Tag Archives: storyboard

“Simpsons” Storyboard Artist Stephen Reis at the Chuck Jones Center for Creativity

Writing from Costa Mesa: This reporter was fortunate enough to witness "Simpsons" storyboard artist, Stephen Reis (center in photo below) in action this past Saturday, November 3rd, at the Chuck Jones Center for Creativity during their "Great, Grand Chuck Jones Family Happening!" With a sharp pencil in each hand (many thanks to Pencils.com for the gift of Chuck Jones's preferred drawing instrument, the Blackwing 602, which all of those in attendance were able to use), Reis wowed those lucky aspirants with his dexterity and command of character design.  

Reis drawing of mr. burns
How to draw Mr. Burns was one of many character studies led by Stephen Reis. 

Over a three-hour period, over 30 students of animation, both young and old alike, learned from one of the most creative storyboard and character design artists working in animation today. By the end of the session and because of his guidance and nurturing manner each student had produced a group of characters from "The Simpsons". Smiles all around!

Everyone at the Center extends a heartfelt thank you to Stephen and we look forward to his return in the future!

Reis with students 72 dpi
Photo by Stephen Russo.

Chuck Jones Image of the Day: Mowgli’s Brothers

During his tenure as vice-president in charge of children's programming at ABC television, Jones produced and directed three half-hour television specials based on stories from Rudyard Kipling's "The Jungle Book". In 1973, the story of a young boy raised by wolves in the jungle, premiered to immediate acclaim.  Narrated by Roddy McDowall, Mowgli learns about the love, justice and the jungle code of loyalty.  

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Early storyboard by Jones with a nascent Mowgli in the upper right corner.

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Pre-production model sketch of Mowgli by Chuck Jones.  You can begin to see how Jones is determining the character and personality of Mowgli through his use of the drawn line.

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Production layout drawing by Chuck Jones.  Providing hundreds of layout drawings for each of the films he directed, Jones here has clearly defined the character of Mowgli and establishes the model from which the animator's created the mood and movement of each scene.  

 

The Grinch Storyboards & Presentation Story…

Chuck Jones' daughter, Linda, likes to recount that when she was a young girl her father would often 'act out' the cartoons he was working on for her, voices, gags, action, everything.  Chuck explains in his book, Chuck Reducks, how he went on the road with the Grinch storyboards and their presentation saga…

"…off to New York to sell the idea to a sponsor.  (Today you sell your film to the network; in the those innocent days–1966–you sold to the sponsor, guaranteeing financial support, before you could proceed to the network.)

"That sounded easy enough.  After all, I could take great pride in the wonderful story and full professional storyboard, and I could–and did–act all the parts (even Cindy-Lou Who) while presenting the board–twenty-six times!

"Yep.  Twenty-six times I did my dog-and-pony, or rather dog-and-grinch, act for the icy-eyed acres of advertising agency people before I could find a buyer."  (Eventually the Foundation of Commercial Banks became the sponsor, much to the surprise of Chuck, for who would think that they of all people, would want to promote an entertainment where the main character says, "Maybe Christmas doesn't come from a store?")

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Ted Geisel (second from left) and Chuck Jones (second from right) pose with members of the Foundation of Commercial Banks for a publicity photo before the airing on December 18, 1966 of the animated television special, "Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas."

And speaking of advertising agencies…below is a telex (pre-fax, pre-email, pre-skype!) from the Chicago office of the giant Leo Burnett advertising agency (think Mad Men) to their New York office counterparts extolling the virtues of Jones' storyboard presentation and how it would behoove them to make sure one of their big clients (Kellogg's or Campbell's Soup) became the sponsor of this most watched and beloved holiday special.  An amazing read, isn't it?

LEO BURNETT TELEGRAM

Image of the Day: Horton Hears a Who!

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Original storyboard (5.75” x 6.5”) by Chuck
Jones, mixed media (graphite, watercolor & colored pencil) on MGM
storyboard paper for his 1970 television special, "Horton Hears a Who!"

Preliminary work began on the second Dr. Seuss
and Chuck Jones collaboration before their “Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole
Christmas” even aired.  This included not
only pre-production watercolors by Jones, but also layout designs by the
inimitable Maurice Noble.  However, it
would be four more years before their labors would bear fruit and the special
would make its premier, March
19th, 1970
on U.S. television.   

 

Image of the Day: Baseball Bugs

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 “Bugs
Bunny, Bugs Bunny, rah, rah, rah!”  So
goes the game as Bugs coaches the Gas House Gorillas in a cheer for himself
(well, he is playing against them.)
Long on gags, short on plot; the Statue of Liberty makes a cameo appearance at
the end.  Story credit for the 1946 Friz Freleng directed “Baseball Bugs” goes to Michael
Maltese who soon found his stride in the Jones crew.  

 

Image of the Day: A Cricket in Times Square

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Original storyboard page for Chuck Jones' 1973 television special "A Cricket in Times Square."  This artwork will be part of Chuck Jones: An Animator's Life from A to Z-Z-Z-Z opening May 14th at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in Beverly Hills. 

Based on the children's book of the same title by George Selden, the film finds a braunschweiger-eating cricket named Chester trapped in a picnic basket and transported from his home in Connecticut to New York City, with voice actors Mel Blanc, June Foray and Les Tremayne.  

Meet The Simpsons Animator Stephen Reis This Afternoon!

The Simpsons animator & storyboard artist, Stephen Reis, is our special guest this afternoon at not only our San Diego gallery, but also via podcast at our Santa Fe gallery.  If you're looking to make last minute late afternoon plans in either city, please feel free to drop by and introduce yourself! 

Chuck Jones Gallery–San Diego, 232 Fifth Avenue–888-294-9880 and Santa Fe, 135 W. Palace Avenue–800-290-5999. 

Mr. Reis will be dedicating artwork purchased at these events. 

1 Stephen Reis sketch card 

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Original production cel from episode 9 of the 12th season, titled "HOMR" (backwards 'R'.) Available subject to prior sale.

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Original production drawing from episode 9 of the 12 season, titled "HOMR" (backwards 'R'.)  Available subject to prior sale.