Akira Kurosawa struggled to secure financing for many of his movies. As a result, he was forced to endure long, frustrating periods of waiting. However, rather than waste the time, Kurosawa put his energy into creating storyboards.

Storyboards tend to be hand-drawn scribbles, because most filmmakers are limited by their crude drawing ability. But Kurosawa had a secret-weapon: he began his career as a painter. This training allowed him to create beautiful and unique storyboard paintings.

Below are painting-to-screen comparisons of scenes from “Madadayo,” “Rhapsody in August,” and “Dreams.” It is fascinating to note how dramatic the influence of Kurosawa’s paintings was on the final product, especially in terms of colour.

Scenes from Madadayo:

Scenes from Rhapsody in August:

Scenes from Dreams:

Larger resolution images can be found at This Must Be The Place blog.