For any Aspiring Story Artists

3 min read

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If any of you are striving for, considering, or might even just have an inkling to one day work as a Story Artist, I'd like to share what I've learned with you.

For those of you who don't know - "Story Artist" is the official job title of the folks who make storyboards for film or television. They plan out the cinematography, through sketches, of each scene or episode. On some shows, like Steven Universe (or the show I am currently working on), Story Artists also write the episodes (what is sometimes called a board-driven show - where the storyboards dictate the story, rather than a script dictating it.)

Story Artists draw, a lot, even if the show is 3D (as the boards are still sketched in 2D.) You also get to be a direct part of the storytelling itself. If you've done comics or like comics, it draws off of very similar skills and thought processes. And, for the most part, the job pays well! In case any of you are wondering if there's a job that would involve all those different things, story artist is one that does.

I myself work as a story revisionist now (the show I'm working on comes out in January on Netflix!) which, as a role, can vary from studio to studio. At Kuku Studios where I work, my job mostly involves doing fixes and minor edits to the storyboards the story artists have done, to make sure that they fit into the episode's allotted time while still flowing coherently. It means I get to draw a lot, be involved in the story process (I get to sit in on the pitch meetings and contribute, just like any other member of the story team!) and I get to hang out with a really amazing, talented, fun group of people all day! Seriously my coworkers are the best :D So if you want to be a story artist, you might want to consider also applying to story revisionist positions, since it's a related job with a great deal of overlap.

While I was trying to get a job, I emailed a lot of story artists and asked them questions and advice. I'd recommend doing the same, if you want to try and get into this field! I took what I learned from them, and I took the most coherent bits and assembled it into a document. It's here, if any of you would like to have it. It has some storyboarding how-to resources; a list of recommended books; some info on Action, Drama, and Comedy storyboards, and some video references too. Check it out!

docs.google.com/document/d/1r3…

And I'll just open it up - if you want to ask me any questions, you can message me here on DA, comment below, or email me at dragonwolfrooke@gmail.com.

Good luck!
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© 2019 - 2021 DragonwolfRooke
Comments9
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MintStarMari's avatar
Quick question. How much detail does eacch sketch need?
DragonwolfRooke's avatar
It depends a lot on the project. The rule of thumb, as far as I've seen, is CLARITY. A sketch could be a stick figure or a square with dot eyes - as long as the frame reads clearly and you can tell what's happening. A lot of shows prefer having rougher, looser drawings rather than more polished sketches, but other shows want more in their sketches. If you're a story artist you'll also tend to work very rough, while in some places it's the story revisionist's job to go in and redraw panels "on model", with clean drawings that look like the actual show. It varies a lot from project to project I think, but as I've only worked at one place so far, I've yet to see how accurate that it.

But yeah, clarity is key!!
MintStarMari's avatar
Thanks for the info. I'm still a rookie at storyboarding so your advice will be useful.

Also, which is the show you're working on? I'd like to know.
DragonwolfRooke's avatar
I'm working on a preschool show that's coming out on Netflix in January! I'll post more about it once it actually comes out. It's for a younger demographic but it's got beautiful animation and is very entertaining and fun to work on!
MintStarMari's avatar
Ok. I'd love to see how it turns out. Good luck with your job Sarah :D
Zeldeon's avatar
Thank you so much!
DragonwolfRooke's avatar
11george11's avatar
Honestly, this is a really nice thing to do, offering support to people like that. I know it probably won't apply but if you ever think of going into teaching feel free to ask XD
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