Sitting Down with a Creative: A Storyboard Artist

This week we are sitting down with Andres Salaff. Andres is a storyboard artist at Cartoon Network. It was a delight to be able to learn so much about his career and what has brought him this far.

Q: What does a typical day for you look like?
A: It depends on what stage of the process I'm in; it’s either writing or thumb-nailing, or doing clean up.

Q: What does it mean when you say, “writing, thumb-nailing, or clean up?”
A: "Writing" is writing out a script for a show. "Thumb-nailing" is doing a quick sketch of storyboards on small post-it notes. Basically we pitch the thumb-nails to make sure the story works on a weekly basis. We get 5 weeks to get a whole storyboard. “Clean up” is getting down to the final storyboards.

Q: Why did you choose storyboarding?
A: All of the elements are all about story telling. There is a lot of possibility for writing. I love animation and storyboarding for me is like setting a bunch of key frames. I like it because I get to draw.

Q: What is one of your favorite projects you’ve worked on so far?
 A: One of my favorite ones so far is my fourth year film from college which was CalArts. (California Institute of the Arts) The film is called “Life Line.”
via Life Line Film
Q: What was your film about?
A: It’s about a scientist going through different dimensions trying to find his lost love.
via Life Line Film
Q: Why was Life Line your favorite?
A: It was my last personal project and it was kind of like a culmination of everything I had learned at the time and I had gotten to do everything on it; the animation, the storyboarding, and the background.

Q: What has it taken you to get this far in your career?
A: Love of the craft, lots of hard work, and God.

Q: What is your experience in traditional art?
A: My traditional art came in when I started applying to animation school. I did traditional art for two years before I got in the animation school.

Q: In your personal work, outside of storyboarding, what is the most important part of creating for you?
A: There is something that is inside of you. You’ll have something that you feel like drawing and you have to get it out. You get inspired by stuff and it's fun. It’s really fun.

Q: Who or what has been the biggest influence in your artistry?
A: Well I would stay personal experience and all scopes of art; from literature, to music, to film. That is what's cool about being creative; you can get inspired by anything. But I would say in my work I try to draw on life experience.

Q: What are your career goals?
A: One of my ultimate goals is to write and direct a feature. Maybe get a show going, make stuff that is true to myself, that can be enjoyed by the whole family.

Q: What advice would you give to those pursing art?
A: Have a balance of imagination and drawing from life. Study art, and see what is fun for you and what you like about it. Don’t let getting discouraged stop you. Classes are good and the more you know about different skills, the more will pour over into your art. If you’re doing some kind of sculpting it will carry over into drawing and vice versa. Even doing landscaping will pour over it to your art.

Q: How has your faith shaped your artistry?
A: Because artistry is everything I do and my faith is the reason for everything I do. It has shaped it in a lot of ways. It has definitely helped me not take my career and art for granted.
 To learn more about Andres and see more of his work head over to his blog