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Cesar Lemus Talks About Astonishing 'Heroes' and 'Wonder Woman' Storyboards

Here's another exclusive interview with my first storyboard artist and he draws on his experience to give us an inside look of the storyboarding industry and the unique chalenges of television.

Cesar Lemus is best known for his work on the television show Heroes, but he recently worked on another superhero show: Wonder Woman. He did storyboards for the pilot and when the Internet found out it exploded.

The industry has been struggling lately and many fine artists find themselves out of work or work is hard to come by. Cesar does a good job of expressing the challenges of being an artist in the film and television industry.

His work is prolific. He's done art for shows like Heroes, House M.D., Hawthorne, Mercy Reef/Aquaman (Pilot) Love Bites, Pretty Little Liars, No Ordinary Family, Melrose Place, Wonder Woman (Pilot) Smallville and Pushing Daises.

Q: When someone asks you "what's a storyboard artist" what do you say?
We help previsualize the action and tone for scenes. Animation and Live action share some of the same things but are two different animals.

Q: How did you get the job story boarding for David E. Kelly's Wonder Woman pilot?
I got a call from someone on the show, I believe it was the UPM (Unit Production Manager). I was also familiar with the director, he was a ex-producer on The Event, which I also worked on.

Q: What was your reaction when you found that the pilot wasn't picked up by NBC?
Very bummed. Sad.... it would have been a great series to work on, great crew. I hate being out of work... I am actually looking for work now.

Q: The costume was highly controversial, but your storyboards show her dressed in the new costume. How late in the design process did the new costume remain?
I actually used the concept [art] as reference in the boards, but I did tweak the design a bit in the cconceptual art I did... I switched the boots color back to red.

Q: You worked on the superhero show Heroes, what was the best part of the job? Did anything you learned there help with Wonder Woman?
Basically getting to do a show about superheros.

I love comics and grew up on them. I've never gotten to work for DC or Marvel, so it was bittersweet.

That show helped me to get faster at boards, turnaround was [always] fast, also getting to work with a different directors... it's intimidating at first, getting to work with guys that have been in the business WAYYYY longer than me...it makes you step up your game.

The top guys that do boards, have been doing it twice or three times as long as me. I was VERY fortunate to work on that show. I worked on all 4 seasons in some way. Seasons 2, 3 and 4 ... 3 & 4 were the most busy.

Q: What did you use for inspiration for the look of the Amazon world of Themyscira and your art in general?
A lot was influenced by Alex Ross...and Adam Hughes.

Q: What was it like story boarding the action for such an iconic superhero?
Very cool, I never got to see it filmed... I had to work on another show. I still would love to watch the pilot.

Q: You do conceptual art, storyboarding and sculpting. Is there one you enjoy more than another?

Boarding is harder... and Conceptual is hard too but you have a lot less stress, I guess sculpting is the most relaxing. But it don't think I can pick one... Also I have yet to do sculpting for work.

Q: Having worked on video games, what's the biggest difference between working on games versus television?
TV is crazy... very tight turn arounds. When I worked in games, it seemed pretty chill. Schedule was more 9-5, when I board stuff my schedule is all over the place. ...Long nights, crazy hours.

Q: You've worked many art mediums from markers to 3-D software. Is there a favorite tool that you like to use?

Traditional... it's so easy to pick a pen, pencil or marker and just draw!

The only drawback is scanning your work to email to clients or any show you might be working on.... I want to switch to more digital boards, but a lot of TV directors need you to you be able to draw on the spot.

There is no time to set up a laptop...I wish Apple would get on the Ipad and make it so you can plug in another hard drive for more space or install a program like "Painter" or "Photoshop."

Q: You're known for building scale models. What's the most surprising way this helps with your other artistic efforts?
Well, it just helps in using it as reference, helps with scale and proportions.

Q: What's the next project from you we can look forward to?
I am working on a comic book for a friend, doing pencils, hopefully it will be done by Dec.

But as far as Storyboards? I wish I knew...I am actually waiting for my agent to tell me if a got a gig or not. Work has been slow, so I cant wait for a nice long gig!

If you're reading this and need a storyboard artist, hire this guy! His talents have just begun
Check out more of his work on his blog and read more about him on HeroesWiki.

To see a list of all the exclusive interviews with other great artists on my blog go here.

What do you think of Cesar Lemus' work?

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Write by: Arek - Thursday, July 28, 2011

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