Any creative project, from a novel to a marketing video, needs a roadmap. Rarely, if ever, can you simply shoot a commercial or animate an instructional video without knowing the vital elements of the beginning, middle and end. 

When incorporating video into your branding, you need to ensure every shot, including colors and language, is consistent with other marketing materials. Understanding how to storyboard helps you organize your thoughts visually for easier editing and collaboration.    

What Is a Storyboard?

Think of storyboards as comic book versions of films or videos–sequences of images and descriptions for the most important pieces of a story. The images are generally placed in a chronological grid, with short descriptions beneath each one. 

You can create a storyboard by hand or digitally. You may want to begin with a hand-drawn version and then put that into a digital template. The most important thing is that the final storyboard be like a roadmap for the narrative of your film or video. 

What Are the Elements of a Storyboard? 

The components of a storyboard are few and relatively simple. This keeps the project easy to edit, and better set up for collaboration, no matter the industry. Generally, you’d create the storyboard after already outlining a script or storyline.  


These square or rectangular charted cells house the images for your storyboard. It’s helpful to number and label each panel for clarity and easier editing. 


Using sketches, stock imagery, your own photos or a combination of all three, you fill the panels of your storyboard. 

Grid of six panels with simple black and white sketches in each, featuring a scene of someone digging a hole
Credit: Class Storyboarding for Film or Animation by Soibhan TwomeyYou can easily sketch right in your software, though adding stock footage or photos is always an option. 

Titles and Captions

Because your images can tell just so much, use panel titles and captions to explain further. Include essential descriptions, composition, and dialogue for each.  

How to Create a Storyboard in 3 Simple Steps

Using your script or storyline and chosen template or software, create the storyboard itself. The process is straightforward, though in learning how to make a storyboard you may discover certain tweaks that work better for you. For example, you may wish to sketch the story before adding the script.  

1. Create Blank Slides

Draw out your panels–one for each slide–in your preferred grid or line layout. Give each panel a number and title above and a description of essential action, dialogue and effects beneath.   

If you decide to create the storyboard digitally, software and templates can help. Find templates with a quick Google search, use a deck design app like PowerPoint or try specialized software if you’re not sure where to start. 

2. Add Your Script

Whether you have dialogue and action, a narrator and stills or some combination of those, each slide needs the relevant bit of script added beneath its panel. It could be just one sentence or a few sentences, but no longer than a short paragraph. 

Include important information about the angles, colors and overall tone if necessary. In some cases, those might be more important than dialogue or action. 

3. Sketch Your Story 

Add imagery to each slide panel using sketches, stock images, photos you took or all three. Remember, the images aren’t meant to be perfect or highly detailed. Their job is to give a solid sense of the shot or scene. 

The process of sketching out a storyline, and turning a script into a visual, is called “scamping.” It is, by definition, a fast, messy process meant to communicate basic concepts rather than fully fleshed-out ideas. 

Grid of six panels with simple black and white sketches, descriptions, labeling and instructions for a scene in an old Western saloon
Credit: Class Storyboarding for Film or Animation by Soibhan TwomeyScamping is the raw, messy process of getting your script into a visual presentation with numbered panels, basic images, and essential descriptions. You may also include important instructions, seen here in red.   

Why Do You Need a Storyboard?

You might feel like a storyboard is an unnecessary step. Why not just start recording from your script or storyline? 

Storyboards are ways to organize and communicate your ideas beyond what you could do with just the words. This is especially useful if you’re working with a team or presenting to a client. It offers a more complete idea of what the video or film will look like and allows for much easier changes to the overall vision than an actual recording would. 

For an excellent storyboard example, look to the work of Alfred Hitchcock on films like Psycho. He was known for developing meticulous storyboards, ensuring every shot would drive the plot with eerie suspense.  

Organize Your Business Using Storyboards

If you’re considering video or film for your business, organize with a storyboard for animation, live-action or any other preferred format. The process is simple, requires few materials and makes for easy editing and collaboration. 

Skillshare is your source for storyboard guidance, as well as tips and tricks for other organizational tools for creatives, including content calendars and Notion templates. Make the most of your personal and professional projects with tools that support creativity and a pleasant workflow. 

Written By
Katie Mitchell

Katie Mitchell

Katie lives in Michigan with her husband, kids and pets. She enjoys cooking, travel and live music.

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