How to Become a Storyboard Artist: Requirements & Training

What does it take to become a storyboard artist? Here are the key skills, education requirements and training you'll need to be aware of to get you started on this career path. Schools offering Art degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Career Information at a Glance

Storyboard artists visualize and sketch the ways in which shots will go together for a film, a piece of animation or a game. It's common for storyboard artists to have at least a bachelor's degree in something like art, drawing or animation before landing a job in the field. You'll find more information on the career in the table below.

Degree Preferred Bachelor's degree
Common Education Field of Study Animation, fine art, drawing
Key Skills Visualization, drawing, storytelling
Job Growth (2016-2026) 8% (for all multimedia artists and animators)*
Median Salary (2019) $67,500**

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **Payscale.com

What Do Storyboard Artists Do?

Do you know your favorite scene from The Lion King or that moment in your favorite game that brought you to tears? Those scenes started out as sketches by storyboard artists. Storyboard artists work with directors, writers and storytellers in a variety of industries -- including film, television, animation and gaming -- to help bring their vision to fruition. For instance, a storyboard artist might break down a scene that's in the script and decide it should be shot from below for the most impact. Or, they might come up with the idea of cutting to a reaction shot at the perfect moment for the greatest comedic effect.

Do You Need a Degree?

While there's not a degree or formal training that's required to get into the business (like, say, the field of medicine), it's certainly competitive and you'll have a much better chance with a bachelor's degree in a field like art, animation or film. A degree might teach you the basics of drawing, storytelling, film and other skills that you'll need to survive in the industry, so employers will know that you've got some of the basics covered going in.

What Special Skills Do You Need?

It might seem like if you can draw, you can work in the field. There's more to it than that. Artistic talent is important, but there are other skills that are just as important. These days, many storyboard artists do their sketching work on computers, so computer skills are essential. Creativity is vital, too -- if you're asked to solve a storytelling problem, sometimes the best solution might be 'outside the box.' Artists also work under tight deadlines and many work long hours alone, so having discipline and managing your time effectively will serve you well in the business.

What's the Salary Like?

How much you can make as a storyboard artist may depend on your experience and ability. Many work as freelancers, so the salary is only as good as the work they can secure. Payscale.com reported an average salary for storyboard artists of $67,500 per year as of February 2019.

Is the Storyboard Artist Field Growing?

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics doesn't have growth figures specifically for storyboard artists. The BLS does provide some numbers for multimedia artists and animators, however, which is a related field. An increase in employment for multimedia artists and animators of 8% between 2016 and 2026 was predicted.

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