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Why You Should Create a Comic Book Storyboard

Biowars Storyboard

Storyboards are common in the film industry, and even sometimes make their way into brainstorming sessions at television studios. When it comes to comic books, however, you might be asking yourself, is a storyboard useful when you’re creating a comic book since the comic book is pretty much a storyboard already?

The answer is most certainly YES! Because although there are some similarities between the panes of a comic book and a well-developed storyboard, there are enough distinct differences that set them apart. Yet more importantly, a great comic book storyboard ultimately makes your comic much more interesting for the reader and easier to assemble for its artist and writers.

That being said, here are few tips on using a storyboard when you’re creating your own comic book.

Biowars Storyboard Example

From Story to Storyboard

When a storyboard is being put together, it’s usually after a writer has come up with a brilliant storyline, or a fairly detailed synopsis, for a comic book. If others on the team don’t yet understand how things look in terms of how the story is going to play out visually, storyboards allow the writer to work with artists on the look and feel of the story’s events.

Just like in movies, sequencing and pacing in comic books is hugely important. Many times, writers and artists will run through the story together to determine what parts are critical to moving the narrative along, and what can be tossed into the scrap pile. This is typically accomplished by laying out each scene in a series of sketches that will convey the story, and all of its intended emotional content, most effectively – which brings us to the types of shots artists use in comic books.

Biowars Close Up Shot

The Depths of Emotional Storyboarding

Whether you know it or not, when you’re watching a movie, you’re being treated to a journey that’s been specifically laid out for its emotional impact by the director and cinematographer. The same holds true for comic books, where comic book artists utilize the same techniques to create both interest and intrigue in a reader’s mind.

What are these techniques exactly? They’re referred to as “shots”, or the recordings made by video cameras during single takes; and when we’re referring to comic books, the action and dialogue taking place in each panel.

The most commonly used shots and their visual impact are:

  • Wide shot: Sometimes called “establishing shots”, these shots give the viewer or reader context on the location and tone of the scene.
  • Full shot: Closer than a wide shot, full shots often show entire characters and events taking place without much of the background being shown in the scene, which is great for superhero vs villain standoffs.
  • Medium shot: This is usually a shot of your comic book character from the waist up that depicts some tension or important dialogue between two characters.
  • Close-up shot: Close-up shots let the reader really dig into the emotions a character is experiencing and lets the character’s facial expressions tell most of the story.
  • Extreme close-up shot: When a single point of a character’s body is focused on, including their eyes or hands, as well as any other object that is vital to the storyline.

Biowars Artist and Writer

How Storyboards Help Comic Book Writers and Artists

While not every team of comic book publishers goes through the storyboarding process, the teams that do often put out better editions than those who don’t. The reason why it works is it benefits both the writers and the artists by building a collaborative environment among team members. It also shows the writer how the artist puts together a comic book’s panels, and the artist how a writer envisions his scene being explored by the reader.

So go ahead, give it a try! If you’ve decided to start your own comic book, either alone or with friends or colleagues, you would definitely benefit by following these simple tips for building a storyboard that will most certainly level up your comic book concept.

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