Is a picture really worth a thousand words?
Take it from the StoryStudio staff: absolutely! All month long we’ve been smitten with Visual Storytelling as we prepare for our upcoming class with Adam McOmber.
What we’ve learned: there are no rules when you’re mashing up visual art and the written word. There are literally a thousand ways to do it, and do it well. Here are a few of our favorites examples to help get you as jazzed as we are about visual lit.
Gould’s Book of Fish: A Novel in 12 Fish by Richard Flanagan
This novel is a fictionalized account of the life of a real artist, William Buelow Gould, and each of the book’s 12 chapters opens with a painting by the real Gould. Twelve illustrations for an 800-page novel might not sound like much, but the way Flanagan constructs his narrative around these twelve paintings makes each one absolutely crucial to the character of Gould and his journey through 1840s Australia and Tasmania. – Maria Hlohowskyj
Blue is the Warmest Color
Even the translated version of Blue is highly potent as its visuals keep their French character. The drawings are only in black, white and blue, which is powerful. Note: if you’ve only seen the movie, expect some striking differences in the graphic novel. – Jill Pollack
Jim Henson’s A Tale of Sand
This is a wonderful way to bring a story to life that otherwise would have stayed hidden. An example of how a well written story can work in many visual media. -Scott Onak
House of Leaves by Mark Danielewski
What makes this book’s brand of visual storytelling so unique and compelling is that the “visuals” are actually the text itself. In addition to extensive footnotes and appendices (which are part of the story and very much worth the read), House of Leaves uses color-coded words, strikethroughs, holes in the text to imitate windows in the house, text that winds around pages like a labyrinth, backwards text you have to hold up to a mirror, and so on. It’s all very meta, and enhances the incredibly scary haunted-house narrative to an impressive degree. -Maria Hlohowskyj
What It Is by Lynda Barry
Barry has several great books on using visual images to cue story ideas and writing direction, and this is no exception. A fantastic way to get the non-language side of your brain thinking in terms of story, What It Is is exactly the type of resource we’ll look at in our upcoming Visual Storytelling class. -Jill Pollack