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Michael Borkowski

Thank you to Michael Borkowski for taking the time to answer all of my questions. I find it really interesting to get the artists point of view, especially since they always seem to be overlooked because they are in the background.

Michael Borkowski
Michael Borkowski is a Storyboard Artist/Illustrator based in Syracuse, NY. He has done work for many animated series - Batman, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Shaggy & Scooby-Doo Get a Clue and Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated, to name a few. He has also done illustrations for Marvel, Hasbro, Syracuse, and many others.

For more information on Michael Borkowski, please visit his website, The Art of Michael Borkowski or follow him on Twitter.

ScoobyAddicts.com: How did you become interested in being an artist/illustrator?

Michael Borkowski: I've always enjoyed drawing. I can remember as early as Kindergarten, when I won a "best placemat" art contest. It pretty much started there. The more encouragement I got, the more I wanted to draw. As I got older I became interested in comic books and cartoons. I realized you could make a living as an artist and that became my dream.

ScoobyAddicts.com: You have worked on many shows - Scooby-Doo, Batman, Dragon Tales, Ice Age Dawn of the Dinosaurs, etc. How did you get these jobs?

Michael Borkowski: One job leads to the next, usually. Directors and Producers move from studio to studio and show to show. They usually like to work with people they've worked with before. I've been very lucky to have some that enjoy my work. I also will contact studios if work dries up a bit. I've gotten a few jobs that way, too.

ScoobyAddicts.com: You worked on Shaggy and Scooby-Doo Get a Clue and Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated. The animation styles in both shows are completely different from each other. Was it difficult to go from Get a Clue to Mystery Incorporated?

Michael Borkowski: I've also done three straight to DVD Scooby movies. Those are done in the "classic" Scooby style so I've worked on three different styles of Scooby shows. The differences are mostly in the details. The structures of the characters are basically the same. The only difference is the line work. Structurally, Scooby is Scooby. Every show (not just the Scooby shows) have a learning curve of sorts when trying to tackle the new style. Some shows take longer than others but I suppose that's a personal thing for each artist.

ScoobyAddicts.com: Many people dislike the animation in Shaggy and Scooby-Doo Get a Clue. Who came up with the animation style for the show? What is your opinion of the animation style in Get a Clue when compared to Mystery Incorporated?

Michael Borkowski: I'm not sure who came up with the Get a Clue style but I prefer the Mystery Inc. style. That's mostly because it is closer to my own personal art style. I actually enjoyed working on Get a Clue at the time but I love Mystery Inc. I prefer the MI style to the classic style, too.

ScoobyAddicts.com: How many different projects do you typically work on at one time? Is it difficult to go from one to the next?

Michael Borkowski: Usually too many. I have a hard time saying "No". I try to only work on one show at a time and take on smaller projects if and when I can. It's not terribly difficult to go from one to the next but it depends on what the projects are.

ScoobyAddicts.com: Can you please explain what you do from start to finish for a Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated episode?

Michael Borkowski: I get a script for the episode along with my assignment. Scripts are typically 25-30 pages for a 22 minute show and I will board anywhere from 7-12 pages or so. The rest of the show is split between a few other artists. I'm also given all of the designs for that particular episode. After reading the script I will rough out my storyboard. That takes a few weeks. I hand that in to my Director when I'm done. After getting notes with any changes my Director might have, I will go in and clean up the board and make any changes that are needed. On Scooby, we have 5 weeks to finish storyboards on an episode.

ScoobyAddicts.com: Do you have a favorite character or cartoon to draw? If so, what is it and why?

Michael Borkowski: I have to say MI is one of my favorite shows I've done. I love the mix of action and goofyness. I also loved working on The Venture Bros. but that was a very difficult show to work on. I loved working on Wolverine & the X-Men because I grew up wanting to draw comic books so that was a special thrill for me.

ScoobyAddicts.com: Do you have any idea how many seasons there will be of Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated?

Michael Borkowski: Well, we are wrapping up season 2 soon. That brings it to 52 episodes. Usually that is the magic number where a show will end. I haven't heard anything, though. I imagine if the ratings are good it will continue. I hope so!

ScoobyAddicts.com: Do you have any advice for anyone who is looking to become an artist/illustrator for an animated cartoon series?

Michael Borkowski: It's cliche but "practice, practice, practice". Draw everything. Learn from everything. Absorb everything. I know it's fun to draw superheroes and silly cartoons but you also need to know how to draw cars and buildings and trashcans and desks and on and on and on. If you want to be a storyboard artist you need to study film and visual storytelling. Not only do you need to be able to draw, you need to be able to tell a story clearly and in an interesting way. In fact, telling the story is more important than being able to draw (although that helps, too).