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>Mark Walton Recap

>Our second guest this term was Mark Walton, a long time story artist at Disney who recently moved over to Dreamworks Animation. Mark had a lot of really great information to share with us regarding storyboarding. So if you missed the meeting, here are some of the things he shared.

Mark expressed that being a great story artist takes a lot of pencil mileage. He says by doing a lot of drawing you learn to create a sort of ‘short hand’ where you learn to use the shortest amount of strokes to get your idea across.


In terms of writing dialogue when creating storyboards, Mark says if you really know your characters, the scene almost writes itself. And an important thing to create are separate ‘voices’ for your characters (not in the literal sense). If your characters are different people, then they should talk different from each other rather than sound like the author/writer is talking for everyone.

The harder parts of storyboarding sometimes come when trying to create ideas. Mark says it’s sometimes easy to get burnt out when you’re redoing a scene for the 8th time. Some ways to help generate new ideas are to watch movies, look at photos, and do a lot of research. Think of 3-4 ways to approach a scene. Mixing things up allows the brain to see things in different ways.

We also asked about how ‘clean’ clean-ups have to be when fixing your boards. Mark says the cleanliness of your boards really depends on your director. Some directors want really tight boards that could be key frame animations, while others want really loose, gestural drawings. So for some people, the hardest part of storyboarding is not creating prefect drawings while for others the hardest part is creating very loose drawings. Mark suggest to try and learn to find the beauty in both.

Mark also mentioned the importance of watching a lot of movies (preferably good movies). He says to do film composition studies from them and see how the director uses the camera and camera movies to tell his story. Ask yourself what are they doing and how are they doing it? And then figure out why you like something.

We didn’t get a chance to ask Mark our final advice question, but he emphasized the need to know when you’re adding too much detail so it’s cluttering an idea. In everything you do whether it be boards or not, clarity is everything.

Mark judging the entries. He was even nice enough to give a crit!


After a hard decision, Mark picked Joshua’s drawing
for ‘monster’ to win ‘The Art of Bolt’


He wished everyone who entered could get a prize
so he drew all the other contestants a picture


Joshua Lee


Yuhki Demers


Dan Tickle

Angela Li


Angela Li

Elsa Chang
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