How To Make A Storyboard

First of all.. What is a Storyboard?

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A storyboard is basically a visual sketch. It consists on a series of images that tell the story from beginning to end. It also includes notes on what is happening in each frame.
They are usually drawn by hand, but you can also use software. A final storyboard looks a bit like a comic book. Looking into learning how to make a storyboard? Read on then.

So why is it so important to have a Storyboard?

  • Storyboard designs help you organize thoughts and ideas with a coherent and in-depth view of your project or idea. It is very important and can help you not forget anything important or necessary in the middle of the project.
  • It is an essential to sketch out the flow of your video efficiently. Videos require you to coordinate many important details in the flow. Without the details accounted for, it is practically impossible to create a good video in real time, that seems coherent. The more detailed you plan, think and execute, the better the final product will be.
  • It’s a great way to explain your idea to others. Even if you know exactly how you want the video to be developed, it can be difficult to explain to other people using only the words around your envisioned piece. A storyboard fills that gap, helping your colleagues, friends or clients – visualize the type of project you have in mind.
  • Storyboards make everything easier to get right, in the future. It is worth investing time and effort upfront on the storyboard, because later you will save a lot of time and energy and not regret forgetting or not developing something out fully. It will be more efficient and less likely that you will encounter stupid mistakes or errors in execution, which also makes editing, a lot easier.

What information should I have in order to develop a good Storyboard?:

  • It’s very important to have balance in the amount images that make sense for the story. The longer the video, the more difficult it will be to identify the details of each and will confuse clarity in the action that is needed in scenes or parts.
  • Each main action in your video must have at least one thumbnail. Some may even require several thumbnails, depending on your project.
  • You must include all the characters, important accessories, relevant details about the scenario and information about how each element of the scene is interacting with the other elements. For example, if the characters are jumping, use arrows to show that they are jumping. When you are drawing, remember the position of the camera. For example, you may want a specific angle or distance, so don’t forget to draw this accordingly. This will help other people visualize the effect you want for that particular scene.
  • You are not limited to using images only. You can and should use text as well. Write the dialogue and narration next to the thumbnails where they occur. You can also add small notes to help others understand the story, or for others to understand through the added annotation.

Here are some helpful tips for your storyboard:

Define and make a plan. Think about what you want to achieve when creating your video. For example, you want to sell more of your product to reinforce your brand or reach more followers on a social network. Imagine yourself in the customer’s shoes, how do you want to make those people feel after watching your video, so that they consider buying more of your product.

Brainstorm: Write all possible ideas for your video, even those crazy ideas, without fear, and combine different ideas to see what happens, you may be pleasantly surprised. Exchanging ideas with other people involved in the project, or not can help – you never know when the next million dollar idea appears.

Make a timeline: Once you have an idea of what’s going to happen in your video, you need a timeline. It identifies the beginning, the middle and the end of the story. Make sure everything runs smoothly and makes sense, so don’t forget to use emotions. Your video doesn’t have to be complicated. If you find faults or problems in the timeline (and you will find something), just consult your brainstorming notes to find a better solution.

Starting up: Now the fun begins. Open the software or draw in a notebook, napkins or whatever you are more comfortable starting the process. Square by square you will draw your story, dialogues, emotions, etc. It is very natural that when you do this, new ideas will emerge. From my own experience it is easier and faster to write and draw by hand. Details are important, even the small ones. Add extra notes to clarify what’s going on and provide the necessary information during production.

Ask for opinions: It doesn’t matter if they are from co-workers, friends or family. After creating your story, ask for opinions, as there is always something to improve. It is important to know if they have the same final view of the video (and of your resulting creation), as you.

The review: It’s boring I know, but it’s one of the most important parts of developing the flow for your project. Try to see it like this, instead of thinking of it like a task, think about it as a step to correct and improve your project, using others to inform and reflect through something tangible. It is at this stage that you now know what other people think.

Summing up: How to Make a Storyboard

The main purpose of the storyboard is to create a good video, saving time and hassle.
There is no point in thinking that it has to be 100% perfect (as that concept doesn’t exist), and if you think like that, you will never be able to finish. Being a perfectionist can hurt you, and in the end, you may find yourself lost and forgetting the important stuff. The storyboard is nothing more than a tool to help you achieve a goal, and it in itself, doesn’t have to be an art piece. Even if you don’t know how to draw perfectly, it doesn’t matter as long as you can transmit your idea clearly, and no one will judge how poorly you might draw. It is equally important not to forget the actions of the characters, by adding movement arrows or symbols to denote actions.

You have to test before taking action

Nothing is permanent on the storyboard, and often here at this point, last minute changes are going to be a part of the process. It is the perfect time to find small errors or forgetful mistakes. It makes life easier during production to apply notes in each scene in order to know what is supposed to happen visually and emotionally, along with the props, camera angles, special effects or music used. While it is not easy to create videos (even more difficult if you are just starting out), one thing is for sure – creating the storyboard is essential for everything to go smoothly. Now that you’ve learned how to make a storyboard, try it out or take a peek at some sample images that may be used to storyboard below.


Types of imagery and stock photography, based on How To Make A Storyboard you can find above:

  • Stock Pictures / Pics
  • Royalty-free Vectors
  • Illustrations / Cartoons
  • Wallpapers / Backgrounds
  • Abstract Patterns
  • Isolated / Green Screens
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