Visual Storytelling: Craftsmanship and Creativity with Still Images

And you who wish to represent by words the form of man and all the aspects of his memberification, relinquish that idea. For the more minutely you describe the more you will confine the mind of the reader, and the more you will keep him from the knowledge of the thing described. And so it is necessary to draw to describe. ~ Leonardo DiVinci, Fifteenth Century



Visual storytelling has been around since cavemen were drawing on the walls. Experience the art of visual storytelling, enthralling and captivating audiences through dynamic sequencing of images without words–the ultimate “showing NOT telling” a story. Creativity, engagement, and deep introspection into crafting a personal visual storytelling project will guide the learning curves with the grammar and fluency of communicating with images as the ultimate art of expressing and representing content as well as meaning without words. Full day workshops available for intermediate experience participants using computers/internet along with confidence for ONE video-editing software required. Get ready for a myriad of processes and tools for exploding possibilities with still images.

Driving Questions

  • What is visual storytelling? How is it different from photo essay?
  • How do the tasks engaged connect with visual literacy, new mediums of communication and 21st Century Skills?
  • What is the role of storylines and storyboards in guiding exemplar products?
  • What is the grammar and fluency of communicating with images?
  • What creative possibilities can imagination and digital tools make happen for still images?
  • What content-building steps would guide students to develop rigor in their storylines? Brought to you by Bernajean's Seven Steps for StoryMaking / Take Six: Elements of Good Storytelling.
  • What media-making steps would guide students to create effective craftsmanship?
  • What digital tools, technical tips, and classroom management strategies will ensure delivery of GREAT projects?
  • How does mastering visual storytelling skills engage visual literacy, new mediums of communication and other 21st Century Skills?

Agenda Topics

[Note: This agenda represents half day interactive introduction to concepts. Full day includes participants constructing and critiquing their own visual storytelling]

  • Opening - Goals - Agendas - Checking Access to Resources Needed for the Day [10 Minutes]
  • Process: Participants Join Microblogging Group. [5 min. Using for our time together to increase participation as well as connecting and capturing questions, resources, reflections and ahas.]
  • Process: Defining Photo-Journalism, Visual Journalism and Photo Essays from Visual Storytelling [15 min. Compare and Contrast a sample from each to identify qualities of each]
  • Topic: Take Six Elements for Storytelling [Handout]
  • Process: What role do image(s) play in YOUR stories?
  • Topic: Grammar and Fluency of Images
  • Topic: Creative Image Expressions - Wow Image Choices and Perspectives [15 min - Exploring Basic Dramatic Shots as well as WOW Image Tools]
  • Process: The “STICKIE” Images Challenge
  • Process: Walk-around Critique
  • Process: Jigsawing, Viewing and Unpacking Samples of Visual Storytelling. [30 min. Using sample 1-3 visual storytelling clips - small groups will unpack various elements for the whole group. what do you see? what elements expressed or represented the story without words? - metaphors, music/sound, rhythm, themes, pacing, effectiveness, emotional content conveyed]
  • Topic: From Concepts to StoryLines to Storyboarding [20 min. Introducing resources - working definitions and processes to sustain rigor in projects while optimizing creativity]
  • Process: Playing PhotoPhive and Five-Card-Flickr [15 min. Exploring online resources to use with students introducing / guiding storytelling with images only.]
  • Topic: Visual Storytelling a la Graphic Novel
  • Topic: Resource Links + Copyright Savvy + Citations [15 min depending on group questions about copyright. Introducing digital tools for citations AND reviewing "tagging" processes for labeling student work likely to have public publishing]
  • Topic: The Power of Visual Storytelling
  • Process: Shaping Ideas Together. [15-20 min. Gather participants’ ideas for re-using today's experiences with students and/or ideas for curriculum connections with visual storytelling.]
  • Closing - Using MicroBlog - What key concepts were useful and urgent to take back home?

Today's Tools, Handouts and Links

  • Microblogging a la TodaysMeet


  • Illustrated Books - pictures play secondary narrative role, enhancing and decorating the narrative
  • Picture Books - sequential imagery and minimalist text to tell a narrative story
  • Graphic Novels [Comic books] - a narrative work in which the story is visually conveyed using images, panels, space, and speech bubbles through sequential art
  • Photo Journalism - creates honest and impartial images in order to tell or contribute to a news story
  • Visual Journalism - the practice of strategically combining words and images to convey information [infographics]
  • Photo Essays - images loosely lead the story or topic
  • Visual Storytelling - a narrative tightly structured storyline unfolds with still or moving images and audio