Straight from the Temple:
... Jon Stewart (host of "The Daily Show") ... talked about former Daily Show cast member Steve Carell's role in the film "Foxcatcher". Jon said something along the lines of "What makes Steve so good is that he finds the moments in scripts that no one else realized were there".
We've been talking a lot at Disney about what makes a good story artist, and it can be hard to define what makes a story artist so good at what they do.
Drawing is important, as is a sense of staging and acting, and all the other things that a good story artist needs to know … but there's also a hard-to-define "X factor" that some board artists seem to have. I think it's along the lines of what Jon Stewart is saying about Steve Carell.
A good board artist knows how to "plus" and elevate an idea. A good board artist can improve on any idea that they're given by finding little moments of entertainment and opportunities to exploit the character's personalities, without getting off track from moving the overall story forward. These are the things that directors at Disney seem to find the most valuable in board artists, and they are the hardest things to describe or to teach people. ...
I think it's the ability to find the essence of what a scene or sequence is about. A character's reaction to something. A comedy bit that reveals character.
Some board artists have it instinctively. Others acquire the talent through hard work, and trial and error. Still others never get the knack for plussing a scene at all.