I believe that stories honor the diversity and commonality of our collective human experience and that effective, inspiring, inventive visual storytelling is a remarkable art form. Since the publication of my book Look Both Ways: Illustrated Essays on the Intersection of Life and Design, I have been teaching workshops for students interested in exploring the art of telling a story through a unique combination of images and words. I have also created an online class for SkillShare, which you can see here.
Visual Storytelling is the art of using language and images to convey a narrative account of real or imagined events. Historically, humans have used this sharing of experience to pass on knowledge, beliefs, values, secrets and information. Through stories we explain how things are, why they are, and our role and purpose. Stories are the building blocks of knowledge and the foundation of memory and learning. Stories connect us with our humanness and link past, present, and future by sharing all of the possible consequences and outcomes of our behavior and actions.
Visual Storytelling combines the narrative text of a story with creative elements to augment and enhance the traditional storytelling process. By design, it is a co-creative process resulting in an intimate, interpretive expressive technique. Visual Storytelling passes on the essence of who we are and utilizes both language and art. Stories are a prime vehicle for assessing and interpreting events, experiences, and concepts from minor moments of daily life to the grand nature of the human condition. It is an intrinsic and basic form of human communication. Our ancestors as far back as the cave man have been using visual stories to document and record experiences. Today, the visualization of our personal stories is an integral and essential part of the human experience.
I have created a one or two-day workshop to work with students interested in exploring the art of telling a story through a unique combination of images and words. In the workshop, we investigate the ability stories have to honor the diversity and commonality of our collective human experience. I have worked with students of many different ages, from high school to graduate students.
In the workshop, we do the following:
– Work to define and refine the basic narrative structure of a story
– Plot the visual arc of a story
– Create the visual language of the story
The workshop will result in the creation of a visual story for each participant.
Requirements of participants:
Each participant of this workshop should come to the workshop with a first draft of a story or essay of approximately 500-900 words. In addition, the participants should come with creative tools they would like to use to visually express their story, i.e., paint, canvases, boards, colored pencils, crayons, chalk, chalkboard, yarn, thread, fabric, paper, journals, photographs, etc. For examples, please look at Look Both Ways: Illustrated Essays on the Intersection of Life and Design, by Debbie Millman.
Images from past workshops:
– High School of Art & Design, New York, 2014
– Anderson University, South Carolina, 2013
– AIGA Austin Design Ranch Visual Storytelling Workshop, 2011
– University of Utah, Utah, 2010
– University of Hartford, 2010
– Academy of Art University, San Francisco, 2009 (and another set)