The Storyboard Artist (Giuseppe Cristiano)

Since I lately work also as freelance storyboard artist for short movies, I felt need to expand my knowledge in this area. I found out, that there are not many books about storyboarding or storytelling through pictures. Except brilliant book, what I would like to review in future, written by Marcos Mateu-Mestre – Framed Ink (Design Studio Press) there is also The Art of Storyboard by John Hart and some others. I will review today book by well known storyboard artist Giuseppe Cristiano – The Storyboard Artist: A Guide to Freelancing in Film, TV, and Advertising. Book was published by Michael Wiese Productions in 2011. Giuseppe Cristiano is artist who is in the industry for more than 20 years. He worked on projects for film, game or comics industry. He is originally from Italy, nowadays living in L.A. and giving lectures about storyboarding and storytelling around the world. This book was created mainly as his handbook for the lectures and also as insider look into the industry, because there is a lot of practical examples and stories “from life”.

Technically, the book is not at good level. I must admit, that cover design of book is one of criteria what tells me to buy or not to buy it. This particular book has nice cover with decent graphic solution and nice illustration. Graphically and typographically the book is decent. Its quite clearly divided, the problem is, that pictures are not numbered. Therefore, sometimes you don’t know to what image author refers in the text. The book is black and white without any colored examples, what is quite shame, because author also writes about using color in storyboarding. Paper quality is low, but because of that all, so is the price. The biggest problems in the book are the mistakes in text and missing words. There are paragraphs, where author wanted to mention reference movies or names and they are just missing, so the reader is also missing the point and it happens quite often during reading. Next time better “doublecheck” everything.

Author divided book into several chapters, describing work for movies, for advertisements, how your studio should look like etc. He wrote a lot of practical tips or described several situations what can happen to you during your work and also some hints how to solve the problems or how to act with your clients. It could seems funny, but when you are in the business, you find those tips quite useful, because in this work, critical situations happens all the time. There are also chapters about drawing anatomy or perspective, but since they are really basic, you will probably already know all that stuff from different more relevant books.

I expected from this book more storyboard drawing related tips than stories from the work, but I cannot say it wasn’t useful. You can definitely read the book during one afternoon and you will get information on how is the process of creating storyboards, how to act with the clients and what to expect from them the same as what they expect from you to deliver. You will also get a little bit of information on how the camera language works, but absolutely not enough to start making storyboards for films. For this you have to read other, more D.O.P. or director focused books.

The artistic level of storyboard samples in this book are much more better than in book of John Hart and are really decent. In the end of the day, how it looks like is not the main thing in storyboards, even though I love style of Marcos. Author also provide us with samples of his comics work, where you can distinguish his drawing skills.

To sum it up, for really decent money, we have here another book about this part of industry, that is totally worth buying. Industry, because the book is focused on the specific Hollywood and commercial environment more than on bare logics of storytelling through images. If you forget mistakes in the text, you can get valuable information while reading the book and I would recommend it to anyone who is interested in storyboards, storytelling or movies in general.

Final mark: 7/10

You can buy this book on Amazon: USA / UKDECAFRESIT
or on BookDepository: USA / UK

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