Storyboard Artist – Telling Stories in Pictures

Andy Porter Behind the Scenes Leave a Comment

Introducing George, Storyboard Artist

“Unsung” really doesn’t say it. The storyboard artist is so invisible he or she is practically a ghost, flitting into the production company or agency’s offices, usually at short notice and coaxing ideas that might be brilliantly well defined or somewhat less than coherent to logical, full colour engrossing life.

My usual routine is something like:

1. Have idea for film
2. Draft concept in words and stare at blank storyboard template
3. Draw a series of barely decipherable sketches with arrows
4. Sit down with GEORGE for 5 or 10 minutes to attempt to brief him
5. Exit to work on other things/go to meetings/do expenses/write blog articles
6. Review early version of storyboard and change characters, wardrobe options, locations and the order of some scenes
7. Stand and admire 30 or 40 meticulously assembled frames that reflect perfectly what was in my mind all along – if only I’d known it

Stages 3 to 7 normally all happen in one extended day.

Being a storyboard artist means working quickly as well as accurately. On the one hand I really envy directors who can draw, on the other I appreciate that the early collaboration with a dedicated master of his craft invariably makes my films better than they would otherwise be. George has drawn hundreds of storyboards, maybe thousands. Tens of them have been for me. So he understands what I am trying to express almost telepathically and can translate my half-baked scribbles and well-meaning prose into visual sequences that make sense and always bear an uncanny resemblance to the finished film.


Clients love them. They have helped us win some big pieces of business. That’s because the storyboard bridges the gap between what the client can imagine will be in his film and what it will actually look like as it progresses scene by scene. In a process full of smoke and mirrors it’s reassuringly real. At the same time, unlike something cobbled together with stills or scraps of imagery from the web, a well put together, hand illustrated storyboard has a little magic to it. It’s personal and in its own way, without being pretentious, it’s a little piece of art.

Imerys Corporate Film Storyboard


Technology has been great for George and the few other professionals out there who can do this amazing thing. With a tablet and software he can save a lot of time by re-sizing drawings for different frames, adding colour washes and so on.
It’s also a lot easier than lugging around countless magic markers, pads, heavy illustration reference books and portfolio cases.

Once the storyboard drawings are finished we can take them instantly from Photoshop into Keynote to finalise presentation copies or even into the edit suite to create an animatic, overlaying text and adding music, voice, transition effects and so on. But the hand that wields the stylus now, with its multiple brush options is the same steady hand that, following a formal training at Art College, for 30 years or so used real brushes, pencils and magic markers – and all that experience can’t be replaced.

Imerys HAR 3G Storybard



Imerys HAR 3G Film


So thanks to George, and Jack and Ken – and all those other remaining unsung heroic ghosts out there whose craft makes our job as film makers so much easier and more controlled. What they illustrate, we produce – and long may that continue.
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Andy Porter

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