Hi Sharon, this is a good question. I wish I had a good answer, but I’ll try to stumble my way through one.
First, I don’t have a favorite style. I think every style is valid and can be beautiful and effective if it is paired with the right story to support it. Inversely, I believe every story is unique and self-contained, and therefore deserves a unique and self-contained style to support it. In my mind, it’s a circular construct that is constantly evolving, with story & style influencing each other in an endless, expanding loop. Because of this, I also don’t think a style ever finishes developing either. It grows on and on, living well past the people who originated it and eventually develops so far that it becomes genre.
But I digress…now for the truly esoteric part…
So, how did I become (as you say) so versatile? The answer lies somewhere in the first paragraph. I just truly love it all. I am fascinated by art in all its forms. I have no snobbery of any kind towards any art. And I have a deep, deep wish to understand it all. To this end, I study art in all its forms constantly, hoping to learn something or gain some insight that can inform my own choices. Out of that impulse, I have always tried to create art in every style and in every medium I could get my hands on.
These impulses have existed throughout my whole life. When I started working professionally, I would look around at other shows and say, “Hey that’s something I’ve never done! I want to try!” I jumped around from studio to studio, pursuing projects that interested me because of what I could learn from them.
So, when you add all that up, it’s not that I was so versatile that I was able to do all these things. It’s that I became very versatile by stubbornly refusing to work within one style and doggedly pursuing jobs created in styles I had no idea whether or not I could even do!
The pros: I can draw in lots of styles. It makes me very versatile and attractive to many different studios.
The cons: I don’t have my own signature style. Yet. ;)
The answer varies greatly and is really specific to the personality and comfort levels of individual Directors. It also really depends on how “fleshed out” a scene is in storyboards or, just as often, how “abstract” or “fantastic” a scene is. Simply put, there are some things that are hard to imagine without a drawing in front of you. Therefore, the direction I get can be different, not only between Directors, but also from sequence to sequence.
Sometimes the launch is as broad as “I don’t have any idea. Why don’t you just start sketching stuff. It just needs to feel happy.” And other times, a Director might see something so clearly, that I will get a thumbnail of the exact composition along with detailed sketches of the more important elements within the scene. More often than not though, it’s somewhere in the middle between the two extremes.
On the other hand, almost all Directors that I’ve worked for expect me to add my own point of view, style, expertise, and passion to the final piece while simultaneously respecting theirs. The ultimate goal is to create a final product that is a combination of the Director’s vision and my artistic abilities, united to support the story.