About Paul Kirchner

Paul KirchnerAs a storyboard and comp artist, my job is to communicate the creative team’s concept to the client as clearly and compellingly as possible. What counts in a storyboard or comp is not the ability to render the Manhattan skyline so it looks like a picture postcard, but the ability to make a client understand the full potential of a concept. This means portraying characters, attitudes, and expressions with clarity and impact, and communicating the tone of a commercial be it humorous, dramatic, or emotional. When I see storyboard samples that are painstakingly rendered and obviously based on photographic reference, I think that:
a.) the artists are not going to be able to deliver that level of finish under a tight deadline;
b.) they’re limited in what they can draw by what they can find reference for; and
c.) they’re putting a lot of effort into surface gloss that does nothing to sell an idea and more often than not is a distraction.

I have done all sorts of illustration besides storyboarding, including comic books, book and magazine illustration, and toy design. I took a job as an art director at Arnold Worldwide for six years and since returning to freelance illustration I’ve focused almost exclusively on storyboards and comps. My experience on the inside helped me understand what makes a storyboard or comp effective, and I am accustomed to the fast turnarounds and last-minute changes of the advertising business. I have never missed a deadline.

Art directors usually supply me with rough sketches, but sometimes they simply talk me through a job. I submit roughs and then, on approval, will tighten them into a finished comp or storyboard. I can also work directly with a writer. Normally I work in my home studio and submit finished work by email, but I am available for onsite work in the Connecticut or New York area.

Most people I meet think I have a “fun” job, and I can’t argue with them. It’s hard work, but I like working with creative people, I enjoy meeting the special challenges of the advertising business, and I get a real kick out of seeing a commercial on TV that I helped bring to life.

For more on Paul Kirchner:


  • Animals
  • Architecture
  • Comps
  • Storyboards
  • People
  • People