I’ve been getting this question a lot lately. Here’s a recent response I sent to an aspiring story artist:
I usually tell people that story artists need to think of themselves as writers who just happen to draw. Even though the drawings are important for conveying cinematic shots and emotional clarity, they’re the last step to a storytelling foundation.
To show off your story artist abilities in a portfolio, make sure to include a few, short, storyboard samples. A good sample has a beginning and an end, rather than just a segment of a longer story with no conclusion. (A sequence from a full movie usually works as well, because a sequence will often have a set-up and a payoff.)
For interesting storytelling, it helps if you push to extremes: try creating a character who stumbles into his/her worst fear. As an audience, we love to see how a character deals with conflict…and it’s even more interesting when we know that the conflict is this character’s worst nightmare. (Not every story has to be this extreme, but thinking in this way will help you gauge if your story is engaging.)
Storyboard panels do not have to be polished illustrations. They just have to be clear. In fact, if you polish them and clutter them too much, they’re a turn-off. I knew a storyboard artist who would tightly clean up and color everything in his panels like comic book pages. If there was a poster hanging on the wall in the background, he’d draw the image on the poster and color it in. Unless that poster in the background is a story point and is needed for that specific shot, it’s more of a distraction. Focus on the point of the shot. If the moment is to drive home the emotion of the character, focus on the face of the character. If the moment is meant to make the audience feel how alone a character is, draw a small character sitting in a wide environment. If the moment calls for one character to intimidate another character, let the intimidating one take up more space on the screen, overpowering the other.
I hope this helps you get started. Don’t be afraid to try thumbnailing some stories very quickly so that you can edit and rework them before you draw your full-sized panels for your portfolio. It’ll save you time in the end.
(This is a very surface-level answer, as there’s so much that goes into being a story artist. If you have more specific questions, let me know and I’ll try to answer some when I get time.)
If you like the comic, how about making one of your own? Guest writers and artists are always welcome. Here’s how you can get in on this sweet action:
Writers: Send me an email or message with your idea or script. Storyboards are also great, but not necessary. If I think the readers will enjoy it and find it funny, I’ll make the comic and include your name in the credit! Easy-peasy.
Artists: If you want to write and draw, email me a storyboard. Doesn’t have to be anything fancy, just want to see your style. If I like it, you’ll get the go-ahead to start drawing the final comic!
If you suck at writing and just want to draw, email me some samples and I’ll hook you up with a script or pair you with a writer.
My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org, so get moving!
It’s such a good community! At least to certain points. But a huge part of the community is super open and accepting, and that’s something I’m SUPER grateful for!
Thank you to the artists!
Your art is super rad, keep it up! Without each and every one of oyu, we wouldn’t have as amazing art as we do! Every single drawing matters!
Thank you to the editors!
This is for everyone who makes videos, whether they’re a mashup of your favourite parts from the eddisodes, or they’re filled with effects or whatnot! I’m so glad you make content for the fandom! <3
Thank you to the animators!
Yo, let’s be honest, animating is SUPER HARD!!! Whether you do storyboards, small samples that never become more than samples, or you do the big gollies, you’re super amazing!! Thank oyu so much for your time and effort!
And thank you to the community, and all the ones I didn’t mention!
Without the whole lot of you, we wouldn’t have a community at all! We’re all fans of the same cartoon, and we keep Edd’s world spinning every day. It’s spinning faster and faster every day in fact, new people join this fandom every day, and we should welcome them with arms spread wide!
So thank you to every single one of you individuals! You are all amazing! <3