Reel Opportunities

Storyboard Artist

What does a Storyboard Artist do?

A Storyboard Artist visualizes a story for film or TV, and creates frame-by-frame sketches. Storyboard Artists may use photos, or they might illustrate the images themselves. They work under the supervision of the film’s Director and/or Cinematographer (DoP) to illustrate what the movie will eventually look like – sort of like a comic book version of the film that shows all the camera movements, angles and shots.

The purpose of storyboards is to help the Director, Cinematographer and crew plan how to set up certain shots. They can also sometimes be used by Producers as a way to illustrate the Director’s vision in a presentation to funders or other supporters. Animated projects are often pitched on the basis of storyboards alone (that is, a screenplay may not be written until later), and Storyboard Artists continue to work throughout the production to develop particular sequences. As a sequence is edited, the Director, Storyboard Artist and creative team may need to rework the sequence.

What's a Storyboard Artist good at?
  • Drawing

    Have excellent drawing skills and be able to produce artwork in a range of styles

  • Listening

    Be able to listen and execute the visions of the Director, Writer and creative heads

  • Storytelling

    Be able to communicate a narrative well

  • Learning by watching and asking

    Observe what’s happening in your department and company, take initiative, ask questions at appropriate times

  • Watching films

    Have a passion for the medium and a love of the industry

  • Computer software knowledge

    Many Storyboard Artists choose to develop their frames using readily available storyboarding software

Who does a Storyboard Artist work with?

Once the script has been broken down into a ‘shooting script’. Storyboard Artists work with the Director, and sometimes the Director of Photography and/or the Writer to create a visual rendering of the proposed frames and shots.

How do I become a Storyboard Artist?

The most important thing when applying for roles in storyboarding is to demonstrate good drawing skills. You need to show storytelling skills and an understanding of film. Many Storyboard Artists have a degree but you don’t necessarily need one as long as you have a strong portfolio and can show your experience. In some companies you can move into being a Junior Storyboard Artist from being a Production Assistant.

Educational requirements: Any art school with an animation or illustration department is a solid place to build fundamental skills. The essential part is strong illustration skills.

Develop Art and Illustration Skills: Regularly practise drawing and observing how people and things around you move and look. Carry a sketchbook with you.

Build a portfolio: Learn how to show story sequences cut together in an animatic form. Start creating work that you can show to admissions tutors or employers.

More tips

For more tips on finding job opportunities, lists of training programmes, and other great resources, check out our Career Resources page.

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Job Profile Design by Dave Gray. Based on an original concept by Ian Murphy/Allan Burrell.