Making A Storyboard: One Artist’s Process


I guess I kind of missed a week there, didn’t I? Oh well.

I’ve been tackling a whole whack of pain in my shoulder that is tendinitis, but could be worse than that. So if I wasn’t up all the hours of the night writhing in pain, I was trying to sleep on the couch propped up with pillows for a week.

Not the makings of much creativity, I’ll tell ya that. And I couldn’t tolerate sitting in front of the computer at all.

But after much Ibuprofen and much ice, I’m now mobile. And can finally dress myself without screaming. Yay.

Anyhoo, we’re going to try something neat here.

A very whacky and all around nice-guy reader of mine, Aidan Casserly,  has started a series of blog posts on his own site about the process of making a storyboard for his portfolio.

Then he bought a Mini Critique (smart boy) because he knows how valuable feedback can be. He wanted my permission to post my feedback on his blog which I had no problem with.

But then I thought it could be cool to post it on my blog too. Partly for the great learning experience for you and partly for the easy content…me being a lazy ass and all.

Kind of like a ‘live feedback’ dealy where I’ll post his post here and add my two cents along the way. It will about the storyboard process in general and about his work specifically where appropriate.

What a brave soul he is.

So here’s Aidan’s first post from his blog. I’ll add a bit more at the end.

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Let’s Make A Storyboard! Now!

So far I’ve been using this blog to post boards from my archives (and there’s a LOT), but because I’ve been looking to make some new storyboards I thought I would take you all along for the ride and show how I go about making these things.

This is going to be something I will post along the way, so if you want to comment or throw your own feedback in there this will be the time!

Where Does It All Begin?

It begins with an idea. Doesn’t have to be the greatest idea in history, just a spark to get the creativity going (as the brilliant Barron Storey taught me, “If you don’t have a good idea, a stupid one will do”).

The tricky thing with boarding a short story, something that can be used in a portfolio or whatnot, is not taking on too much at one time, so I’ll put off boarding Moby Dick for now.

My main goal is to board a scene, just a short but well-done sample for my portfolio.

I want to keep it to about 48 boards (6 boards on 8 pages, or 8 on 6 if space permits);  some of my recent stories were only about 24 boards each, but let’s have more room to play.

The Story:  Scapula, a supervillain, breaks into a high-security prison to release his evil friends.

That’s it.

I’ve done two Scapula storyboards previously (HELPLESS and THE SINISTER MONSTER DOOM LEGION VS. RANDY), but this time it isn’t going to be a huge story, or even a full one.

Let’s see what we can do with just a scene or two.

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Thanks Aidan.

Stuff to keep in mind is that the story is his own original idea, and the characters are also his own. He is also doing this just for his portfolio.

This can be a different experience than working for a studio with their characters and working from a script on a deadline. Your mindset may be a bit different and your stress level may be lower. Just saying. : )

And it’s going to bug me to high heaven, so I’ll just say it: 48 PANELS,  not BOARDS (sorry Aidan). I consider (and pretty much every animation studio too) each individual frame a PANEL and the whole thing put together, a BOARD or STORYBOARD.

Just wanted to get that clear and to give Aidan his first jab. Hee hee. (He may be regretting this already.)

I’ll be posting up the next post in his series on Monday, so you don’t have to wait too long for that one. It will be about brainstorming and thumbnailing, so look out for that!

Should be fun.


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13 thoughts on “Making A Storyboard: One Artist’s Process

  1. Aidan Casserly

    Oh, Lordy, Lordy…what have I gotten myself into?! But anywho, this is going to be a lot of fun, and yes, a tad unnerving working in front of the wide world of the Internet (with plenty of fellow storyboarders watching my every move….gadzooks).

    Very true point Karen makes, about using your own characters as opposed to a studio’s; the major difference is what fits into the proper context for the specific character, story, or studio you are working on. It may be fine for me to blow off Scapula’s head with a shotgun (since he’s my character), but I wouldn’t necessarily do this to Homer Simpson or Pikachu. Be appropriate to the story and director. More of this is covered on my next post, “Brainstorming and Thumbnails”.

    Panel, board, little box-dealy…not the same thing after all. Learned something already! If that isn’t worth the price of the Mini package deal, then what is? ACT NOW, folks!

    But honestly, seriously, I get the feeling this is going to be a blast. Wish me luck, everyone!

  2. Ivanator

    This is really great post, and a great idea, Karen (with much less effort on creating a new post). This is exactly what I’m looking for a board that is created for portfolio purposes. Thanks Aidan for sharing. Cannot wait for the next one.

  3. Chris Kawagiwa

    This sounds like a great idea. No better way to understand something’s inner workings than to watch it being built from the ground up! And Aidan’s expressive characters look ready to jump out and move.
    will stay tuned~


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