Storyboarding: Enriching an All-too-familiar Process (Reflecting on Readings)

Image credit:
(Alice in Wonderland storyboards are the property of the Walt Disney Corporation. Image is used for learning purposes and to illustrate content discussed below.)


What follows are my takeaways from chapter 3 of Liz Blazer’s “Animated Storytelling” and chapter 3 of Jon Krasner’s “Motion Graphic Design.”

Click here for my thoughts on chapter 2 of each book.


In Chapter 3 of Blazer’s Animated Storytelling, she guides readers through the process of storyboarding one’s work. Storyboarding is the process in which one sketches out shots of a story (animated, film, etc.) in order to plan out composition and story beats.

Due to my previous studies in film, storyboarding is an all-too-familiar process to me, as I’ve drawn out dozens of storyboards for past projects for my high school and college film courses. Despite my past knowledge of the process, Blazer’s chapter offers an incredible amount of information which has enriched my understanding of storyboarding significantly.

In the past, I had always approached storyboards as a rough sketch of how I planned on shooting various scenes; my storyboards were only rough sketches, and they were typically left unchanged and without consideration for improvement. As was indicated in this chapter, this one-and-done approach to storyboarding is simply not enough.

When it comes to storyboarding, revision is key. That is, once you’ve completed your first draft of boards, analyze them and note areas where improvements can be made. Determine where a board may need to be revised in order to better clarify a story beat, give a better sense of shot composition, etc. Once these improvements are noted, revise boards where necessary. This is vital to planning a successful piece, and, as Blazer emphasizes in the reading, this revision process may be repeated multiple times until the creator has a sufficient set of clear, detailed boards.

In addition to revision, Blazer also stresses how good-quality storyboards are essential in planning out continuity between shots. That is, storyboards can help one to keep continuity between space, composition, movement, direction, and logic within a picture, and said continuity is crucial.

Following Blazer’s invaluable info, author Jon Krasner adds a nice history lesson in chapter 3 of Motion Graphic Design. In it, he details a brief history of motion graphics and their use in television media across the past several decades. Krasner includes several notable examples, including innovative works done for Cartoon Network, MTV, and the like.


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