Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Harry Borgman Draws Cars. A LOT of Cars!

The amazing Harry Borgman sent along another great example of why he could easily have won the title of "The Rendering Machine". Here's the story:

"Your readers of the storyboard blog might find this interesting. Maybe this should be in the Guinness Book of World Records!"

"As you know, some of the toughest assignments in the industry are the automotive ones."

"I got a call late one Friday afternoon from Y & R in Ervine, California, the art director had 65 storyboard frames for Lincoln Mercury that had to be done and in their offices by Monday AM ! They also were unable to send me any reference material on the cars. Obviously I also didn't have time to send in sketches for approval. I accepted the assignment, not quite sure how I was going to manage getting it done on time."

"Luckily, I found car reference photos on the internet."

"On a job like this you can not start out rendering tight and then ending up doing the last frames loose, everything has to be consistent. Obviously, these were going to be rather loosely done renderings."

"Well, I made the deadline and everyone was very pleased with the job. To get it done on time I had to do each frame in about 20 minutes, drawing and rendering. I couldn't do very tight renderings in that amount of time. It was a very tough job, probably the toughest one I've ever had. This is why the storyboard business isn't for everyone, you have to be able to work well under extreme pressure and not miss deadlines."


Be sure to check out Harry's blogs: Harry Borgman Art and Hairy Blogman where he shows off his digital experiments. And of course he has a website:


  1. Harry
    Storyboarding takes no prisoners!
    I remember- must be late 80's/ early 90's doing 56 hours straight.
    The call came in Wednesday morning, I was off on holidays Friday evening. Four boards and a bunch of layouts - can't remember who the client was. The first 24hrs were fine, The next 12, I was on a coffee drip and knocking back Lucozade to beat the band (don't know if you get that stateside- it's full of gloucose). After that I started to hallucinate. The walls were closing in, there were beetles crawling over my layout pad. Totally counter-productive. God knows what the finished product looked like- luckily it was before email, so there is no evidence extant. Needless to say I never did it again.

  2. This post made me break out in a cold sweat.
    It's funny you mention trying to make the quality consistent. I know I should do that but end up falling into the trap of speeding through the last few frames.
    Er, uh, there's no AD's that come to this blog are there? :)

  3. Roger; That's a hilarious story... reminded me of one of earliest experiences doing a pitch for O&M when i was a young pup in the "pit": Around 3 am, having gone full tilt since arriving the day before at 9 am, I suddenly realized I was colouring with my eyes closed. I mean closed for a long time! Luckily all I was doing was scrubbing in a big 18" by 24" background with a brown Chartpak ( it was supposed to look like a woodgrain desktop ).

    But wow - what a bizarre profession we're in!

  4. *Btw, I know the comment thing is an issue for many who would like to leave comments. Its buggy for me as well. Must be something about this template... I don't use it for my other blogs - but I liked the layout and now I'm loathe to switch it. If anyone can advise us on a fix, please do!

  5. *Also* That thing about being consistent from beginning to end on a heavy job... such great advice. I screwed up bad like that recently and absolutely cringe every time I look at the last few frames of that project - Bbrrr!

  6. Pure marker magic! That Harry can bust out such beautiful color renderings at 20 minutes a panel is just mindblowing!

  7. Hi everyone,
    I should have mentioned that I told the AD that the only way I could meet the deadline was to do the frames in the smaller 4 x 5" format instead of larger. If they required larger frames I assured them that my frames would blow up well. If you look closely at the frames you'll see that I did not detail anything such as the chrome trims and the grills on the cars with white paint as I usually would have done. My many years of experience with the automotive side of the ad biz worked in my favor. Anyone not experienced in this area would not have been able to have produced this assignment, it's a very specialized field, you probably have to be a Detroiter to do crazy stuff like this. This was actually one of the last commercial assignments that I did before I quit, at the time the deadlines were all getting beyond nutty. I will try to dig up more interesting assignments that I have worked on and send them along to Leif. In the meantime, keep crankin'.