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Sketch Up

Does art define your life? Then pre-production is the field for you. Prachi Parekh draws a report.

One of the essential pre-production processes for a film requires artists to sketch the look of characters, layouts, storyboards, etc based on the story. Pre-production is greatly required in animation, gaming, advertising and live-action films.

“Good drawing skills and the ability to visualise is a must,” says Anand Pawar, pre-production head at Graphiti School of Animation. An artist should also have good understanding of colour schemes, design sense and aesthetic knowledge. “Learn about the film medium and the production process,” says Shashank Pawar, a creative director. “Also, understand the narrative of the film and the director’s vision,” he adds. Knowledge about cinematography, lighting, editing, etc is essential for an artist. Be open to criticism-it will only improve your work.

“In any field, technical knowledge is necessary,” says Anand. Artists should know softwares that will be used during production like Maya, Toon Boom and Flash as it will help make a good, workable storyboard.

Be observant about everything around you-people, environment, background, colours, etc and be up-to-date with all the new things, events and trends. Collect as many references as you can, watch videos, and learn about the flow of a story. “You should always be a student,” says Anand.

A major demand for artists comes from the animation industry. “Indian animation studios have moved from being mere outsourcing centres for foreign projects to creating original content. Hence, the demand for artists has increased.” says K Pandyan, director of an animation school.

The gaming industry too needs artists for concept development, character design, different textures and backgrounds, etc. “In live-action films and telly serials too, people are gradually realising the amount of time and money that pre-production saves,” says Shashank. Ad agencies also require pre-production artists since rough storyboards are sent to clients for approval before the actual shoot. “The scope is huge with so many games, e-books and films being made. Any field which requires designing is an option,” says Anand.

“Only dedication in this job will pay,” says Shashank. Pre-production is a demanding job that requires patience, hard work and professionalism. It’s not a 9 to 5 job and will take 2-3 years before you establish yourself. “Enter this field only if you have the passion,” says Pandyan.

A degree in Fine Arts or Graphic Design Art is what you need – the best institutes are JJ School of Arts and Raheja School of Arts. NID and IIT too offer courses in pre-production. However, the focus here is generic. Some institutes like Graphiti School of Animation, ZICA (Hyderabad), etc offer specialised courses on pre-production which may be beneficial. “While enrolling, ensure the faculty is experienced, as many of such courses are money-making gimmicks,” Shashank warns.

Carry a tiny book with you and draw whatever that you see. Keep doodling, read books on drawing, get references, watch films. Practice is the key. No shortcuts.

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