No...it's not a new way to to torture a close friend. It's a writing technique. Ever since I read Pam Calvert's post on her use of storyboards to write a picture book (http://taralazar.wordpress.com/2010/11/25/piboidmo-day-25-2/), I've been intrigued. But I've also been broke. So I made my own template on my computer and gave it a whirl.
I used it first with one of my PiBoIdMo ideas, Romy for Hire, about a dog who runs away from home and finds a string of jobs that are better-suited to his unique talents. It was a visual book from the beginning anyway, but scoping out the pictures concurrently with the text really made it pop in my head. It also helped make my beginning more visual, which has been a problem of mine since I started writing picture books.
If you want to give it a try, I'll let you download my version for free. Just reference my page if you share it with friends, please. You can find it at https://sites.google.com/site/monkeypatchbooks/home/writing-tools-and-other-goodies.
By the way, I think we all know we don't have to draw to use it. Even stick figures count!