Friday, October 16, 2009


I was fortunate enough, a few months back, to have a chance to work on Thurop Van Orman's Flapjack doing storyboard clean-up and revisions for them. It was the first gig I got off of doing a story-test, so the show holds a a special place in my heart. I'm so thankful Thurop gave me an opportunity to work for him, he's an awesome guy with the heart of a whale and the beard of a man whale. One of the first episodes I was given to clean-up was, last nights premier, 'WILLY'.  The episode was quite ambitious, a lot of action, a lot of singing, and... a lot of crowds.

Below; Original rough board and cleaned-up crowd/Willy

Below; Another cleaned-up crowd

Below; I think this is one of the first crowd shots I cleaned up. And it was great because I learnt how to draw every character in the entire Flapjack universe ever. I made photocopies of the colossal crowd at certain points along the way to track the progress,

EDIT; I realized the big crowd shot below wasn't actually from the episode 'Willy!', but a different episode I had been given to clean up.
Original rough board;

Small crowd;


One of the great things about working clean-up on the show was forcing myself to draw in a new style. The shapes and proportions of the characters are really wacky, fun and exaggerated, they contain a lot of stylistic properties I'd never really explored. I think we all have certain formulas we instinctively stick to, whether we are aware of it or not, and working on Flapjack was a great way to push myself into new design territories. Thaddeus Couldron is the current character designer on the show, he's an incredible artist.

Medium crowd;

Colossal crowd;


I'm not sure if this shot made it into the final episode? I don't have a tv, so didn't have a chance to catch the episode. They probably would've blown their entire budget on this one shot.

I also got my first TV screen credit

I did Manny and Khan before working on Flapjack, which would have technically made that my first screen credit, but who the heck knows when that things ever gonna air...


Ian Andersen said...

That final crowd looks great, hopefully this made it into the final cut. The next time I catch an episode I'll probably just be watching for the background people of Stormalong Harbor now.

ZenQued [MasterK] said...

So storyboard cleanups are TV's version of layouts?

Josh 'Hat' Lieberman said...

Yes and no.
In general, TV boards themselves act as layouts for the overseas studios (especially for prime time toons). For the most part overseas studios will just blow up storyboards and animate right of of those.
It varies from production to production however the extent of how literally the overseas studios will take the information in the boards.
In this case, it was more clarifying crowds of 'blobs' into specific characters, so that the overseas studio knew what models to use (hence all those numbers assigned to each character). They probably re-drew all the crowd characters more on model before they started animating.

Brad Lindsay said...

Hey Hat, Just saw this episode on TV the other day - the crowd shot looks great! It's definitely one of the better animated shows on the Cartoon Network roster. Congrats on a the screen credit too!

Emily said...

Congrats Josh! That's awesome! I'm digging your screen cred too...

Thurop asked me to do a story test a few weeks back..I didn't get the gig, but you're right, Thurop has "the heart of a whale."

Look forward to hearing about your next adventures.