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Become a Storyboard Artist: Education and Career Guide

Oct 01, 2019

How to Become a Storyboard Artist

Storyboard artists help develop a story and characters through pictures, or storyboards, during the beginning planning stages for movies, advertisements, television shows, video games, and more. These artists often fall in the category of multimedia artists and animators, and storyboard artist requirements typically consist of formal education and practice/experience. Explore the steps to become a storyboard artist in more detail here.

Step 1: Storyboard Artist Degree

Usually, multimedia artists and animators, including storyboard artists, need at least a bachelor's degree. While there is not a specific degree for storyboarding, aspiring artists may pursue a wide range of artistic majors, such as fine arts, animation, game design and development, or other related fields. Some of these degree programs, such as a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree program are even available in online formats.

There are several degree programs, including Bachelor of Arts (BA) or Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) degree programs in animation, that require coursework in storyboarding to train students in concept and story development. Although there is not typically a storyboarding major, some schools may offer a storyboarding minor. In this minor students may take coursework that discusses topics in character design, drawing for storyboards, and concept development.

Step 2: Skill Development

Storyboard artists should continuously be practicing and improving their animating and storytelling skills. Artists may accomplish this through self-study or additional coursework in areas like graphics, drawing, and animation. Developing a range of skills in the field can also be helpful in making a diverse portfolio (see below).

Step 3: Build a Portfolio

Typically, any kind of artist works to create a professional portfolio that holds an array of examples of their artistic work. This portfolio is used to demonstrate their skills and abilities to potential clients or employers. Artists can regularly update and add to their portfolio with new pieces that demonstrate new skills or expertise in a particular area.

Step 4: Advancement

Some storyboard artists may wish to advance their career by pursuing more supervisory positions in the field, usually after obtaining so many years of work experience. These artists may move on to become producers, directors, or art directors and oversee various aspects of a project. Typically, these professionals need to have additional time-management, leadership, and teamwork skills.

What Is a Storyboard Artist?

A storyboard artist is responsible for helping a client, director, or producer picture the final version of a project by creating a step-by-step, visual process of the project through storyboards. Their work must include story and character development, as well as information concerning details, like backgrounds. This work may require them to:

  • Meet and discuss projects with clients, directors, etc.
  • Conduct research for projects
  • Work closely with other animators/creative staff to develop a story
  • Utilize computer programs to create images
  • Make changes to storyboards based on client/director feedback

How Much Do Storyboard Artists Make?

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that the median salary for multimedia artists and animators was $72,520, as of 2018. The top industries for these artists and animators included motion picture and video industries, computer systems designs, and advertising.

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