Saturday, October 8, 2011

Students Can Learn Techniques to Tell Better Visual Stories

Tony Caputo's book Visual Storytelling (left) is available for free online in its entirety, complete with illustrations. Caputo created the original book with sections by the writer Harlan Ellison and illustrator Jim Steranko which are not included in the free download. Click on the heading above to see the entire book - chapter by chapter.

There are twelve illustrated chapters covering each step from creating a panel, developing a scene, to different levels of visual storytelling. Other chapters cover topics such as drawing techniques, composing images, establishing mood and lighting (right), visual design rules, and turning words into pictures.

Visual storytelling is used in comic strips, comic books, movies, animation, TV shows, video games and an increasing variety of media. Some things might not seem like visual stories to us at first but, a map, for instance, is a visual guide for planning a trip with a beginning, middle, and end, just like any other story. Drawings in a science book showing the growth of seeds, or metamorphosis of a caterpillar, are visual stories. Assembly instructions that come with furniture from IKEA are visual stories as well as the safety cards in the seat pocket of an airplane.

Students can use visual storytelling to help learn and communicate ideas about any subject matter. They can learn how to combine words, pictures, frames, connectors, and a variety of other visual conventions to tell clear and compelling stories for a variety of purposes.

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