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Storyboard Artist - Career Profile

Written by Michelle BurtonJanuary 4, 2015
Storyboard Artist
Did you know.... In 2013 and 2014, 9 out of the 10 movies nominated for an Oscar Award in the Best Visual Effects category had graduates from The Digital Animation & Visual Effects School (DAVE School at Universal Studios Orlando) in the credits. This year (2015), four of the five nominated films - Captain America: Winter Solider, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, Gaurians of the Galaxy, and X-Men Days of Future Past - included DAVE School graduates.
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What does a Storyboard Artist do? Where does a Storyboard Artist Work? ACR takes a look:

About Storyboard Artists

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Storyboard artists draw storyboards for animated features, films, television commercials and other ad campaigns, music videos, and video games. The storyboard artist begins creating the storyboard after a concept or script has been written. The storyboard presents the “action” in a series of scenes (panel by panel), which allows filmmakers, advertisers, and producers to evaluate the project before beginning production. Storyboards are also used to provide direction during production. 

Storyboard Artist Jobs

Storyboard artists draw scenes by hand or computer. They might sketch in black and white or they may produce full color storyboards manually or by computer. Also called “storyboarders,” storyboard artists work with producers, directors, and film crew from start to finish by sketching scenes during initial meetings, and editing or eliminating scenes as the project progresses. Storyboard artists may work in a film or other production studio, in an office setting, or even a home studio. 

Schools to Consider:

Storyboard Artist Salaries

Storyboard artist salaries vary greatly based on experience, benefits, the size and type of company, industry, geographic location, and other factors. For example, according to Indeed, storyboard artists in Burbank, California—the “Media Capital of the World,” average $86,000 per year. Head east to New York—considered the “Capital of the Modern World,” and storyboard artists average $105,000 per year, according to Indeed.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics does not report salary and employment information for storyboard artists as a single group, so another way to get an idea of what storyboard artists earn is to review earnings for illustrators. According to the Bureau, the average salary for illustrators is $44,850 per year. The highest earning illustrators average $91,200 per year and the lowest earners average $18,450 per year. Some story board artists are self-employed, so they may earn quite a bit more or less than the average salaries listed. 

 Becoming a Storyboard Artist

While formal education is not required for all storyboard artist jobs, many employer’s prefer to hire artists with a bachelor’s or master’s degree in art, fine arts, illustration, digital art or other related area. Experience is preferred as well. Aspiring storyboard artists may obtain valuable experience through an internship or entry-level position. Some storyboard artists with exceptional talent, but little formal training may qualify for some entry-level positons. 

Job Trends for Storyboard Artists

Employment of fine artists such as illustrators is projected to grow four percent for the 2012-2022 decade. This means, the talent pool will increase from 28,800 in 2012 to 29,900 by 2022. Projected growth for this occupation is slower than the average for all occupations. However, according to the Bureau, “demand for illustrators who work on a computer will increase, as media companies use more detailed images and backgrounds in their designs.” Further, “new opportunities are expected to arise, as the number of electronic magazines, Internet-based publications, and video games grows.”

Awesome Animation Fact: When it comes to creating likable characters, sometimes it’s best to go back to the drawing board until you get it right. According to Yahoo!7, one of the world’s most loved animated characters, Woody from Toy Story, was originally written to be a type of ‘sarcastic jerk’ who frequently insulted other toys throughout the film. Fortunately, Disney deemed this character totally unwatchable and halted film production until a more appealing personality for Woody was developed.