Jim Smith (Ren and Stimpy, Ripping Friends) and Bill Wray (Ren and Stimpy, The Mighty B!), have been working with us on our StoryCorps animation. They are both incredibly talented and have helped us take these stories to a whole other level with the background art. Jim handled layout on “Danny and Annie” (watch it on PBS tonight!) and Bill was the background painter.
It was exciting to see these two work together. Jim started by sending us thumbnail layouts, which Tim used as a guide for his animation:
When Tim was done with animation, we sent Jim the character layout showing the key poses and he drew the final layout. It was really important for him to get great line quality with his pencil, because we used his drawings as final art for the screen:
We did a very small amount of cleanup (pushing contrast and levels around, erasing stray marks and smudges) and passed the final layouts to Bill Wray. We wanted to be sure the animation had a hand-made feel, so Bill painted both traditionally and digitally. Sometimes he would combine hand-painted elements with digital painting in the same BG:
Other times, he decided to go all hand-painted:
We gave both artists as much freedom and latitude as possible. As a result, we got artwork back that was better than anything we had imagined, and hopefully they felt a stronger sense of pride and ownership of the work they did. These cartoons would not have been the same without their brilliant contributions.
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