What advice would you give to an emerging creative wanting to get into the same line of work?
Study production, look at all the ‘making of’ extras on DVD and Blu-ray, get magazines such as Cinefex to understand the FX side of things. Research the masters like da Vinci and Canaletto. Look at modern masters like Mike Ploog, Bernie Wrightson and Martin Asbury.
Find your niche – some boarders stick to games, films, TV, commercials or music videos. You’ll stand yourself in good stead if you can adapt your work to all these mediums, as they all have different requirements and approaches.
Above all, be a good communicator and learn to listen. Leave your ego at the production office door, as it’s not about how good an artist you are, it’s about telling a story. Listen to what the client wants and tune into their mindset so you understand their approach. That’s why a lot of directors will stick with a boarder they’ve worked with before.
Also, learn to draw – it sounds obvious but be adept at drawing almost anything, and keep the muscle memory of that shape alive in your head because I can promise you the requests are endless. The job is to succinctly show a complex situation that can be understood at a glance, and that’s harder than it appears.