Here are all the questions and answers in today's AMA.___________________________>>3"What advice would you give someone looking to do what you do?"
Well, practice practice practice. Sequential art is a skill you need to develop. Animation studios are more interested in the contents of your portfolio than the schooling you've had.
I got my first job in storyboards as a cleanup artist, then in storyboard corrections on Arthur almost 20 years ago.…
Back to advice to be a storyboard artist: It's been 19 years since I started. For me, it was my work on corrections followed by bugging the director of Mega Babies to give me a shot at a storyboard that got me started. Others have a background in comics, which can make a good portfolio material to show animation studios. Just build a good portfolio and send it everywhere!>>8 Arthur, like the PBS show? How involved did you end up getting in Arthur?
On Arthur, I worked on corrections on the 3rd season of the show, then several years later was hired to work on one season 14 episode. Recently was offered a job on the next season of Arthur, but I delined because PONIES.>>11"I've been wondering just how much the storyboards reflect the final animated work. Do you have an influence on visual gags that pop up in the show, or are those decided on before/after your work is done?"
A lot of what I do is exactly what ends up animated. My roughs are submitted to the director, added gahgs and all, and during a thumbnail review with the director, we rework shots, and sometimes rework or add additional gags (that my drawings inspire). I then do clean up, and that's sent to the revision team in case the director changes his mind on stuff. But yeah, the story I tell is what you see on screen.>>12Welcome to Ponyville. Season 6, did you do anything for Pony before season 6, Equestria Girls, or any other DHX productions? Do you have a favorite previous season if you watched the show?
I've watched several episodes, mostly those required as research to do the boards on my shows, but I'm currently taking advantage of my DHX access to rewatch everything. My fave ep so far… you haven't seen yet. ;)>>13 ooo, does this mean you were a pony fan long before you became a storyboard artist, Kanthara?
I watched the old show when I was little. I did like the show and was super stoked when I was asked to work on the show!>>14 Can you give us a general idea about what you do during the course of a day and how you contribute to the show that we will enjoy?
During roughs, I read the script, go through designs, draw thumbnails of the story, think about the visuals, think about the story, listen to the voice track, draw more thumbnails, drink coffee, recheck my thumbs, laugh at some gags, scrap a few panels, draw draw draw.
During cleanup, I put on headphones and listen to audio books as I clean up all the art I roughed in the first two weeks.>>15 I was wondering about the possibility of wallpapers! Like, if you and/or other members of the pony creation team would be willing/able to create something more or less official though not necessarily from the show
Sorry! Can't do that. NDA and besides, my art is sketchy!>>16 Clarity asks: Do you focus on particular character(s) in what parts of an episode you storyboard, or do you do a whole episode?
Each episode is split between two artists. The director decides on how to split the episode; it can be halfway, or according to locations.>>22 it sounds like a lot of hard work, and a very long road. 19 years to get to be a storyboard artist for ponies! Clearly though, it was worth the journey? What could be better than ponies?
I LOVE working on Ponies, but I'd also love to work on shows like TMNT or superhero type hows.>>23 Welcome Kanthara, it's great to have you here! My question is, how has working on Friendship is Magic been compared to some of your other works? What are some of the more satisfying things that come from working on this show?
I love working on this show because it's something people know already, unlike most of the shows I've worked on (in their first season, so anything I mention about the show is unknown). I love that it has a great fanbase, and I love the show itself. So much fun!>>24If you could make one request of the FiM fandom, what would it be?
pfffff Be excellent to each other?>>26 How do different storyboard artists cooperate in the storyboarding process? Do different artists develop different scenes? Different characters? Different levels of detail?
It really depends. On my first board, I paired with Thalia Tomlinson, and we chatted with each other to figure out certain scenes. On the others, interaction was during the meetings.>>33What are you most excited for about Season 6?
I. Can't. Tell. You.
And it's killing me.>>68 On this point, I felt that storyboarding is an interesting stage in the development. Do you think it takes a certain kind of creativity to be able to take the basic components of the plot and characters and visualize it?
Being such an important tool to sort of "diagnose" any problems translating what is there vs. what needs to be there, could you maybe give a idea of how a storyboard artist prioritizes what needs to be shown and understood in the storyboard so that the animators and directors can work with the best material?
It definitely does take a special type of creativity to do sequential art, acting, staging, that really comes from more than training.
The thing is, at this point it's almost instinctive to me. However, I did make a video broadcast on visual storytelling, if you're interested.>>37 awww :c does this mean even the artists don't get free access to watch ponies?
No, it means we DO. I work for DHX and I have access to DHX's servers for episodes!>>38 If you could have dinner with any of the ponies, which one would you choose, and why would it be Rainbow Dash?
HAHAHAHAHAAHAH>>39 Is an horse an athlete?
If they want to be, sure>>41From what you've seen, have you found a character you can relate to?
I can't pick who I relate to more. I have a little something of all the ponies. Maybe some Twilight. Some Dash. Some Rarity. Some… you get the idea.>>43 Have you ever been attached to something that was changed or removed? What was it?
I worked on a comic for Mage Brands for their Dragons Universe line of toys. They killed it when I was almost done inking issue #2.>>44 Es tu Charlie?
Non, je suis Karine. Mais je comprends la référence.>>46Are most of the Season 6 episodes already completed?
I'm doing cleanup on the last couple of episodes. We're having the thumbnail review for the last ep on Friday. When I started, the last few eps of season 5 weren't finished yet.>>48 Who is your favorite character to draw (judging by fun expressions/poses/etc.)? And who is the easiest/quickest character to draw?
I have a hard time saying who my fave characters are to draw because telling you this gives you hints as to who's in the episodes that are coming up and I am not allowed to do that. Sorry!>>50 So you have some creative touches that you would talk about if you could? (understandable if that's the case) Which part do you enjoy the most when it comes to creative satisfaction and why? What do you want to do better?
I would talk about if I could, and once season 6 has aired I'll be happy to talk about them! But right now I'm not allowed.
I enjoy telling stories with pictures, and when the script is good, that means it inspires me to add to it, to place in fun gags in the background, to add stuff that the directors didn't even think about in the first place. My fave moments are when the directors laugh out loud when they look at my thumbnails. I love that I'm able to do that.>>51 Is the going to be anything pertaining to Queen Chrysalis in season 6?
Spoilers!>>52 They should get you to reboot the original Teen Titans! :D
I wish! That would be fun.>>53 Do you stand with Rand? Can you stump the Trump? Do you feel the Bern?
I'm Canadian. My Prime Minister is new and some say he's pretty hot.>>107What are your honest feelings on bronies, i wonder?
I have no issue with people liking stuff. What unsettles me is creepy and jerkish behaviour. Otherwise, enjoy what you like!>>57 That reminds me of something I was going to ask: How many storyboard drawings do you actually make for an episode of the show?
My half of each episode comes to between 500-620 individual drawings.>>58 When designing a story, how much freedom do you tend to have in regards to characterization and character personalities? Can you have characters behave however you feel works best with the story, or are there strict rules saying what particular characters do and don't do without specific justification? Or maybe there are planned character development directions that you are supposed to support as much as possible?
I follow the script that is given to me, I watch episodes to get a feel for the characters, and I play them as faithfully as I can to how they were presented in the past. I also match the acting to fit the voice track that I'm handed, as well.>>59 How long does it take to make a storyboard for an episode?
Half-boards are assigned over a period of 6 weeks. 2 weeks for the rough, then a couple of days before thumbnail reviews, then 3.5 weeks for cleanup.>>61So, I gotta ask… what's your favourite ep? : )
I answered this before. It's one you haven't seen yet.>>67 One more, has the show and your experiences with it taught you anything substantial about storyboarding, cartoons in general, or something else?
I don't think I've learned much, however I've had more fun on this show than I've had in the last 3 or 4 shows I've done.>>70 Out of any that have been done in the show, what is your favorite visual gag/joke and pop culture reference?
I'm partial to Doctor Whooves. The Slice of Life episode is one of my favourites.>>75 What's funny about Rainbow Dash?
My image is one I've drawn and use every time someone asks me to pick a pony. I can't. And I have a friend who's a big Dash fan and that's the kind of question he would have asked me.>>79 WE'M CURIOUS OF POSSIBILITY OF MORE LUNA!
No spoilers!>>84 do you have any advice on determining what to focus on in each frame, so as to not overdo it I suppose
If it can help, go check out my video which is a raw stream on Visual Storytelling: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ikx_m_w34go>>85 So season 6 is almost done?
Only as far as storyboards are concerned. They should be finished by the end of November.>>88 > hints as to who's in the episodes
So they're not in the mane 6!? That means!… Ooooooooohhh….
It could be the mane 6 or it could be a guest character, or it could be a secondary character. I'm just not saying.>>89 We wouldnt have known if you didnt say that it would give us hints to upcoming episodes xD
Some people are VERY clever.>>101 "What software/hardware do you use?"
A combination! I've worked on Toon Boom Storyboard Pro, which came in handy for the song I had to board. However, the final storyboard is done using Sketchbook Pro, and I work on my Cintiq at home, and my Asus Eee Slate when not at home.>>105Can you tell us what episode number would be one that you would enjoy showing off the most if you could?
As in episodes I've done? Episode 14, and definitely the finale episodes. SO EXCITED ABOUT THE FINALE.>>106 >As a storyboard artist, do you have a say in which background ponies are used? Do you have a preference?
Up to a certain point, yes I do. But I didn't really take advantage of that much. Oh well, NEXT SEASON *crosses fingers*>>114And as sort of an extension of that question, what makes individual storyboarders different to you? Like, do your colleagues have specific storyboarding strengths that they're turned to for in certain situations?
Tough questions! I think every storyboard artist has their own style. Some are good with action, others with dramatic acting, some have excellent comedic timing, and not everyone can do everything.
As for storyboarding a long sequence, it's really the same as a shorter one, you just go from story beat to story beat and tell the whole sorry. I really don't find it different at all.>>109Why was there a three-month hiatus between the airings of the first and second halves of season 5?
I do not know.>>110 I understand you can't say stuff that hasn't aired, but what's your favorite background pony from episodes that has aired?
Like I said earlier, I like Doctor Whoves. And Bulk Biceps makes me laugh so much.>>115 Conveniently enough, i've been working on an assignment about storyboarding for my digital media class. I'm totally new to the process, so do you have any advice on determining what to focus on in each frame, so as to not overdo it I suppose?
Do you have a script to start from? I've posted a link to my visual Storytelling video, so the concepts of establishing shot, then tightening on the meat of the story, translate in pretty much all storytelling media. Let me know if you need that link again.>>124With one episode per week, that means you have some two-three minutes per drawing? That's some serious rapid-fire art!
… I think you misunderstand. I have 6 weeks to do these 600 drawings. These translate into half an episode.
When in cleanup mode, I can do 35 to 50 clean drawings a day.>>127 Would it be alright to share any headcanons you might have?
… I need to watch more episodes before I can talk. And you need to watch the episodes I've seen to complete that.>>129 Are there top-down diagramed versions of the sets/environments that you guys make or take reference from as you are working?
Designs are created before I do storyboards… for the most part. There are times I will create rough backgrounds that they will clean up at the layout and animation stage (forest scenes would be an example).>>135 Do you think that in the future, we will have synthetic ponies?
No idea. Maybe, made with magic.>>136 i was wondering… are there any storyboards from an episode that's already aired, which you've worked on, that you might be able to share with us, Kanthara?
I am not allowed to share anything Ponies. However, I can share a different type of storyboard for a different show, if you like?>>137 Have you ever strongly disagreed with the script you're given on how the story should go or what a character would do?
Also, ever thought about making an OC?
Not on this show, but the one I did before Ponies, it's of the caliber of Family Guy and has lots of deliberately offensive moments that really rubbed me the wrong way.
And my OC is Sketchy Pencils!>>141Do you have any silly pony faces or ridiculous takes that you really like?
Pic obviously related c:
It would take too long to collect, but yes, I have a lot. Have one.
[Picture in post >>41048] >>142 Fave episode you worked on or most proud with?
I am happy with all the episodes I've worked on. I can't say any more!>>143 Episode 14 Season 5 was Canterlot Boutique. i think that's the episode referenced?
No, I did indeed reference season 6 episode 14.>>144 This is probably more animation-related but I am sure the storyboard team gets a hand in some of them - do have a favourite silly pony face/expression?
I like Rainbow Dash's fangirl squee face, and teeth grinding and mad grins and and… I like drawing funny poses and expressions.
[Picture included – 41057]>>146 Do you have any non-pony personal projects that you hope to make storyboards for at some point?
Some personal projects, yes. But nothing overly solid.>>148 Ooh, I knew it!
But sorry, I asked about a song sequence.
Ah HAH! Yes, storyboarding a song is indeed different! I convinced the directors to let me use Storyboard Pro to do the song sequence, because of the fact that it allows me to time the illustrations to the music. I watched several musical episodes beforehand to get inspiration, and a good idea of what I needed to do. And they liked what I did so I'm happy!>>153What do you think you'll be working on in five years from now, Kanthara? Will ponies still be on the itinerary?
Oh, and do you also get to work on Equestria Girls?
Do you think you'll be getting more involved in the fandom now yourself? Or is appearance more of a one-of-a-kind appearance?
I honesty have no idea what I'll be doing. I hope to get back in studio as I'm currently freelancing, to do storyboard supervision or directing.
I much prefer working on Ponies, I don't much care for Equestria Girls (sorry guys).
As for more appearances in fandom, maybe? I'd like to. I'm hoping another season is produced and I want to work on more episodes, and I'd love to go to some pony-related cons soon!>>155>a different type of storyboard for a different show
Here's a storyboard sample from the show Chop Chop Ninja Challenge! Enjoy! http://portfolio.kantharasloft.net/storyboards/CCNC_128.pdf>>41044
Je suis de Montréal, j'adore le bilinguisme, la joie de vivre, la poutine ;) Et oui, je suis allée en France deux fois.>>165 Kanthara: Do you have any fan works you really like?
I do, but not on hand right now. There is some gorgeous pony artwork out there.>>170 Does Sketchy Pencils have a story?
She has no story other than being a self-insertion character! I styled her mane after my own hair and her cutie mark is a pencil and a pen.>>182 You can also of course feel free to post here regularly, if that's your kind of thing. Not suggesting anything, just letting you know.
All depends on how much time I have, and until this board is done, I don't have much of it! But I'm going to be taking a break after this show ends in mid November for me, and I'm thinking of opening up for commissions.>>188 What influenced you to become an artist/storyboarder/etc? Any specific person or things?
I've always had that in me but I didn't know about it until I had my first animation job. I did storyboard clean up, then corrections, then background design and layouts from storyboards (on Arthur), animation and animation corrections on Mega Babies, and then more and more storyboard-related jobs all over that place. It worked out that way because I enjoyed it so much.>>189 Oooh, never seen the word "antics" used that way. Is it a storyboarding jargon for something specific?
It stands for "anticipate". It's to describe the pre-movement to the actual action (the wind up before the throw, for example).>>194 1 - What's your favorite ice cream?
2 - TP over or under?
3 - What's the answer to life the universe and everything?
4 - What is your favorite color?
5 - What is the average wind-speed velocity of an unladen swallow?
6 - Do you love me?
1- Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough.
5- Um, African or European swallow?
6- I barely know you, dear. ;)>>196 Have you… ever met Lauren Faust?
Nope! I haven't met anyone who works on Ponies (except for one other storyboard artist on season 6) because I live on the other side of the country!>>198 Besides FiM and Arthur, what other cartoons have you worked on, and which were your favorites to do?
I've worked on Sagwa the Chinese Siamese Cat, Martha Speaks, Silly Bitty Bunny, What's With Andy, other Quebec-based shows, many more… I loved working on Sagwa in particular, and Chop Chop Ninja Challenge was amazingly fun for me.>>209 i was wondering, how experienced with you on the internet Kanthara? Are you like, an internet veteran? Or is this one of your first sort of internet interactions?
Let me put it this way… I got online because of Gargoyles in 1996. I'm a veteran of web-base chat rooms, IRC, forums, Livejournal, etc. I'm pretty internet savvy. >>212 do you find the way you have to work changes from show to show very much,or is the process mostly the same?
It changes according to the tools, the requirements of the directors, and the tightness of the deadlines. I miss working with Storyboard Pro on this show, but the tool I'm using does the job well enough.>>215 How is your relationship with the rest of the crew? Do you meet them regularly? Hang out?
Also, how many more pop-culture and fandom references can we expect in the future?
I work from home in Quebec while the studio is in British Columbia. I haven't met my co-workers due to sheer distance and cost of plane tickets, but I'm hoping to be able to fly to Vancouver at some point soon.
Aaaaand spoilers! ;)>>216>>217 [Sagwa related excitement]
I love hearing this! I loved this show and was so happy to be part of it. My personal favourite episode to board was A Catfish Tale. The directors thought it was a dead-end episode and handed it to me to salvage it. I apparently saw in it what the directors didn't and they loved my board. I made them love the story with my pictures.>>224 Do you feel the internet has changed in any way since you started participating in it? And has it changed for the better… or for the worse?
I'm not sure. I think it's a mix of both. People speak more but say less. They journal less but snark more. I think it's just evolution. I don't use Livejournal anymore, but I used to use it daily. Forums were plenty and I was part of art boards that no longer exist because people moved on. It's now all Facebook, Twitter, tumblr… but it's not bad.>>230 At what point in the animation process are the background details filled in? MLP has some amazing backgrounds at times. Are they in the storyboards in mostly-full detail, or are they added by the animators based on a reference design?
In most shows, before the script is handed to the storyboard artists, the designs are created for props, characters and backgrounds. During storyboards, the artist will redraw these backgrounds in the angles they need. Then after storyboard, the layout artists will redo clean versions of these additional BG angles.>>232 Favorite Who episode? Favorite Doctor?
My fave is 10. I can't think of an episode, but the whole DoctorDonna ark was a favourite.
All right, good night everyone and thanks for all the fish!
Oh, before I go, how many ponies does it take to screw in a lightbulb? See image for answer!
[Hilarious Punchline Below: >>241