear WILL stick out. Other than that, you can only simplify something adequately if you know it well. Maybe I’ll do another posts later on “cartooning” ears or modifying ears.

Message me if you have requests.


Here’s a way to identify and use whatever is at your disposal when drawing a clothed figure. Think of the volumes and angles you’re drawing and use whatever defines them to “hide” the construction lines you might be tempted to use. This way, your sketches will look more organic and less academic. Good tip for cafe sketching.

Tuesday Tips - EYES!

Eyes are what convey most of someone’s expression. Body language is important, but “eyes don’t lie”. There’s a reason why someone who’s lying will generally try to avoid eye contact. We are biologically set-up to “read” someone’s inner feelings by looking at their eyes.

In storyboarding, if I’m in a real hurry to make a sequence “read” better, I will try to hit the eyes and facial expression as best as I can before anything else, especially if it’s an emotional scene.

Have a great Tuesday, everyone!


Tuesday Tips SUPER WEEK - More Acting Less Anatomy

I’ve received a few message asking me how to draw simple generic characters (male, female) for story boarding, and what to do when there’s no character design. I will go over all that stuff, but I need to emphasize something first. I used to be obsessed with muscles and specific anatomy when I was drawing anything. Thanks to 90s superhero comic books and raging hormones, it kept me from embracing the storytelling aspect of sketching. Even later on in art school, I would spend WAY took much time on getting that perfect line quality. Animation Storyboarding squashed most of those inclinations out of me, and that’s good. I need to confess that I almost caved in and “cleaned up” the drawings on this page. This is how I draw when do a “first pass” or just trying to find ideas. That way, I don’t lose the energy or feel of my first instinct when approaching a sequence. Here’s something you’ll hear many times if you hang around story people: “It’s not about pretty drawings.” I agree and disagree to a certain extent, but the sentiment is right. It’s about telling a story and not letting other things (like lines, musculature, clothing, etc.) get in the way of doing so clearly.

Once again, message me if you have requests for the next installments.


Tuesday Tips - Power Shading

Here’s a technique I use often when attending life drawing sessions, especially nude sessions. I feel like it gives an energy and direction as well as clear volume to the figure. The more i know about underlying muscles, bones and general body structure, the more I can express through this technique. It’s kind of like a classic brush work when dealing with ink. It’s just more forgiving when using a Conte stick, by varying the angle and pressure of it.

Try it out!