“Let’s Board It Up!” The Magic of the Storyboard

“Let’s Board It Up!” The Magic of the Storyboard

This Google Video clip from the promo documentary Finding Lady: The Art of Storyboarding has been circulating around the art and cartoon blogs recently.

Disney animator Eric Goldberg explains how Disney artists have always used storyboards as a developmental first step in their animation productions.

The clip goes on to show how moviemakers from Alfred Hitchcock to Kevin Costner have used them as perhaps the crucial planning tool in a film.

Finding Lady came out to herald the 1991 release of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast and the “renaissance of the animated film” that some say began with The Little Mermaid in 1989.

It’s not exactly the way storyboarding is covered in our course on how to illustrate children’s books. 

The storyboard thumbnails we talk about are quite different animals from the sketches and drawings you see tacked up on Disney’s storyboard wall.

But the same big ideas apply:  Using the storyboard to work out the  “bits” of stagecraft,  the action, and gags. Pacing, story flow and the economy of the viewer’s or reader’s attention.

For the movie director, storyboarding saves costly waffling around on the set, the video points out.  Because the details and the sequences have all been worked out in advance, the director can “edit in the camera.”

For the children’s book artist, storyboarding helps to gestalt the entire book on just one page. The simple very exercise of it can spring ideas free and save weeks of unnecessary drawing and painting.

For information on the online course look here.

Or to check out the free color lessons from the course (while they’re still available)  click here.

About The Author

Mark Mitchell

Award-winning children's book author-illustrator Mark G. Mitchell teaches classes in watercolor and children's book illustration at The Contemporary Art School in Austin, Texas.


  1. Studio M.M.E.

    Great website! I’ve not had to storyboard yet, but I may be leaning toward the illustrator direction very soon.

    • Mark Mitchell

      Thanks for the comment, Megan. You’ve got a really captivating illustrative style.
      I love “100 Years of Sleep” (and several of the others on your etsy site.)

  2. Karien Naudé

    The storyboard works like a dream! I cant work without it.

    • Mark Mitchell

      I’m so glad that you’ve found the utility of the thumbnail storyboard, Karien!


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