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Learning how to draw means learning to see. A good art lesson teaches us not only to create but to look at, think about and understand our world through art.

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Tuesday, May 2, 2017

The Art of Storytelling


If she could write and illustrate her own short story and get published, then so can you. Here is how to get started:

STEP 1: STORY AND CHARACTER IDEAS
Developing your story: Write what you know. Base your fictional story on an experience you had that had great meaning for you. The main character doesn't have to be you, they don't even have to be human, but in order for other people to be able to relate to your character, you need to be able to relate to them. Watch this 'Pixar in a Box' video and you will see what I mean:


STEP 2: PLOT IDEAS

Coming up with interesting scenarios: Take your protagonist out of their comfort zone. Throw them into a setting that is unfamiliar and uncomfortable for them. Take a look at the Pixar in a Box video below and you will see what I mean:



STEP 3: DEVELOPING YOUR CHARACTERS
 In the best stories the heroes are not perfect. They have flaws and hopefully learn something about themselves and experience emotional growth as the story progresses.

Does your story have a villain? In many of the most interesting stories the villain and the hero actually have a lot of traits in common. It is usually the choices they make that differentiate them, not their abilities. For instance, in Star Wars Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader both started out the same way, yet one chose the path of a villain and the other the hero's path. In the Harry Potter books, both Voldemort and Harry were lonely unwanted orphans with magical powers. Making the hero not 100% good and the villain not 100% bad will make your story more engaging.

ASSIGNMENT:



STEP 5: LET'S ILLUSTRATE!
Drawing your story:
In the 1980's every artist at Marvel Comics had the graphic 'Wally Wood's 22 Panels that Always Work!!!' hanging over their drawing table. Below is a video that shows how they can be used by cartoonists, illustrators, photographers and even cinematographers:




Below is a video I created in the spring of 2015 when teaching my students how to illustrate their own stories:





BELOW IS A STORY WRITTEN AND ILLUSTRATED BY SOME OF MY SIXTH GRADE STUDENTS IN 2015. 
Notice how the author was able to take very painful events from her own experiences, her parents being deported and her older sister growing up and leaving home, and use them to tell an imaginary story about a mission to Mars. This is how great original fictional stories are told. The author uses personal experience to get their audience to care, then creates an imaginary setting, characters and plot. The result is something both completely new, yet relatable and familiar.

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