How To Become a Storyboard Artist

How To Become a Storyboard Artist

If you are someone who loves storytelling and enjoys drawing, then becoming a storyboard artist might be the perfect career path for you. A storyboard artist is responsible for creating visual representations of a story’s narrative, helping directors, designers, and others visualize the storyline before launching into animations or games. Storyboarding is a crucial aspect of the filmmaking and gaming industry, and skilled artists are in high demand.

1. Get the necessary education: While a degree is not always required to become a storyboard artist, completing a relevant program can greatly increase your chances of finding work. Many colleges and universities offer degrees and courses in animation, illustration, or graphic design that can provide you with the technical skills and knowledge needed for this profession.



2. Develop your portfolio: As with many creative jobs, having a strong portfolio is essential when applying for storyboard artist positions. A portfolio showcases your best works and demonstrates your ability to create compelling and cohesive storyboards. Include a variety of projects that highlight your skills in storytelling, composition, and understanding of shot angles and transitions.

3. Learn the tools of the trade: Familiarize yourself with the software commonly used in the industry for creating storyboards. This includes software such as Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, or specialized storyboard software like Toon Boom Storyboard Pro. Knowing how to effectively use these tools will make you a more competitive candidate for storyboard artist jobs.

Salary and job prospects: Storyboard artists can earn a median annual salary of around $69,000, depending on their experience and the industry they work in. The demand for storyboard artists has been growing steadily, especially in the entertainment and gaming industries, making this career path a rewarding and potentially lucrative one.

In summary, becoming a storyboard artist requires a combination of artistic talent, storytelling skills, and technical knowledge of the tools used in the industry. By honing your drawing skills, developing a strong portfolio, and staying up-to-date with industry trends and software, you can position yourself as a top candidate for storyboard artist jobs.



Understanding the Role of a Storyboard Artist

As a storyboard artist, you play a crucial role in the creative process of visual storytelling. Your main job is to transform a script or idea into a sequence of drawings that visually represent the key moments of a film, TV show, or commercial. These drawings, known as storyboards, serve as a blueprint for directors, producers, and other members of the production team to follow during filming or animation.

Storyboard artists are typically employed by animation studios, film production companies, advertising agencies, or video game studios. They work closely with directors, producers, and other creative professionals to develop a visual narrative that effectively communicates the storyline, mood, and visual style of the project.

To excel in this role, you need to have good artistic skills and a strong understanding of visual storytelling. You should be able to translate written descriptions and scripts into visually appealing drawings that effectively convey the director’s vision.



While there are no specific educational requirements to become a storyboard artist, many professionals in this field have a bachelor’s degree in animation, film studies, or a related field. Some studios may also require candidates to have experience or training in specific software tools used for creating storyboards.

If you’re interested in pursuing a career as a storyboard artist, here are the steps you can take:

  1. Study the basics: Familiarize yourself with the fundamentals of drawing, composition, and visual storytelling. Take drawing classes or enroll in a formal art school program to develop your skills.
  2. Build a portfolio: Start creating your own storyboards to showcase your abilities. Include a variety of styles and genres to demonstrate your versatility.
  3. Learn industry-standard software: Familiarize yourself with popular software tools like Adobe Photoshop or Storyboard Pro that are commonly used in the industry. Being proficient with these tools will make you more marketable to potential employers.
  4. Seek entry-level positions: Look for opportunities to work as a storyboard artist in animation studios, film production companies, or advertising agencies. These positions will provide valuable hands-on experience and help you build connections in the industry.
  5. Gain insights from professionals: Attend industry events, workshops, or conferences to learn from experienced storyboard artists and directors. Networking with professionals in the field can provide valuable insights and open doors to new opportunities.
  6. Continue to develop your skills: Never stop learning and improving your skills as a storyboard artist. Stay updated with the latest trends and techniques in the industry, and always be open to feedback and criticism.
  7. Take on freelance projects: Supplement your income and gain more experience by taking on freelance storyboard projects. This will also help you expand your portfolio and demonstrate your ability to work on a variety of projects.
  8. Consider further education: If you’re looking to advance your career or specialize in a specific area of storyboarding, you may consider pursuing a master’s degree or specialized training programs.
  9. Showcase your work: Build an online presence by creating a website or using social media platforms to showcase your work. This will make it easier for potential employers to view your portfolio and contact you for job opportunities.
  10. Apply for permanent positions: Once you have gained sufficient experience and developed a strong portfolio, start applying for permanent positions as a storyboard artist in established studios or production companies.
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Key Responsibilities and Skills

Storyboard artists play an extremely important role in the creative development of films, television shows, and video games. They are responsible for visually interpreting scripts and turning them into a series of drawings that showcase the key moments and actions of a story. This step-by-step process allows directors, producers, and other team members to get a visual understanding of what the final product will look like.

To become a storyboard artist, you’ll need to have a solid understanding of storytelling, visual composition, and the fundamentals of art. Many storyboard artists start their careers by attending art school or studying related degrees. However, it’s not the only path into the industry. Some artists may excel through self-study and building a strong portfolio.

Responsibilities

The key responsibilities of a storyboard artist include:

  • Reading scripts and understanding the narrative
  • Creating rough sketches and storyboards to visualize scenes
  • Collaborating with directors and other team members to refine story concepts
  • Presenting storyboards for review and making revisions based on feedback
  • Ensuring that the storyboards align with the overall vision of the project
  • Working closely with animators and other artists to bring the storyboards to life

Skills

To excel in this type of work, storyboard artists need to have a combination of technical and creative skills. Some of the key skills include:

  • Strong drawing and illustration skills
  • Excellent storytelling abilities
  • Understanding of visual composition and cinematography
  • Ability to work collaboratively in a team environment
  • Attention to detail and the ability to follow specific guidelines
  • Proficiency in software such as Adobe Photoshop or other digital drawing tools
  • An understanding of different art styles and the ability to adapt to various projects

Becoming a storyboard artist can be an extremely rewarding career path for those who have a passion for storytelling and visual arts. It allows you to be a part of the creative process and work closely with directors and creators to bring stories to life. Through your storyboards, you can provide valuable insights into how scenes should be shot, what type of camera angles and movements would work best, and how the overall story should unfold.

Whether you choose to pursue formal education or study on your own, developing a strong portfolio of your work is crucial. This will showcase your skills and allow potential employers to see your creativity and technical abilities. Furthermore, it’s important to stay updated on the latest trends and technologies in the industry, as the field is constantly growing and evolving.

Building a Strong Foundation

Before diving into the world of storyboard artistry, it is important to build a strong foundation. This involves preparing oneself with the necessary qualifications, studying and understanding the fundamentals of storytelling, visualization, and graphic arts.

Some potential storyboard artists may choose to pursue a degree in a related field such as graphic arts or animation. While a degree is not always required to become a storyboard artist, it can greatly enhance one’s skills and provide a deeper understanding of the craft.

For those who choose not to pursue a degree, there are still plenty of opportunities to develop their skills. They can take online courses, workshops, or self-study to expand their knowledge of storytelling and visualization. There are also many books, tutorials, and online resources available that can help aspiring artists develop their artistic abilities.

One important aspect of building a strong foundation is creating a portfolio. This is a collection of artwork that showcases an artist’s skills and abilities. It is a crucial tool for aspiring storyboard artists to showcase their work to potential employers or clients.

When building a portfolio, it is essential to include a variety of storyboards from different genres and mediums, such as live-action films, animated movies, or gaming projects. This demonstrates the artist’s ability to adapt to different styles and requirements.

It is also important for storyboard artists to understand the industry they are working in. They should research and familiarize themselves with the types of jobs and roles available, as well as the expectations of filmmakers, studios, and gaming companies.

Storyboard artists often work hand in hand with directors, writers, and producers to bring a story to life. Their role is to visualize the script and create a visual representation of each scene. This requires a strong understanding of storytelling, composition, camera angles, and pacing.

Developing Drawing Skills and Knowledge

One of the most important steps to becoming a storyboard artist is developing strong drawing skills and knowledge. As a storyboard artist, you will be responsible for creating visual representations of a script or story, so having a good understanding of artistic principles and techniques is crucial.

While some storyboard artists may have formal education in the form of a bachelor’s degree in art or a related field, it is not always required. Many top storyboard artists have launched successful careers through self-taught methods and a strong portfolio of their work.

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Whether you choose to pursue formal studies or not, there are several key skills and knowledge areas you should consider developing:

Artistic SkillsStoryboarding Insights
– Strong drawing skills, including the ability to accurately depict people, objects, and environments– Understanding of the technical aspects of storyboarding, such as shot composition and camera angles
– Knowledge of anatomy, perspective, and proportion– Analytical thinking to visualize and sequence dynamic shots
– Proficiency in digital art software commonly used in the industry– Creativity to bring scripts and stories to life through visual storytelling
– Ability to work collaboratively with directors, writers and other creative team members– Insights into the gaming industry and the specific requirements for game storyboard artists

If you are looking to break into the industry, it is common for entry-level storyboard artist positions to require a diploma, extended studies, or some form of relevant training. However, it is also possible to find freelance or contract work without formal education if you have a strong portfolio and skills.

Finally, don’t underestimate the importance of networking and connections in the industry. Building relationships with other creators, attending industry events, and staying up to date with the latest trends and technology can help you get noticed by studios and filmmakers.

In summary, becoming a storyboard artist is a unique and creative career path that requires a combination of artistic skills, analytical thinking, and storytelling abilities. By developing your drawing skills and knowledge, expanding your portfolio, and staying connected within the industry, you can increase your potential for finding permanent or freelance storyboard artist jobs both in the gaming and film industries.

Learning the Storytelling Techniques

One of the most crucial skills for a storyboard artist is a deep understanding of storytelling techniques. To excel in this field, you must learn how to effectively convey a narrative and translate it into visual elements.

To start with, it’s essential to study the works of other storyboard artists. Analyze their storytelling techniques and take note of how they use composition, camera angles, and pacing to create dynamic and engaging storyboards. This analytical approach will help you develop a solid foundation in storytelling and enhance your own artistic abilities.

Furthermore, consider taking annual or professional courses in storytelling to broaden your knowledge. These courses can provide you with valuable insights into narrative structure, character development, and creating compelling story arcs. By honing your storytelling skills, you will be able to elevate your storyboards and deliver a more impactful narrative experience.

Another aspect to consider is studying scripts and working closely with directors. It’s essential to have a good understanding of the story and vision before creating storyboards. By reading scripts and discussing the director’s vision, you can ensure that your storyboards align with the overall creative direction of the project.

When working on live-action or gaming projects, it’s crucial to have a comprehensive understanding of the different roles within the production team. Knowing what each person does and how they contribute to the project will ensure that your storyboards effectively communicate the desired ideas and concepts.

Learning storytelling techniques is an ongoing process, so don’t be afraid to experiment and take risks with your storyboards. The more you practice and gather feedback, the stronger your abilities will become. Being a storyboard artist is a rewarding job that requires a unique blend of artistic talent, analytical thinking, and a deep understanding of storytelling. So, take the next step, further develop your skills, and dive into this exciting and fulfilling career!

Mastering the Art of Visual Narrative

As a storyboard artist, mastering the art of visual narrative is one of the most important skills you can develop. With the ability to create a captivating storyline through your storyboards, you can showcase your unique artistic vision and bring a script or concept to life.

Before diving into the job market and applying for entry-level positions, there are a few steps you should take to prepare yourself for a rewarding career as a professional storyboard artist.

1. Develop Your Skills

To become a storyboard artist, you need to have a solid understanding of the principles of storytelling and visual communication. You should be able to analyze scripts and concepts, and translate them into a visual medium.

Many artists find it helpful to study the work of established storyboard artists and filmmakers to gain insights into their techniques and approaches. This can be done through online resources, workshops, or even by networking with professionals in the industry.

2. Learn the Tools of the Trade

Storyboard artists typically use a variety of tools to create their storyboards. While some prefer to sketch by hand, others use digital software to bring their visions to life.

Regardless of the medium you choose, it’s important to become proficient in using the required tools. This includes developing good drawing skills, understanding composition and shot framing, and being able to effectively use color and lighting to convey emotions and atmosphere.

3. Build a Portfolio

Your portfolio is your calling card as a storyboard artist. It should showcase your best work and demonstrate your storytelling abilities and technical skills.

When building your portfolio, include a variety of projects to show that you can adapt to different styles and genres. This can range from storyboards for films or commercials to game or animation projects. Including personal projects that highlight your creativity and unique vision is also a good idea.

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QualificationsInsights
While a formal degree is not always required to become a storyboard artist, having a background in art, design, or film can be beneficial.Getting insights from industry professionals or attending workshops can give you a competitive edge in the job market.
Having experience in other creative roles such as an illustrator, concept artist, or animator can also be advantageous.Networking with directors, creators, and other professionals in studios can lead to opportunities and collaborations.
Some studios may offer entry-level positions or internships specifically for storyboard artists, so be sure to research and apply for these opportunities.Using online job directories or the websites of studios and production companies can help you find open positions.

Gaining Experience and Creating a Portfolio

If you have a strong passion for storytelling and would like to become a storyboard artist, gaining experience and creating a portfolio are crucial steps to take in order to succeed in this field.

One of the first things you can do is to study the fundamentals of storyboarding. There are various online resources, books, and courses available that can help you develop a solid understanding of what this job involves. These resources usually cover topics such as creating a storyline, working with directors and filmmakers, and using different tools to create unique and visually appealing storyboards.

If you’re looking for a more structured learning experience, you may consider enrolling in a professional school or animation program that offers courses specifically focused on storyboarding. Obtaining a bachelor’s or diploma/extended diploma in animation or a related field can provide you with the necessary skills and knowledge to excel as a storyboard artist.

As you study and learn, it’s essential to practice what you’ve learned by creating your own storyboards. Start with simple projects, such as short scripts or animations, and gradually move on to more complex and challenging projects. This will help you refine your skills and showcase your abilities as a storyboard artist.

In order to gain real-world experience, you may also consider reaching out to local animation studios, game developers, or filmmakers in your area. Offer your services as an entry-level storyboard artist, even if it means working for little or no pay initially. This will not only help you build a portfolio but also provide you with valuable industry connections.

When creating your portfolio, it’s important to showcase a range of different projects and styles. Include both personal projects and any professional work you’ve done. Make sure your portfolio is organized and easy to navigate, allowing potential employers or clients to quickly assess your skills and style. Including a brief description of each project can also help provide context and further demonstrate your expertise.

Once you have a strong portfolio, you can start applying for storyboard artist jobs. Look for job listings on industry websites, job boards, or reach out to animation studios directly. Keep in mind that landing your first paid job may take time and patience, but having a solid portfolio and relevant experience will greatly increase your chances of success.

What’s Next?

Now that you know how to become a storyboard artist, it’s time to take action! Start learning, practicing, and building your portfolio. Keep an eye out for opportunities where you can gain experience and showcase your skills. With dedication and perseverance, you’ll be well on your way to launching a successful career as a storyboard artist.

Further Resources

If you’re looking for further resources to help you on your journey to becoming a storyboard artist, here are some recommendations:

  • Online tutorials and courses on platforms such as Udemy or Coursera
  • Books on storyboarding and visual storytelling
  • Industry directories and websites where you can find job listings and network with other professionals
  • Watching and studying the storyboard work of established artists

FAQ

What qualifications do I need to become a storyboard artist?

To become a storyboard artist, you will need a strong foundation in drawing, as well as a degree in a related field such as animation, film, or fine arts. Additionally, experience in graphic design or working with storyboarding software can be advantageous.

What skills are necessary to excel as a storyboard artist?

To excel as a storyboard artist, you should have strong drawing skills and be able to effectively communicate ideas through visual storytelling. Attention to detail, the ability to work under pressure, and excellent time management skills are also important in this role.

Can I become a storyboard artist without a formal education?

While a degree in a related field can provide a solid foundation, it is possible to become a storyboard artist without a formal education. Building a strong portfolio and gaining experience through internships or entry-level positions in the industry can help you break into this field.

What tools and software do storyboard artists use?

Storyboard artists commonly use various tools such as pencils, markers, and sketchbooks to create their initial drawings. They may also use digital tools like graphic tablets and software programs like Adobe Photoshop or Storyboard Pro to refine and edit their work.

What is the average salary of a storyboard artist?

The average salary of a storyboard artist can vary depending on factors such as experience, location, and the industry they work in. However, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for multimedia artists and animators, which includes storyboard artists, was $75,270 as of May 2020.

What does a storyboard artist do?

A storyboard artist is responsible for creating visual representations of a story, scene by scene, for films, TV shows, commercials, and other media projects. They work closely with directors, producers, and other members of the production team to help plan and visualize the project before it goes into production.

What skills does a storyboard artist need?

A storyboard artist needs to have strong drawing and sketching skills to create detailed and accurate storyboards. They should also have a good understanding of storytelling, cinematography, and visual communication. Additionally, being able to work with digital tools and software is becoming increasingly important in the industry.

Dave Pennells

By Dave Pennells

Dave Pennells, MS, has contributed his expertise as a career consultant and training specialist across various fields for over 15 years. At City University of Seattle, he offers personal career counseling and conducts workshops focused on practical job search techniques, resume creation, and interview skills. With a Master of Science in Counseling, Pennells specializes in career consulting, conducting career assessments, guiding career transitions, and providing outplacement services. Her professional experience spans multiple sectors, including banking, retail, airlines, non-profit organizations, and the aerospace industry. Additionally, since 2001, he has been actively involved with the Career Development Association of Australia.