Leda writes: “I’m curious, John, just how detailed your story boards are. Can you post a portion of one?”
Here’s a complete storyboard for a coloring book idea I had to promote Henry and the Buccaneer Bunnies. This is only 12 pages; a typical picture book is 32 pages. Even so, this will give you a pretty good idea of what my storyboards look like: very rough thumbnail sketches with text indications. This storyboard is around 8 ½ x 11”. Each little page is 1 3/4” tall.
There are several advantages to creating a rough storyboard before diving into tight sketches. 1) I can draw these fairly quickly. If the AD doesn’t like any of the images, I can redraw them without having lost much time. I’d rather redraw a thumbnail sketch than a tight sketch. 2) You can see the entire story at once—how the action is paced, is there enough buildup to a dramatic payoff—which is harder to see with the larger tight sketches. 3) Once I get approval for the thumbnail sketches, approval for the tight sketches usually follows without major redrawing, because the art director and editor have been included in my process early on.