1st Edition

Set the Action! Creating Backgrounds for Compelling Storytelling in Animation, Comics, and Games

By Elvin Hernandez Copyright 2013
    240 Pages 20 Color & 80 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    240 Pages
    by Routledge

    256 Pages 20 Color & 80 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Create the Gotham for your Batman, the African savannah for your Simba, or the bustling newsroom for your Clark Kent. Background, setting, environment.whatever you call it, it is the silent character in the visual story, and a dynamic and compelling setting can define and hone the action and drama of your story. If you're in the habit of creating disembodied characters or adding backgrounds as an afterthought, Set the Action! will help you understand and utilize the importance of the setting in your narrative. Understand perspective, blocking, and color-and focus your narrative by establishing and designing your setting to interact with characters and story.

    Act 1: Establishing Shots!

    Section one: Gaining Perspective

    Section two: Laying out the Action!

    Act 2: Danger: Trespassing!

    Section three: Minding Your Surroundings.

    Section four: Familiar Grounds

    Act 3: Rendezvous Point!

    Section five: Meanwhile.

    Section six: Scene of the Crime!


    MFA in sequential art; Faculyy member, Media Arts and Animation Dept, Art Institute of Washington; Kaiser Studio Productions, sequential artist, freelance writer, and illustrator that has worked on magazines, games, and comics.

    "Teaching the visual arts can be difficult. One can tell when a drawing "looks right", but to effectively explain underlying foundations of "why", especially to a student or novice is quite the undertaking. This is where Elvin Hernandez thrives.  But most importantly, Hernandez has fun with his teaching.  His up-beat personality and tongue-in cheek sense of humor shine through in every drawing, making "Set the Action!" a must-have for any artist who puts pencil to paper." Jesse Cowan, Author- "Little Wolf"

    "With such an abundance of material on character design, a book on staging has been sorely needed. Set the Action! is the missing piece in any visual storyteller's toolkit!" Danny Araya

    "Insightful, beautifully drawn and cleverly written.  Elvin Hernandez puts the spotlight on the undervalued (and overlooked!) techniques for the use of the Background in dynamic storytelling.  A great read!"-Brian Muelhaupt, 2D Animation Director

    "Elvin Hernandez easily manages to walk the line between informative lecture and engaging conversation. His understanding of the importance of setting and space in visual media is easily conveyed and immediately understood. Witty and informative, Elvin Hernandez's "Set The Action!" isn't just a book that you have to read, it's a book that you want to read." John Griffin, Professor of Media Art and Animation, The Art Institute of Washington

    "Mr. Hernandez, a wonderful artist and storyteller, has been able to put his talents together in this book to generously explain not only the history of perspective and the importance of it to making scenes and backgrounds work, but he has laid it out in a way that reads well, and will appeal to both the novice and the experienced artist. "-Charl Anne Brew, Professor of Visual Effects & Motion Graphics, The Art Institute of Washington