Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Story frames

I'm in the final planning stages for something I'm shooting next week, here's a peak at random frames from storyboards I've drawn to help with production.


Storyboarding has always been a standard, essential part of my process as an animator. Increasingly with live action shoots I find it helps to work things out in advance by boarding sequences as I would on an animated project.


The main difference is that I don't go into performances as much as I do with animation boards. That's what the actors bring on shoot day. The main purpose for live action boards is for me to figure out coverage - ie how many shots I need to tell the story, the type of shots that work best to create the feeling I want and then from a purely practical point; simply to figure out how to stage things interestingly without confusing the audience.


That last point is particularly relevant when staging a conversation between several characters in one room.


Any story artist will tell you that storyboards aren't meant to be pretty. They're functional pieces of visual reference designed to provide clear staging and direction to help tell your story. The process can be so iterative, it's best to keep things simple and free of detail. I scrapped four rounds of boards (about a hundred different drawings each time) before settling on the final configuration.


I have Sherm Cohen to thank for his terrific guidance on storyboarding - I've learned a tonne from this guy over the years. He's also a top bloke to hang out with in person.

Check out Sherm's blog Cartoon Snap and his rather excellent Storyboard Secrets DVD box set - an essential crash course for all aspiring or even established story artists. Film-makers, cartoonists and other visual storytellers would do well to check it out too. Follow Sherm on twitter for more storyboard goodies!


  1. I'm a big fan of Sherm's Storyboard Secrets DVDs too! Best money I ever spent...

    Nice storyboards!

  2. Hi Rafi -- thanks for the nice shout-out! And those live-action storyboards look really great (never seen you work in that style before )

    …and thank you to Jeremy, too :) You guys have brightened up my day!