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"I want to go into Storyboarding. Any tips or guidance?", 10th Jan 2017, 6:14 AM #1
defo18♂

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I've been trying to figure out what the future holds for me for a long time. I turned 20 yesterday and I realize now that I am a very different person than who I was at 18.

Life is getting better, but it is getting harder. And I still want to go into the field of art. Mainstream American comics are extremely hard to get into. Ask anyone they'll tell you there is no one concrete way to get into the business(some got lucky, some got in because they know someone in the industry, or..... they were extremely talented XD)

I do enjoy American comics, but the "house" styles of the artwork do match up with my own. A lot of editors do not like to see manga. I have practiced realism and other styles and it has helped over all with my artistic ability but I just enjoy drawing manga much more. I don't know if it is the way I grew up or what but I find much more fulfillment in drawing in the manga/anime style.

I would like to go into self publishing one day if I can build up enough support but I see myself working with others inside a room. Working for a company.

Plus I think storyboard is right up my alley. Animated shows like SVTFOE and Steven Universe have inspired me also. I want to do "creator owned" stuff as well.

So, any tips. Have any of you worked in the industry before?
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10th Jan 2017, 6:42 AM #2
HeSerpenty♀

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I haven't worked in the industry but I went to school for a while intending to. If there's one things my teachers taught me its that the most important thing you can do to get in is make connections.

Going TO school is the best way to do that if you don't already know someone. You will have teachers who have worked on disney movies, tv shows etc... and if you work hard and do a good job and get on their good side, they will help you out-- give you numbers to call, tips on how to get in that outsiders wouldn't know.

If school isn't an option (and one should reeeeally really think really hard about it before jumping in to an art school if it IS an option. LOTS of debt, little work window)....then you have to work double overtime to become really REALLY freakin' good X"D. ANd you have to do work to try and make connections a different way---go to conventions for example. Have some pros at the booths critique your portfolio-- maybe you'll impress one of them. Maybe they'll help ya out.

The art industry is huuugely competitive. This is how I realized that it wasn't for me X'D. I'm a competitive person naturally and all and I could succeed in that way... but I like to ENJOY doing art. I would not enjoy doing it professionally like that X"D. In fact I went through a big depression during this time.
I am sooo much happier working a JOB that I can be done with after my shift and then I can go home and do art. But with art JOBS... you have deadlines you HAVE to meet (none of that "well ok class I know I said I wouldn't accept late homework but since you're all not done you can have an extra day" stuff) or lots of money will be lost.
Storyboarding for a show, the stakes are higher because you have a release date to worry about and storyboarding is the first thing that needs to be done once the characters and everything are all designed.

Thankfully tho...storyboarding is one of the few things in animation that isn't outsourced (yet :/).... so it's good that that's the field ya wanna get into! I really enjoyed story-boarding myself! I use what I learned in that class in my comic quite a bit! <33

Hahaha wow I"m sorry this got to being a huge post. I hope any of it helped!
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10th Jan 2017, 7:33 AM #3
Deo♂

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Right now i'm working on a small animation studio and there are several things that might help you get into the industry easier.(of course, this is from an animator perspective, not a comic artist one, but most of the points overlap)

The first one is that you need to know more than one thing related to what you want to do. For example, i love to make 3D models and i got an internship at the studio i was working at because they needed a 3D modeler. But i also knew how to make post-production and animation, so when the project they hired me for was canned, instead of cancelling my internship they just moved me to another project. The same might or will happen to you, specially with smaller studios. The lack of people will force you to do other things. For example, all of our artists(3) work as storyboarders, concept artists and animators.

Other point to have in mind as a storyboarder is that you have to adapt your style to the requirements of the client. Most of the time(if not all of the time, unless you work for a really big studio, like disney or pixar) you won't have the ability to create whatever you want. Either the client comes with a design in mind or another artist made the concept art or you end up collaborating with another studio in a joint operation. When this happens you will have to use the art style that your bosses give you because in the storyboard the animators and anyone related to the project will see that they can do with the assets they have/will create and what will be needed to be changed.

Adding to what HeSerpenty said, creating contacts/connections is a two edged sword. Yes, you can create a lot of contacts that can help you get into the industry, but if you screw it up, not only your name gets tainted, they name of the other person can be put into risk too because they allowed you to get in.

Also, rumors spread fast. If for one reason or another you end in a bad relationship with someone on the industry, the people that support that person will close the doors to you because you offended their friend and taking into consideration that artists are emotional, it will take a lot of time to rebuild those burn bridges.

Finally, don't be afraid to apply for an internship at a studio, no matter how small it is. The amount of stuff you learn in that time is the best experience you can have. Not only you'll make connections by virtue of working there and interacting with everyone, but it can help you jump to a bigger studio(because now you have experience, people and works that shows them what you know).
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10th Jan 2017, 7:38 AM #4
defo18♂

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HeSerpenty:I haven't worked in the industry but I went to school for a while intending to. If there's one things my teachers taught me its that the most important thing you can do to get in is make connections.

Going TO school is the best way to do that if you don't already know someone. You will have teachers who have worked on disney movies, tv shows etc... and if you work hard and do a good job and get on their good side, they will help you out-- give you numbers to call, tips on how to get in that outsiders wouldn't know.

If school isn't an option (and one should reeeeally really think really hard about it before jumping in to an art school if it IS an option. LOTS of debt, little work window)....then you have to work double overtime to become really REALLY freakin' good X"D. ANd you have to do work to try and make connections a different way---go to conventions for example. Have some pros at the booths critique your portfolio-- maybe you'll impress one of them. Maybe they'll help ya out.

The art industry is huuugely competitive. This is how I realized that it wasn't for me X'D. I'm a competitive person naturally and all and I could succeed in that way... but I like to ENJOY doing art. I would not enjoy doing it professionally like that X"D. In fact I went through a big depression during this time.
I am sooo much happier working a JOB that I can be done with after my shift and then I can go home and do art. But with art JOBS... you have deadlines you HAVE to meet (none of that "well ok class I know I said I wouldn't accept late homework but since you're all not done you can have an extra day" stuff) or lots of money will be lost.
Storyboarding for a show, the stakes are higher because you have a release date to worry about and storyboarding is the first thing that needs to be done once the characters and everything are all designed.

Thankfully tho...storyboarding is one of the few things in animation that isn't outsourced (yet :/).... so it's good that that's the field ya wanna get into! I really enjoyed story-boarding myself! I use what I learned in that class in my comic quite a bit! <33

Hahaha wow I"m sorry this got to being a huge post. I hope any of it helped!

I am in school right now, though I've taken one art class so far because of transportation issues. I go to a community college, but the main campus is where all the good classes are and i have no ride there so I'm getting the core classes out of the way first.

Where did you work and why did you stop if you don't mind me asking?

Merged Doublepost:

Deo:Right now i'm working on a small animation studio and there are several things that might help you get into the industry easier.(of course, this is from an animator perspective, not a comic artist one, but most of the points overlap)

The first one is that you need to know more than one thing related to what you want to do. For example, i love to make 3D models and i got an internship at the studio i was working at because they needed a 3D modeler. But i also knew how to make post-production and animation, so when the project they hired me for was canned, instead of cancelling my internship they just moved me to another project. The same might or will happen to you, specially with smaller studios. The lack of people will force you to do other things. For example, all of our artists(3) work as storyboarders, concept artists and animators.

Other point to have in mind as a storyboarder is that you have to adapt your style to the requirements of the client. Most of the time(if not all of the time, unless you work for a really big studio, like disney or pixar) you won't have the ability to create whatever you want. Either the client comes with a design in mind or another artist made the concept art or you end up collaborating with another studio in a joint operation. When this happens you will have to use the art style that your bosses give you because in the storyboard the animators and anyone related to the project will see that they can do with the assets they have/will create and what will be needed to be changed.

Adding to what HeSerpenty said, creating contacts/connections is a two edged sword. Yes, you can create a lot of contacts that can help you get into the industry, but if you screw it up, not only your name gets tainted, they name of the other person can be put into risk too because they allowed you to get in.

Also, rumors spread fast. If for one reason or another you end in a bad relationship with someone on the industry, the people that support that person will close the doors to you because you offended their friend and taking into consideration that artists are emotional, it will take a lot of time to rebuild those burn bridges.

Finally, don't be afraid to apply for an internship at a studio, no matter how small it is. The amount of stuff you learn in that time is the best experience you can have. Not only you'll make connections by virtue of working there and interacting with everyone, but it can help you jump to a bigger studio(because now you have experience, people and works that shows them what you know).


I do want to intern somewhere. Whether it be a comic company or an animation studio. But I do not know how to go about doing that. I have no money and I am in school right now. The summer is the ideal time I suppose but there is still the money barrier if I go into an unpaid internship.

Any tips for that?
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10th Jan 2017, 7:59 AM #5
Deo♂

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Well, in my case in order to graduate I had to have an obligatory 4 months internship with a studio. I don't know if it's the same with your school, but it never hurts to ask the teachers and school coordinators. But if they have no connections with an studio, you could always ask them if they could create such connection. Schools usually tend to agree with that kind of request and that becomes better for you because sometimes the arrangements they create with the studios involve some monetary aid to the intern.

You can also ask the studios if they have some kind of monetary aid; maybe DC has them, I definitely think Marvel doesn't, image is a mystery to me, but i know that its kind of common that the medium/big animation studios have some kind of aid for their interns. It never hurts to ask them directly.
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10th Jan 2017, 8:27 AM #6
HeSerpenty♀

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defo18:I am in school right now, though I've taken one art class so far because of transportation issues. I go to a community college, but the main campus is where all the good classes are and i have no ride there so I'm getting the core classes out of the way first.

Where did you work and why did you stop if you don't mind me asking?


Well, I never started working in the industry-- I realized before getting to that point that I wouldn't be happy there.
Deo is so right, it's extremely important to be well-rounded in more than just what you want to do! I was going to a pretty expensive school and made it through half the curriculum, the not-3D half, and worked my butt off to get perfect grades and on the good sides of all the teachers-- but when it came to the 3D modeling I just.could not. do it. Lolol I tried my best-- Lord how I tried my best. But I went from getting president's honor roll to being taken out to the hallway and told to drop the class before I fail it :P.
It was then that I realized....... media arts and animation wasn't for me XD. I'm not gonna sit there and double my debt retaking classes required to graduate doing something I HATED doing X"D/

I've done some different storyboard type freelance jobs (not for studios)...and that in of itself made me realize I'm only passionate about MY stuff XDD. I couldn't do anyone else's for a living :P.

Internship is an AWEsome way to get your foot in the door! Really should look into that if you're serious about working in the industry! ANd another great point Deo made about about rumors and reputation---that's true of any workplace but I would say especially that one!
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10th Jan 2017, 10:49 AM #7
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If you don't like drawing outside of your own style I think you're going to dislike drawing other peoples stuff for storyboarding just as much as american comics.
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10th Jan 2017, 10:59 AM #8
defo18♂

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I know, but that is something that I have worked to change. I have practiced realism alot and "measuring" which my art teacher stressed like crazy and it really helps.

But alot of shows and projects nowadays are anime influenced which is what I would love to work on
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10th Jan 2017, 11:46 AM #9
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Well, the first bit of advice I'd give you is that you can't stick to anime and manga. You simply can't. I enjoy drawing it too, but an anime storyboard artist in America is going to have particular difficulty finding a job. If you want to work in the animation industry as an artist, you've got to be able to draw much, much better than the position requires in many cases. The big studios hire people that have portfolios showing off not only storyboarding capabilities, but life drawing. Life drawings show that you understand anatomy, which is very important when showing characters in motion.

Basically, you've got to work. There are a LOT of artists out there who can do exactly what the studios need. Go to one CTN-X convention and you see. They're everywhere. So you've got to work hard. You've got to get out of your comfort zone and learn to be flexible.

Get better at everything. If you love what you do, you'll have no problem putting the work it. If you don't, you may want to consider a different path.
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10th Jan 2017, 1:13 PM #10
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Storyboards, as a general rule don't have to be detailed works of art. I don't think they actually pay top dollar to get a specialised artist for the storyboards. I'd think some other member of the production crew would draw them. They only need to show the type of shot, who's in it (with enough detail to tell characters / objcts apart) and some arrows for motion and camera movement. Maybe right at the top, for animated fims or something it's different, but I don't think people are living off of being "a storyboarder"
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10th Jan 2017, 2:54 PM #11
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I wish I had some awesome advice to give you, but I don't work in the industry and don't know a whole lot. I too dropped out of an animation major in college because it was highly competitive (and I was just attending a regular state college.) I highly recommend surfing through Chris Oatley's website and podcasts. He used to work for Disney and interviews a number of industry artists (many of which do story boarding and concept design.) Connections really are everything in the art industry. If you haven't already started hanging out at ConceptArt.org, you might want to try that too. Not only will you see other industry artists on there, but they will c&c your work to hell (and make you cry and hate yourself too...it's not for the feint of heart.) But yeah, best of luck to you! Btw, I just posted a link to this book in another thread, but it pertains to storyboarding-Check out the book Framed Ink: Drawing and Composition for Visual Storytelling.
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10th Jan 2017, 3:40 PM #12
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The Letter M:Storyboards, as a general rule don't have to be detailed works of art. I don't think they actually pay top dollar to get a specialised artist for the storyboards. I'd think some other member of the production crew would draw them. They only need to show the type of shot, who's in it (with enough detail to tell characters / objcts apart) and some arrows for motion and camera movement. Maybe right at the top, for animated fims or something it's different, but I don't think people are living off of being "a storyboarder"


I recall a story from a Futurama or Simpsons commentary, they had a storyboard artist who drew very intricate storyboards, took the time to finish and colour them and they looked like they belonged in a comic. In the end they had to fire them because they couldnt keep up that level of detail, unusual for just storyboards, and meet deadlines. I think they say they hired them again to work on the comics.

Good DVDs for animation extras btw, Futurama and Adventure Time, both contain storyboards and character design extras.
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10th Jan 2017, 4:43 PM #13
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I think the story board artist would be kin to an architect. Ultimately, you will need to lay out the blueprints so that everyone who is making the movie, can see just exactly what they are going to animate.

I would not pursue this because it's an easier art form with it appearing to require a less finished product~ because I'm sure they will want a portfolio and connections as would any other artist they hire.

Practice the art of expression. You'll need very animated faces and poses with only a still image.

Take a look at all the "behind the scenes" story board info on DVD extras. Also take a look at Skybox You might look into doing something similar to practice the art of story-boarding.


If you want to get into movies or shows, I would suggest making yourself as useful as possible. Don't just focus on story-boarding. Take classes in animation, concept design, literature and theater. If you can, I'd take photography and cameraman related classes as well. Maybe even double major in something movie/show related. I don't know that studios hire a team of people who make a bunch of movies, I think they usually hire a team per project. At least until you've established yourself. Get very active online, especially DA. Draw lots and lots of fan art to practice drawing outside your own style. <-- I have a cousin who is interested in getting into animation, and a piece of fan art she drew caught the attention of a man involved with some major cartoon studio through Deviant Art... so yeh, you'll want that.

Also get involved with local people. Look up conventions or competitions concerning animation and see if you can get with a team of people.

Essentially? No time like the present, get invested now.
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10th Jan 2017, 6:59 PM #14
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Thank you everyone for the great advice. This was a great eye opener, as they say, nothing ventured nothing gained.

I guess my biggest fear is the "how to do all of this."

Alot of you have suggested taking more classes related to the industry such as design and animation and concept art but I'm not sure if I will be taking those classes soon.(My college situation)

Also, networking. I have met a few people at cons and stuff but very few and they are kinda like me, people who are trying to break in into the studio.

I met this small time publisher, and he gave me his card and stuff and I submitted some of my work, but got no word back, which is understandable as there is no guarantee he would pick me up......bastard. XD

I have gotten better at life drawing and I apply it to my style but I do need to get into the habit of doing it more.

Have any of you tried going into the field of animation or comics? Please tell me your experiences.
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10th Jan 2017, 10:33 PM #15
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Hi. Don't expect rejection letters or feedback. It's tough but even pros don't get them. Storyboarding is a visualization skill first. Drawing second. If you cannot imagine things and then put it up as a drawings that makes sense, then you cannot be a storyboardaer. Being able to draw will not make you a great storyboarder.

I've been at this for years and I get rejected too and sometimes still struggle with things. Don't give up because you got rejected once. You have to push through. You'll get rejected many times over!

Your drawings will get better but you may not be ready for a pro job yet. I definitely wasn't when I was 20. I don't know many 20 years old who are pro-level.
11th Jan 2017, 1:15 AM #16
defo18♂

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Oh no I haven't given up yet. I plan on submitting again.

Have you worked in the business?
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11th Jan 2017, 9:46 PM #17
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Yes, worked in animation, still have my own studio - Toon Doctor. Worked on tons of projects but now in grad school.

I teach storyboards at the university.
11th Jan 2017, 10:41 PM #18
defo18♂

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Do you offer tutorials or internships. Im sure me and alor of peopke here would love to learn from under you
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11th Jan 2017, 10:52 PM #19
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What is important to remember about storyboarding is that you're basically drawing the rough of the entire film/episode. You have a script and it is up to you to make it into an interesting finished product. What this means is you need to understand a large amount of cinematography as well as mastering gesture drawings. People need to be able to tell, at a glance, what the angle is, which characters are on the scene, where they are, which emotions the characters are acting, and where the lights/darks are if it is that type of scene. you also need to understand how much time it takes to talk. You don't want to plan a pan scene of a character talking for 5 seconds when the lines will take 10 seconds.

As the artist you need to do all of this in a short amount time and then do several hundreds more panels per ten minutes. Typically you want a panel for every 4th second and then go into detail on the important key frames between those.

There is a LOT to consider as a story-boarder. If it is something you're interested in you'll be best reading up on how framing works in movies and shows; how to create a scene. Then analyze movies so you can see how they pulled off moments of power with just a character, camera, and a background.
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12th Jan 2017, 12:52 AM #20
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My advice for animation: Create models for your characters. Draw them in lots of different poses and expressions, and try examining real video footage to help you create tweens between the different poses/expressions.
Forum > Webcomic & Art discussion > I want to go into Storyboarding. Any tips or guidance?
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