So I want so be a story boarder later in life and I was wondering if you had any general advice for learning to story board? Also I read that there is some writing involved, is that true? And if so what does that include? Because I'm lost in the writing department, but anyway, love your art and thank you!
Hey, that’s awesome that you are interested in storyboarding! I can say from my own experience that it is a very creative career that is challenging and rewarding at the same time. I have never worked in feature, so my advice is coming from a TV perspective. But the principals are the same.
General drawing advice that helped me:
First learn the rules, then break them how you want to.
Learn to draw the human body. Drawing people well is probably going to be your most useful technical tool in your toolbox, right up there with understanding the basics of perspective. Gesture drawing will be very useful for storyboarding.
Here is an unusual one: when composing shots draw your character first and build the background around them to fit the emotion of the scene. This helps me still because sometimes I can get caught up in the logistics of the background, the perspective, etc. What I learned from my wonderful perspective and layout teacher, Dan Hansen, was that it’s more important that an image feel right than be correct perspective. If it helps the scene feel moodier with more dramatic lighting, put the lighting in there and invent a way for it to be believable. Maybe a lamp got knocked over, or the window curtain blows open… As long as it feels right, that’s what matters.
Write your own stories. You don’t have to show anyone, but I believe it will help you with understanding what stories you enjoy telling, and you’ll develop a voice.
As far as how much writing is involved as a board artist, it sort of depends. TV boards can be scripted or board-driven. If it’s scripted, the dialog is mostly set and the story should be pretty solid by the time the artist receives it. The artist needs to interpret the script into awesome visuals that plus the story that is already there. For board-driven shows an outline is written instead of a script. Outlines are like scripts, except they are written in a short-story format. Dialog is looser, and the way the story is told can be interpreted by the board artist with a little more freedom.
If you’re a little lost with the writing part, don’t sweat it. Writing is like, really really hard. I dont consider myself a writer, but I enjoy it and I make it up as I go. But one book that I found pretty interesting, if maybe formulaic, was Story by Robert McKee. Check it out if you want?
Also study films shot by shot and do thumbnails for sequences you are interested in. I should do this more. It’s like eating veggies. I could always eat more veggies and it will only make me healthier…Lol
Anyways hope that helps a little bit! Go for it!