What is a Storyboard, and How To Create One Even If You Can’t Draw?

August 30, 2022

How do you think creators and directors visualize how a scene is going to look like? Do you ever wonder how the scene in Harry Potter is so flawless? May it be the Dementors attacking Harry or during the Battle at The Department of Mysteries, every scene was well-thought-out. 

Storyboarding is the answer to a well-planned scene. Animators, directors, and creators use this technique to visualize scenes. 

In this article, we will talk about storyboarding and how to get started with it.  

What is a Storyboard?

Storyboard from the Lion King

A storyboard is an artistic creation that helps straightforwardly tell visual stories. A storyboard is a creative way to document your ideas and concepts. 

You can use a storyboard to create a visual relationship between scenes, characters, locations, and props. 

Storyboards help visualize how an individual scene or shot will transition into a whole to show what the final result should be before it has been filmed.

Mainly, Storyboards are used in animated movies/videos. A storyboard is a visual aid in an animated film telling the story through drawings.

It is created before any animation is produced. This allows animators, or any other artist, to see how scenes are connected and build on top of that.

Storyboards are like the comic books of Hollywood, where you can see how scenes and moments play out before they're shot.

So what is a storyboard?

Simply put, It's a drawn illustration of a sequence of events. 

It is used in popular movies like Lion King, Harry Potter, and the Lord of the Rings series.

Why Do You Need A Storyboard?

What would have happened if the Airport fight scene in the Captain America: Civil War movie weren’t thought out?

The entire sequence has an impact because of the build-up it has. Storyboarding is a well-thought-out sequence of events that creators use to bring videos alive. 

There are reasons why you need a storyboard. Like a novelist needs an outline to write a novel, you need a storyboard to visualize the flow of a video. 

Organize Your Thoughts 

Storyboards help you organize your thoughts. They are a way for you to communicate your ideas and share your vision with others.

Storyboards allow you to plan better, faster, and more efficiently.

You can use storyboards to identify problems early on in the process, which helps save time, money, and frustration later on.

Plan Better

Storyboards can help you plan better because they show your team where they should spend their time and money. 

This will also enable them to understand how much work is left before completion, which helps reduce stress and make everyone happier during the development process.

This is perhaps the most crucial benefit of having a good storyboard. It enables you to organize your thoughts about your business idea to quickly think through all the aspects you would involve in bringing it to life. 

You can also use it as a guide when developing marketing campaigns or other promotional materials.

Share Your Ideas

A storyboard helps you share your thoughts with other people working on the same project and with potential investors or customers interested in what you are doing.

 It's easy for someone else to take a look at your idea when they see it in its entirety on paper rather than just seeing vague notes written on a napkin or sticky note stuck up on the wall next to their computer screen.

Identify Problems Early

The best way to avoid problems when starting is to have an idea of what needs to be done first. Therefore, creating an outline of every aspect of your business plan on paper or digitally ensures that nothing is left out or forgotten about when planning begins.

The goal of any project is to have a positive impact on your organization, but the success of that impact depends on your ability to identify problems early.

 A storyboard can help you identify those problems and prioritize them for resources. 

Simplify Everything

Storyboards can help simplify everything from how things work to how people interact with each other and technology products, making them easier to use and more effective in the long run.

They can also help simplify the development process by ensuring everyone understands what they are working towards so they don't waste time on unimportant details.

Time and Budget Savings

Storyboards cut down on time spent planning because they make it easy for everyone involved in a project — from executives down to developers — to see where things are headed and what needs to be done next. 

The time saved also means more money in budgets because fewer resources are required during the development phases!

Attract Investments

Your storyboard can be used as a sales tool when presenting new products or services to potential customers or investors. 

It will help them understand what they buy before signing an agreement with you. 

A storyboard is one of the first things investors will see when they come across your project. By showing them how all the pieces fit together visually, you can convince them that you know what you're doing.

You can use storyboarding as an opportunity to share relevant information about your company and brand, which is essential when pitching potential investors on funding opportunities.

How Storyboarding Can Help Your Business

Storyboarding is a visualization method that helps explain what you want to convey in your message.

It's a simple way of communicating your ideas, and you can use it to create a visual storyboard for anything from an email campaign to a new product or service.

Storyboarding can help you stand out from the crowd by showing how you see things. 

You'll be able to show off your creativity and come up with innovative ideas for your business, making it easier for people interested in what you offer to understand what exactly makes your product or service different from others. 

Here are five ways storyboarding helps your business:

  • Storyboards provide a visual overview of your content.
  • They allow you to see what works and what doesn’t quickly.
  • They are compelling for investors who want to know more about your business.
  • They help you remember what you want to say in your following videos. It helps streamline the production of videos. 
  • Storyboards are easy to share with others who may be able to help with the design process.

3 Types of Storyboards

The Traditional Storyboard

The traditional storyboard is a technique to communicate the story of your product. It’s a tool that helps you to show the audience what your product will do, where you will use it, and how it will improve their lives.

The traditional storyboard is typically done on paper or whiteboard and includes illustrations, text, and arrows representing action.

Even the example mentioned below of Tobey Maguire’s Spiderman and Doctor Octopus fighting scene is traditional storyboarding with mere pencil and paper. 

Storyboard from Sam Raimi's "Spider-man 2"

Digital Storyboard

A digital storyboard is similar to the traditional one. Still, instead of using pencils and paper, you use computer software to create them on a computer screen.

It allows you to zoom in on any part of the image, change colors and backgrounds, and add text boxes that show additional information about each scene or character in your film.

Thumbnail Storyboard

thumbnail storyboard
Storyboard from Alfred Hitchcock’s "The Birds"

A thumbnail storyboard is a small image showing the layout and vital elements like text and images.

It's great for getting an overall feel for your frame without spending time designing every detail. It was a favorite tool of famous director A. Hitchcock. He loved using it in his production process. 

What Is Included In The Storyboard?

The storyboard is a visual guide to the order and placement of your shots. It shows where you should place each shot concerning the other shots, how long each should last, what's happening in each scene, and who's doing what.

Whether you are making a feature film or a short animation video, here are a few necessary things in the storyboard-

Project Name

This is where you list the name of your project. It should be at least three letters long and start with an upper case letter. 

For example, if you were creating a video about Marvel comics, your project name would be “MCU Scarlet Witch." 

The name of the project and the name of the company. This is used in several places throughout the storyboard.

Scene Number

Scene numbers indicate the order of scenes in a storyboard.  This is used to identify what part of the story is being presented. 

The first scene will have a 1, and the second has a 2, etc. The scene number is the order in which you will shoot your scenes. Each scene should correspond to a scene description and follow your script's order.

Page Number

This shows where you want to put your shots on each storyboard page. 

Each page has two sides: "Front" and "Back." The Front side shows what is happening on the screen, while the Back side shows what is happening behind it (such as props or other characters). 

This indicates which page of the script corresponds with that particular shot number on the timeline and allows for easy reference when editing the final product. 

Shot Number

A number that represents the scene's position on the storyboard. For example, if a shot is numbered 1, it would be the first shot of that scene. 

And if it is numbered 3, it would be third from the left in that scene.

This is where you indicate which scene within the film will take place during that particular shot number of your timeline. 

Shot numbers are typically represented by numbers from 1-100 on a film's timeline, though this can vary depending on the type of film being created. 


This is where you describe what happens in the shot. You can use this space to explain why you chose to film that particular shot, how it relates to your overall story and why it was vital for you to show it here.

How Do I Create a Storyboard?

1. Define what you want your video to accomplish

Before you can create a storyboard, you need to know precisely what it is you want your video to do. 

This may be as simple as explaining an idea or something more complicated like explaining the creative process behind the idea. 

The first step in creating a storyboard is to think about the purpose of your video and its content.

2. Brainstorm

Once you know what you want your video to accomplish, brainstorm all the ways you can illustrate this idea using only visuals and text.

Brainstorm tons of ideas and sketches to develop something that makes sense and has a message that will resonate with your audience! 

Don’t worry about being creative or having original ideas — just focus on coming up with things that will work well within the context of your video (i.e., don’t try too hard). 

You can also use free tools like Google Docs or Evernote if you need someplace safe to store ideas while they are still fresh in your mind — this way, they won't get lost if something comes up later. 

If you're trying to explain something quickly, try drawing on a whiteboard with markers or drawing on sticky notes with colored pens or crayons rather than writing out. 

3. Sketch Out The Story

Storyboards are like the blueprint for your video. They show what happens in each scene and how it affects the other scenes. 

You can even use them to help you figure out where you want to place cameras or where your cast members stand in a scene.

You can start by drawing a rough outline of the scene on paper or use an app on your computer to sketch it out. 

This will help you understand how much space to leave between your characters and props and what kind of camera angles work best for each scene.

Once you know what works best visually for your storyboard, it's time to get down to the details!

4. Add Notes

When creating storyboards, it's important to note what each scene means to keep track of essential details such as dialog, action, characters, and settings; these are notes.

Once this information has been noted down on the board, it will be much easier for you to incorporate these details into a script later.

Notes should include anything that might change during production, such as props or locations that may need changing during filming or editing.

5. Create A Timeline

Creating a timeline in your storyboard will ensure your video is coherent. Try to figure out the sequence, the beginning, and the end. 

If you find any gaps within the scenes, try to add more transitions to the storyboard. A timeline ensures you have a sequence you can fall back into. 

Your end product will be more seamless and put together if you create a timeline. 

6. Add The Script

Once you have created a well-thought-out timeline and sequence, you need to write the script for the video. 

The script will contain more than scenes as in the storyboard. It will include dialogues and even cues about characters. 

While the storyboard will be the skeleton of your video, the script will be the meat on the bones.

Make sure your script goes with the storyboard. That’s why it is essential to write the script after you have visualized the video. It saves you the trouble of re-doing it over and over again. 

7. Get Feedback

Even if you are a storyboard artist doing the job alone, you need to get feedback from people around you. It is better if you have a team to work with. 

But if you are at it alone, you can always ask friends and even experienced people in this field. 

Having an extra pair of eyes will always ensure you have feedback. So, review your work as much as you can. 

8. Revise your storyboard

Revision is not just going through your rough sketches. When the storyboarding process is over, you should always look it over. 

After you have taken external opinions and feedback, it is always helpful to review your storyboard. 

You can always miss out on something, so check and re-check until you are satisfied with your work. Consider revision as an opportunity to improve your work rather than a chore. 

Tips and Best Practices for Storyboarding

The purpose of storyboarding are to lay out an outline for a video before you start the production process. 

It’s not just a way to plan out the order of your shots but also helps you think through what goes into each shot and how you will shoot them.

Here are some tips and best practices for storyboarding:

Don’t Get Hung Up On Perfection

Storyboards should be rough sketches that show the main elements of your video – not pixel-perfect images. You’re not going for perfect, but instead finding the best way to convey your message visually.

Don’t worry; you are not heading for a drawing competition. You just need to get your ideas into a visual representation. It can be stick figures or well-defined images; it doesn’t matter. 

In reality, there is no such thing as perfect storyboards — only yours. If something doesn’t seem right, take the time to fix it. Don’t be afraid to try something new or unexpected; if it works better than what you had intended, use it!

Use Arrows To Show Motion

You can use Image Link Arrows to indicate where a character or object is moving in a scene or if some action is happening (like someone walking). 

Arrows can also show time passing or an action changing within one shot (like when someone walks into a frame).

It makes it much easier to know how a scene transitions from one scene to another.

Number Each Of Your Thumbnails

Give a number to each thumbnail to help track which thumbnails you work on. 

You can also use this number to help you tell stories visually, as you'll be able to see how your storyboards progress through the different stages of production.

You will be working on a lot of different ideas, so it's important to number them so you can easily go back and find them later.

Use A Pencil

Storyboarding with a digital pen and tablet is excellent, but it's still better if you can sketch with a pencil first. 

Grease pencil is one of the best tools when storyboarding. You can use a 2B or 4B pencil, so it doesn't smudge when wet. 

Remember that you will draw on paper, so make sure your paper is good quality!

Use Your Storyboard As A Bird's-Eye View Of Your Video

Think about what you want viewers to take away from your video, and plan what they should see as they watch it unfold from beginning to end. 

This way, when you're filming the video, all the shots will be planned out ahead of time, so there are no surprises for the viewer when they watch it later.

Experiment Before Finalizing Your Storyboard

Don't stop experimenting until you've reached a point where everything feels solid and believable — even if it takes several attempts before getting there!

You can always change things around until they feel right

FAQs: What Is A Storyboard

What are the four parts of a storyboard?

The four basic parts of a storyboard have the title block (title), the opening scene (intro), the middle scene (main body), and the closing scene (epilogue).

What Is A Simple Storyboard?

You don’t need to be a professional artist to draw a storyboard. A simple storyboard is a visual representation of a video made simply with drawings, even stick figures or mere descriptions. 

How Many Frames Does a Storyboard Have?

The number of frames in a storyboard is directly proportional to the length of a video. The longer the video, the more frames the storyboard has. Technically, a shot at least has one frame in the storyboard. 

What Is The Fastest Way To Make A Storyboard?

The faster way to make a storyboard is just to use a simple storyboard or templates. It will take less time to draw a simple storyboard. 

How Do I Storyboard If I Can’t Draw?

If you can’t draw, don’t worry! Storyboards are a great way to communicate your ideas to others. It doesn’t matter if you can draw or not, as long as you clearly understand what needs to be drawn. You can simply illustrate your video with easy sketches and descriptions. You don’t have to be Picasso to draw a storyboard. 

How Can I Get Better At Storyboarding?

The best way to improve your ability to create storyboards is by taking classes at local art schools or online courses through sites like Skillshare and Udemy.

Some online courses even offer certificates upon completion! These courses will help you learn how to draw more realistically.

How Many Pages Should A Storyboard Be?

There is no set number of pages in a storyboard; however, most studios will ask for around 8-10 pages per script page (roughly 1/4 sheet). You should remember that the more complex or detailed your drawings are, the longer it will take you to complete them. 

Must I Storyboard Every Shot?

You don't have to, but it's highly recommended. A storyboard is simply a visual representation of the action and emotion that occurs in a scene. It helps you to see what's happening and where your video is going. 

What Is The Difference Between A Script And A Storyboard?

A script can be written on paper or computerized, depending on what kind of script it is. It tells you everything that happens in a film from beginning to end and how characters should speak and behave throughout their scenes.

A storyboard shows some aspects of what happens in a movie but doesn't tell you everything; it only shows you how things look from different angles and focuses on specific images instead of words.

How to Turn a Script Into a Storyboard?

For a visual artist or director who wants to create their storyboards, here's how you can turn your script into a storyboard:

  • Create a list of all the scenes in the script. This will help you organize your ideas, so they're easy to see when you're done.
  • Create an outline of each scene, showing what happens in each scene.
  • Add visuals to each scene and any props needed for each scene (e.g., clothes).
  • Draw some rough sketches of each scene based on what you've written about it so far.

Do Storyboards Have Dialogue?

Storyboards have dialogue, but it is not required for your storyboard to have dialogue. It's just another option that you can use if you want to make your storyboard more detailed.

Which Industries Use Storyboards?

Storyboards are used in film, TV, advertising, and games. Storyboards are a visual way of showing the flow of a movie. 

They are not used in every industry but are widespread in advertising. You can use storyboards to show what an ad campaign or TV commercial should look like before it is produced.

Conclusion: What Is A Storyboard.

The whole point of a storyboard is to help you visualize your ideas and plan out your projects and endeavors before diving head first into the development process. 

A storyboard allows you to create a visual representation of how different design elements will interact with one another to produce the desired effect.

You do not need to be a full-blown artist to draw a storyboard; you just need ideas. 

This article is about the importance of storyboarding and how to create it. So, you do not need to worry about bringing your ideas to life.

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