Storyboard Art by Michael Borkowski: Turok, Venture Bros, Scooby, Ice Age

Wanna see some quality action/adventure storyboard art? Check out:
Storyboard art from animated Turok Son of Stone
by Michael Borkowski

Michael also has storyboards from The Venture Brothers, Scooby-Doo, and Ice Age 3.
Good stuff to look at if you're interested in drawing storyboards for action shows! It's all at:

Storyboard Video: How Many Poses?

One of the most commonly asked questions about storyboarding is "How many poses do I need to draw?" The answer usually depends on how important the action is in the telling of your story.

For example, let's say a character is tying a tie. If this action is just a little bit of business, not an important part of the story, you could probably do it in just two poses: in the first pose, the character has his hands on the knot -- and then in the second pose, the tie is tied.

But if you are storyboarding an instructional video about how to tie a tie, you may need a couple dozen poses. That's a pretty extreme example, but it gives you a good idea about how to think about how many poses you need to draw.

This is the first of three videos that look at how much to pose out an action. Since there are always a number of different things going on in any storyboard drawing, there are also many other topics covered: staging, silhouettes, using the cutaway shot to advance a gag or story point.

This scene stands out for me as one of the most fun sequences I've ever had the chance to draw... sometimes it's a lot of fun just to get silly. It's also the best example of using a great vocal performance to fuel the drawings; Amy Poehler was on fire when she recorded the track for this episode!

If you missed any of the previous posts, here are the links:

Super Sentai Art by Melody Cisinski

I don't know much about the artist (Because her web page is in French) but Melody Cisinski's artwork is so much fun to look at!
Much more wonderful artwork at:

New Storyboarding Video -- Staging for Movement/More on Backgrounds

After taking a little break to cleanse the palate, we're back with another storyboarding commentary video (Links to the all the videos are at bottom of this post).

The topic of today's video is staging for movement; it's critically important to plan ahead and leave just the right amount of room in your composition for your characters to act out the scene with the most impact.

Click on the full-screen button (at the bottom right
of the video
), to make the video nice and BIG!

In these storyboard panels, Bessie starts a series of actions that are going to escalate into a cute little comedy bit. The action starts out when Bessie and Portia are sitting next to each other on the bench. Bessie is so enthusiastic that she knocks Portia out of the way and start frantically putting together cosmetic kits.

Anytime there's a lot of movement in the scene, it's important to leave enough room for the action to really be visible.

Other topics in this video include the use of the "Same As" pose indication, more on background design, the "start pose," and one more example of "The Magic of the Cutaway."

If you missed any of the other posts, here are the links:

Hey Arnold Crew Photo Circa 2006

Hey Arnold - Gerald
The Hey Arnold crew gathered in Woodbridge Park for a group photo right after we got our crew jackets in late 1995 or early 1996.
Hey Arnold Crew PART 1
Standing: (L to R) Jay Lender, Scott Ninneman, Joe Purdy, Brad Carow, Dave Warden, Micah Wright, Jim Leber, [??], Clint Bond, Dave Lyman, Brian Mark

: (L to R) Jamie Mitchell, Suzanne Benton, Mike Lessa, Stephanie ‘Henning’ Robertson, Lora Lee, Antoinette Stella, Karen Shaffer
Hey Arnold Crew PART 2
Standing: (L to R) Dave Lyman, Brian Mark, Kurt Dumas, Doug Appleton, Stark Howell, Caesar Martinez, Teale Wang, Donna Smith, Sherm Cohen, Heather Adams, Kelly Crews, Steve Socki, [?], Catherine Simmonds, Derek Drymon

Crouching: (L to R) Antoinette Stella, Karen Shaffer, Kenji Notani, Hugh MacDonald, Joey Paul, Steve Lowtwait, George Chialtas, Robert Cseko, Vito Curcuru, Lisa Fuson, Dawn HersheyRyan Slater, Jim Lara, Tim Parsons

Front: Hey Arnold creator and Fearless Leader Craig Bartlett!
Hey Arnold Crew PART 3
Standing: (L to R) Derek Drymon, Rob Porter, Ted Seko, Bill Hutten, Dan Povenmire, Karin Stover, Mary Harrington, Jay-?, Larry Leichliter

Crouching: (L to R) Jim Lara, Tim Parsons, Miyuki Hoshikawa, Chris Robertson, Tuck Tucker, Chris Hink
CLICK pic below
for really HUGE high-resolution panorama

Hey Arnold Crew Photo 1996
Great show, great crew, great learning experience.

Hey Arnold
was the first show where I was able to really grow creatively, from Storyboard Revisionist to Director over the course of the first three seasons.
Many from this crew went on to SpongeBob SquarePants (Derek Drymon, Jay Lender, Dan Povenmire, myself, Brad Carow, Teale Wang, Frank Weiss, Clint Bond, Tuck Tucker, Ted Seko)

Spongebob SquarePants
…and Catdog (Rob Porter, Derek Drymon, George Chialtas)CatDog
Tricia Garcia spent the next 13 years directing on
King of the Hill, and Caesar Martinez was a designer there, too!
law_and_order_criminal_intent Antoinette Stella became a prime-time TV writer, Producer…most recently Supervising Producer of Law & Order Criminal Intent (one of my favorite shows).

Kurt Dumas, Dan Povenmire and Chris Robertson have had long runs on Family Guy, and of course Dan went on to become co-creator of Phineas & Ferb!

phineas-and-ferb Family Guy

Jamie Mitchell and Kelly James are working on Special Agent Oso for Disney special agent oso

Lately, Derek Drymon, Kelly Crews, Nick Jennings and Larry Leichliter have been making Adventure Time!

Adventure Time
And Hey Arnold creator Craig Bartlett has been making Dinosaur Train with Joe Purdy for Henson/PBS!

DinosaurTrain Logo dinosaur-train dinosaurs characters
     …That’s a lotta talent!
I’m sure I’ve left out a lot, so please remind me in the comments!

Giant SpongeBob Wall Painting

Here's a 12-foot tall wall painting I designed for Nickelodeon Studios back in 2005

This is the original Inked art (I didn't work in color back then)
Here’s an earlier version
which was considered too busy:
SpongeBob Mural not final art Sherm Cohen …I guess it WAS a little too busy.
...and here's Sherm proudly mugging for the camera!
More storyboarding tutorials coming soon!


Cartoonists Survey - Sherm's Answers!

There's a really cool website called David-Wasting-Paper where he sends a survey of questions to various cartoonists, and then posts all the responses. Recently I had a chance to participate, too:

Questions range from "What is your favorite pen to use?" and "Are there any rituals that you do before starting to draw?" to descriptions of artists' working area and career advice to people who want to do cartooning for a living.

There are over 120 of these cartoonists' questionaires, featuring tons of great cartoonists like Bob CampBill Griffith, Derf, Dan Piraro, Rick Geary, Bob Flynn, and Drew Friedman...and those are just some of the ones that I like ^_^

It's fun to note the similarities and differences among the different cartoonists, who are all being asked the same questions. Sometimes David will consolidate the answers to certain questions in a way that lets you see all the different ways the questions were answered.

I enjoyed answering these questions because it gave me a chance to thing back on some things I've been too busy to think about. It's a neat world that us cartoonists get to live and work and play in.

Sherm's Cartooning Survey is posted here:

..and the doodles on this page are completely random and have nothing to do with anything. But I wanted to put  'em on the blog, so here they are ^_^

Don't miss these other recent blab-fests with Sherm:

Man Vs Art Podcast:
Me and Raul Yakkin’ about Storyboarding,
Cartoons, and Comics
The Idiot Engine podcast:
"How do you breath Life
into your artwork?"

Amazing Artistry and Ideas: What Motivates Us

"Drive" from RSA Animate is an stunning combination of amazingly skilled whiteboard drawing synchronized with a fascinating talk about what motivates us to do our best in life. Magical, inspiring and hypnotic - The ideas and info in this whiteboard animation are as cool as the drawing execution and artistry.

Click on the full-screen button (at the bottom right
of the video player
), to make the movie nice and BIG!
The artist describes this as "Scribing" Whatever you call it, it's also some of the best cartooning I've ever seen.

The artist is part of a firm called Cognitive Media . They certainly downplay the identity of the individual artist because I've been searching for a while and I sure can't find it!

Anyway, if you're as blown away as I am by this drawing/presentation/animation technique, there's links to their other videos and lots more cool stuff at the Cognitive Media website:

This viewer-friendly visualization of concepts and ideas also brings to mind the sketch notes of artist Mike Rohde:

Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.

Storyboarding: the Three-Shot

Today the topic is the three shot -- a composition that not only includes three people, but deals with the relationships between them

Click on the full-screen button (at the bottom right
of the video player
), to make the movie nice and BIG!

The general guideline for when to cut is that you always want to be looking at whatever is the most important thing to the story at any given time. At this point, the dramatic relationship on the screen is specifically between three people: Portia, Mary-Frances, and Bessie.

Other topics in this video include acting, corresponding pairs of camera angles, scene descriptions, contrast as a storytelling tool, and "The Magic of the Cutaway."
Mighty-B Storyboard Bessie glove

Questions or comments?

I'd love to continue the conversation in the comments section below!