Sunday, March 6, 2022

Early Gaston

I have never gotten into storyboarding very much during my time at Disney. I found it too difficult. Staging scenes in continuity doesn't come easy to someone like me who had been focusing on drawing and acting. So I have great respect for storyboard- as well as comic book artists. 

I was part of a small team that started work on the first version of Beauty & the Beast. This took place in London at the Purdum animation studio. Glen Keane was developing the Beast, while I was busy doing research for Gaston. At one point it was time to storyboard a few sequences, all hands on deck. I was very apprehensive at first, but with the help of a few others it became fun in the end. Hans Bacher's color treatment sure added a lot to my board drawings. Here are just a few of them.

Here is a link to a previous post on the early concepts for some of the characters from Beauty & the Beast:


  1. I really like how clearly their personalities read in these drawings. Is that how you envisioned Belle? I find her pretty in the final version of the film, but somehow this Belle kind of catches my attention more.
    I'm not sure if you had anyone in particular in mind, but she reminds me of an older aesthetic, like female protagonists from older Disney projects or classic film divas. It kinda makes me wish you had worked on an adult female protagonist, I'm curious to see what you would have done with that.

  2. Is there anything you wish they'd kept from the earlier version of Beauty & the Beast? How did you feel about the change of direction at the time, too?

  3. When working on collabs with other artists, Storyboarding is my favorite part. Its always interesting to see the boards for what could have been

  4. I like to read this post!
    Thank you! :)
    I'm so glad about your discription about the differences between animation drawing and storyboard/comic drawing. I think about the different kind of figurative/visual imagination before drawing.
    I believe that every artist want to tell a story in the best way possible. :)
    A professional drawer of a Graphic Novel/ Manga/ Comic/ Bande Dessinée... search in her/his imagination for the most expressive and important graphic for one picture/panel....

    I see your sequences and remarked how much of Gastons personality didn't change. I recognized the „little“ visual differences how he has been characterized in your pictures and in the feature, too.
    I don't mean the difference that Gaston isn't a snob anymore!
    Without this change in his characterisation the story of „Beauty and the Beast“ have to be very different. I would miss the action sequences! This kind of sequences wouldn't be very believable with a snob... :)

  5. These renderings have a more cosmopolitan feel than the final characterizations
    Very nice ...

  6. I am curious. What era was the final version of BatB supposed to be set in? These early versions look like middle 18th century by the clothing.