Storyboard Sketch Studies

It’s one thing to do storyboard sketches and studies after watching films or TV episodes. That’s working in reverse; working backward from the finished product to the concept sketches in order to better understand the process. It’s an invaluable learning tool for sure, but this time I decided to try doing sketch studies of the original storyboard sketches by Will Simpson, the storyboard artist behind HBO’s Game of Thrones. I’ve really gotten into storyboards of late, and this interest is evident because the last three or four posts have all been boards. Plus I’ve recently landed a job at one of Mumbai’s biggest animation studios as a storyboard artist. I’ll be starting at the bottom as a trainee but I suppose that’s to be expected considering I’m a fresher with no prior experience in this industry at all.

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The important thing is, I mean to work my way up rapidly and learn as much as I can working in the studio environment. Without delving too deep into my personal circumstances, all I can say here is that my family expects me to flounder. Becoming self- sufficient is of paramount importance to me in order to prove myself, and prove them wrong. I can’t deny that I’ve grown up privileged in many ways. Nearly everyone in my life expects me to struggle now that I’ve cut ties with my emotionally abusive (and very wealthy) father. But the fact is, I already feel more content. I grew up as part of a joint family in a large stately home with sprawling lawns and grounds. It was my home. I grew up with my two male cousins- one a year older and one a year younger than me- and was told to think of them as brothers, and my uncle and aunt as secondary parents.

Now I go to that family home, and all traces of my presence have been slowly wiped away. I know I have forfeited my inheritance, and that home along with it. The hypocrisy of family life has really shown itself to me in recent months. I holidayed with these two cousins and their parents every summer while growing up, because my parents were too busy to take me. My father didn’t even turn up when I graduated school. It was an international boarding school, and people’s parents were flying in from all over the world, and he didn’t even show up despite being in the same city. When my cousin graduated from university with a 2:2, the family booked a fancy dinner place for him with a four course meal and drinks and everything for everyone. When I graduated with a First my father didn’t even take me out to dinner, saying he didn’t want to spend that much money, even though I had reserved places just for the three of us at a decent restaurant.

In many ways I’ve gotten good at the things I love because I’ve always felt a need to prove my worth to my family. Consciously, yes, of course I know that I’m worthy of love and care. But even before I was born, my mother had to fight for my right to existence. My father’s family didn’t want me to be born simply because I’m a girl. In India, even in upper middle class families like mine, that’s an issue. At every turn, no matter how well I did at school or university, I was always inferior in my father’s eyes to my misogynistic bully of an elder ‘brother’, because I’m a girl. So subconsciously, I suppose I’m still fighting for approval. It’s a bit pathetic, really. You shouldn’t have to earn your parents’ love.

But I’m 24 years old now. And the one thing I’ve learnt through the years is that very often, the most enduring and blazing strength is kindled in me when the world expects me to be weak. I’m sure there is a sophisticated term for it in psychology but I refer to it as my ‘Fuck you’ response. It’s served me well in the past; it would explain why I can be really competitive- but it’s also ensured that I keep pushing myself. There’s one person in my life right now, specifically, who’s given me sound advice regarding going independent, and I’m very grateful to have this person. And now I have a job. It’s not my end goal, but it’s a starting point, and I intend to hit the ground running.

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