Monday, September 25, 2017

"I Moved to LA to Work in Animation" new 70-page comic

I moved to LA in 2015 to storyboard for animation studios.  I get a lot of questions from artists who are interested in making similar career moves themselves. I wanted to make a comic about my experience, half for me and half for anyone looking for information about LA / storyboarding for animation.  It took a LOT of my weekends over the past year, but the final, 70-page comic is now ready to share with you!!

(There are little white arrows on the image below that you can click to go "left" and "right" and see a few sample pages. They're just a little hard to see.)

Thank you for reading! Thank you to everyone who sent me your questions when I put the call out earlier this year, and thank you to Molly, Diana, Matt, Paul, Lissa, Erika, and Luis for the proof-reading and encouragement.

Note: Please do not send me your portfolio or your work; I cannot look at it. I wish you all of the best, and I hope that this comic and the resources below will help you, but I cannot mentor you or give you individual feedback. Thank you for understanding.  Good luck!



Let me know in the comments if any links are broken or you think I’m missing something important. If you’re more interested in resources for a career in comics, check out this post.

Different story artists’ advice to check out:
Anthony Holden's comic about gaining life experience before working in a studio:
Matt Jones’ Dreamworks Feature story test:
Karen J Lloyd’s tips for storyboard tests:

Studios / job portal links:
Disney Television Animation:
South Park Studios:
Nord-Ouest films:
Moonbot Studios:
ToonBox Entertainment:
Yapiko Animation:
Bent Image Lab:
Chez Soi / Studio Soi in Germany:
Banjo Studio:
Film Roman:
Bardel Entertainment:
Deep Sky Studios:
Man of Action Entertainment:
Monster (aggregate job site):
Indeed (aggregate job site):
Entertainment Careers (aggregate job site):
Creative Heads (aggregate job site):   
AFJV – French aggregate job site with primarily video game art positions, many of which seek English-speaking candidates:

Free online tutorials:
Flooby Nooby: a free, online crash course in storyboarding for animation:
Mark Kennedy’s blog Seven Golden Camels:
Alex Grigg: animating in PS (“phantom limb”)
Cheatin' production blog:

Courses / academic programs:
Concept Design Academy:
California State Summer School for the Arts animation program:
Tron Mai’s story classes (normally at CDA, but do your own search for the latest info)

Animation organizations:
Women In Animation:
The Animation Guild:

Los Angeles Animation Festival:
Center Stage Gallery:
Model Drawing Collective Empowering Models/Inspiring Artists life drawing:

Contemporary story artists to follow / study:
Louie del Carmen:

A few story art masters:

Storyboard animatics to watch and study:
Lego Movie clips by various artists:
Kiki’s Delivery Service:
Glen Keane thumbnails from Tarzan:
Star Vs The Forces of Evil:

Framed Ink by Marcos Mateu Mestre
Storyboards: Motion in Art by Mark Simon
100 Tuesday Tips by Griz and Norm
Art of Storyboard by Don Bluth
Five C’s of Cinematography
Animation Writing and Development: from Script to Pitch
Directing the Story by Francis Glebas
Shot by Shot
Setting Up Your Shots by Jeremy Vineyard
Story by Robert McKee
The Visual Story by Bruce Block

Other resources:
Glassdoor – employees review the companies they work for and report their real salaries:
Every Frame a Painting:
Chris Oatley's website: 
Disney’s Zootopia documentary, "Imagining Zootopia" has lots of great footage, including the actual story room and what story discussions are like.
Some figure drawing sites if you can't go to sessions in person:


  1. I think the YouTube link to the Zootopia documentary you've posted has been taken down. Sad day...

    But maybe a search for "Imagining Zootopia" will always work?

  2. Nice set of links.

    Some other great FREE animation tutorials are on Aaron Blaise's YouTube Channel and on Toniko Pantoja's YouTube Channel -

    1. Thanks, David! Ah, facepalm, how could I forget Toniko Pantoja's videos? I studied those, they're great.

  3. Do you use Storybiard Pro to draw your drawings on?

  4. This is an amazing list!!! I'm going to take the time to look into as many as I can. Thank you so much for offering it all. I think I might just buy your book!

  5. Is there a way to purchase this as a physical book? Would like to have a copy for our professional library.

    1. Amazing book, by the way :)

    2. Thank you thank you! I'm talking to publishers now, hoping to make a deal for a print version of the comic. :) Fingers crossed!

  6. Thank you so much for this! I've been looking for something like this for awhile now, and this has to be the most informative and helpful one I've found yet!

    One quick thing though: I had no problem downloading and viewing the 19 MB version of the PDF, but every time I download the high res version Adobe Acrobat won't open the file and it tells me it does not support the format. I can view it on the web, though. Do you know how I can fix this?

    1. Hi BenjaHo,
      Thank you so much for reading the comic!
      Oh shoot, I have not heard of anyone else experiencing that issue. Both files should be formatted identically as regular PDFs.

  7. THIS IS EVERYTHING AND I'M SO GLAD YOU MADE THIS! I read the whole thing in a single sitting, and it was seriously everything I needed to read in this particular point in my life.

    I -just- made the move from SF to LA, and my hope is to finally break into animation or storyboarding. I've also done the freelance thing for years, and I'm ready to collaborate, rather than sit in my art cave. San Francisco is definitely not as far as Portland, but a lot of your wisdom hit home. There's hardly any 2D animation work in SF, and definitely no storyboarding (exception: Pixar). I also couldn't justify moving to LA with no employment, so I made the move with a relocation from an office job, not an industry job. I'm curious to see how many more applications get noticed due to to the proximity claim. (While in SF, I only received 1 response out of 100 applications)

    I'm really glad that you wrote your piece about that. I've definitely heard mixed results.

    Anyway, I could ramble on forever, but I just wanted to thank you again for putting this amazing piece of work together. Everything about it was beautiful, and super personal. Thanks for making my day