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Laura Wilks My Street, My House, My Life

Narrative Imager y

Visual Imagery 

Visual stories are a powerful direct way in which to convey a message. That message may connect with people on all different levels and can convey:  Information  Ideas  Wisdom

It is likely the message will invoke a reaction on an emotional level

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The Coca Cola adver t is ver y successful as it reaches people on a number of levels

Spreading festive cheer

The unofficial countdown to Christmas

Thoughts of Christmas celebrations, family, friends etc.

Visual story-telling is a phenomenon that every society is acquainted with. The term extensively used to refer to visual story-telling in recent times is ‘Visual Narrative’.

The label ‘Visual Narrative’ is applied in a generic sense to denote anything from an illustrated story-book to motion pictures.

Types of Narrative Imagery ď&#x201A;&#x17E;

Books, magazine, illustration, newspaper cartoons, online cartoons, photojournalism, storyboards, film and television titles; contexts e.g contemporary, historical, political, propaganda, satirical, childrenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s books, Manga, photojournalism, silent films, Marvel comics, graphic novels

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Chad was a an ever-present piece of popular culture graf fiti seen in the United Kingdom during and shor tly af ter World War II.

This was widely used to indicate shortages and items rationed. It was a way of visually communicating the way people were feeling at the time.


Narratives are works that provide an account of connected events, a 'story'. There are many types of literature that are considered narratives, including novels, dramas, fables, folk tales, short stories, poetry, etc. In addition to literature, narratives are found in cinema, music, and theatre.


Narrative literary techniques are also known as literary devices. Narrative techniques provide deeper meaning for the reader and help the reader to use imagination to visualize situations. First, it is important to understand that literary elements in narratives include setting, plot, theme, characters, style/structure, perspective/voice, etc., since literary techniques are best understood in the context of one of these elements. Literary techniques include metaphors, similes, personification, imagery, hyperbole, alliteration, backstory, flashback, flash-forward, foreshadowing, and narrative perspective/point of view.

Types of Narrative Images 

From its inception, photography has been conceived of as a medium of

communication. Photographs are used for a variety of purposes: to sell,

commemorate, record, inform, convince, delight, remind their audiences.

These purposes appear in different photographic genres – documentary,

portrait, commercial, medical, ethnographic, fine art photography, etc.

Photographs are ever-present, so as to ‘lose themselves in the ordinary world they help to construct’

Photography and Narrative 

Photography has been used in part to tell stories off and on since its invention in the 19th century

Photographers and audiences draw upon a style or “language” of the image,’ for making meaning

Some are drawn from within and outside of photography – enable photographs to tell stories, rather than simply to record or chronicle what lies before a camera in the instant of clicking the shutter.

Thus just as a verbal statement might be read as a narrative if it begins with the phrase ‘Once upon a time’ . . .


Then the image also starts to tell a story.


Most of us would associate, Once Upon a Time with a nice Fairy-tale, but depending on what the picture portrays will then depend on the reaction

Visual story-telling is a phenomenon that every society is acquainted with. The term extensively used to refer to visual story-telling in recent times is ‘Visual Narrative’.

The label ‘Visual Narrative’ is applied in a generic sense to denote anything from an illustrated story-book to motion pictures. Far from being a trivial term, ‘Visual Narrative’ is in reality an all encompassing idiom, it is a sub genre of Visual Studies itself. With the advancement of scholarly

inquiry in the area of visual and narrative studies, there is a pressing need to establish Visual Narratives (VN) as a distinctive area of study so as to open up sub genres to critical examination. It is our endeavour to present a definition of Visual Narrative and in particular to lobby for the establishment of ‘Static Visual Narrative (SVN)’,

‘Dynamic Visual Narrative (DVN)’and ‘Interactive Visual

Narrative (IVN) as sub genres of Visual Narratives.

 Visual


 Films:

also referred to as movie or motion pictures. Movies are made up of a series of still photographs, each of which shows a slight change in motion, when projected; they give the illusion of a moving Image.

 Narrative

Painting: has an element of literacy. In a narrative picture, the viewer is seeing a moment in a story that allows the viewer to understand what happened prior to and after the moment caught by the artist

 History

Painting: is a term used to describe paintings that focus on a serious narrative or include exemplary actions.

 History

painting is not necessarily an accurate or documentary description of actual events.

 Such

works are often large in scale. Their subjects derive from the Bible, mythology, secular literature, or historical events.

 Animation: Animation

(from the Latin word, animare, to breathe life into) is the visual art of making a motion picture from a series of still drawings

Sequential Art: A train of images deployed in sequence deals with the arrangement

of pictures or images and words to narrate a story or dramatise an idea’

Comics: from the word ‘Comic’ originating from the Greek “of or pertaining to comedy”.

An example of a VN– a scene from ‘Puss in Boots’

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VNs can be viewed on ipods VN on a silver bowl VN on paper

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Dynamic Visual Narrative 

Dynamic Visual Narrative (DVN)

Explorations to add movement to frozen images had been the pursuit of many people . The real breakthrough came in 1890 with the invention of a motor-powered camera that could photograph motion pictures - called a Kinetograph. In early January 1894, The Edison Kinetoscopic Record of a Sneeze was one of the first series of short films made by Dickson for the Kinetoscope viewer. Thus, was born the Dynamic Visual Narrative.

By assigning the term Dynamic to this category of VNs, we refer to the ability of constantly changing images that is characteristic of this type. A movie (animation or live action) typically consists of a number of still images that is run at high speed giving the impression of progressive movement . The story is constructed before the eyes of the spectator.

Actors, scenes, duration of the event, actually physically move in time; albeit in a linear fashion. The visual is projected on a flat surface or on a display


In the case of DVNs visuals are replaced by new visuals at the same display space


A projected DVN

A metaphor of a cinematic experience


Interactive Visual Narrative (IVN)


Interactive Narratives is designed to capture the best of online visual storytelling as practiced by online and print journalists from around the country and the world. Our goal is to highlight rich-media content, engaging storytelling, and eye-popping design in an environment that fosters interaction, discussion, and learning.

Interactive Visual VN ď&#x201A;&#x17E;

An IVN where the viewer controls the movement from one event to the next


An IVN where the viewer plays a character in the story

Distinction between DVN, SVN & IVN

As we have seen VNs can be categorised into three major types – SVN, DVN and IVN. In the table below we will mark the

distinguishing characteristics of each as an aid to identifyin

g each type.

Distinguishing Characteristics Manner of unfolding of the story

Static Visual Narrative (SVN)

Interactive Visual Narrative (IVN)

Unfolds in Space

Dynamic Visual Narrative (DVN) Extends in Time

Visual appearance

Visual is fixed on the surface of the medium

Visuals are replaced in rapid succession at the same space

Visual appears to be fixed but can be replaced by visuals changing in rapid succession on trigger

Knowledge of the story

SVNâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s bank on the prior knowledge of the story

Visual and Viewer Interaction

The visual is fixed but the viewer (imagination) is mobile

The viewer does not need to know Viewers may sometimes need prior knowledge of the the story prior to viewing story; at other times it may not be necessary and in some cases the viewer decides how the story moves forward The visuals move but the viewer is Visual can be fixed or mobile, likewise the viewer can at a fixed Location be fixed or moving or even take on the role of a character in the story

Speed of Viewing

The spectator can decide the speed of viewing

Speed of viewing predetermined by creator of the DVN

Sometimes viewer can determine the speed of viewing, at other times the speed is predetermined

Sequence of Viewing

The spectator can manipulate the sequence and the pace of viewing

The spectator has no control over the sequence or pace of Viewing

The spectator can manipulate the sequence and the pace of viewing Sometimes

Contemplation time

Viewer has ample contemplation time

Contemplation time restricted

Contemplation time can be at times ample and at times restricted

Perception of Movement in the VN

Movement results from active participation of the viewer

Movement is due to the rapid change of visuals

Movement can be caused by the active participation of the viewer as well as the rapid change of visuals

Examples of SVNs: Cave paintings, Comics, Graphic Novels, Picture Books, Narrative Scrolls, Narrative on Objects, Miniature paintings, Murals, Info Graphics, etc.

Examples of DVNs: Animation, Drama, Bioscope, Puppet Shows, Live Action Films

Examples of IVNs: Interactive story books, Interactive Games, iPad â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Alice in Wonderland

Extends in time with latent possibilities of unfolding in space

Conclusion We have found a novel way of telling stories by illustrating those using visuals. We do this to communicate to an audience; explaining what, how, where, and in what manner the event took place. We employ the help of VNs to do this. The technique of illustrating stories has existed through history and continues to exist today. These have been investigated under various headings such as comics, narrative art, animation, films etc. As we have explored through the fields mentioned above they all have a common characteristic; in that they all narrate stories using visuals. We have therefore, established this feature and recognize the VN as a distinct category.

VNs can be expressed using moving images or a fixed image and in recent times with an advancement of technology a combination of both the moving and fixed types. To these we assign the terms Static Visual Narratives (SVN), Dynamic Visual Narratives (DVN) and Interactive Visual Narratives (IVN).

Comics, animation, history paintings are types of VNs. A visual that tells a story on a static medium (wood, metal, canvas, books, walls, objects etc) is a SVN. As the film or animation tells the story employing rapidly changing images; the film is a DVN. Interactive storytelling sites, and interactive games with a narrative aspect are examples of the IVN.

Reproductive Graphic Techniques ď&#x201A;&#x17E;

The main reproductive printing techniques are silk screen printing, block printing, photocopying and scanning. Letterpress, lithography, flexography, and gravure printing are used in commercial manufacturing.


Finishing techniques enhance the final product.

Screen Printing ď&#x201A;&#x17E;

The screen is made from a fine mesh material fixed to a wooden frame. A stencil is placed under the screen and ink forced through the stencil onto the material below. Screen printing with stencils is best for blocks of colour.

Block Printing 

Indian block printing

Shapes are cut into blocks made of wood, metal or linoleum. Ink is applied to the block, and the block is pressed onto paper.

Block prints can be quite detailed if the block is well made, but normally only one colour is used. The process is good for making positive and negative images and repeating patterns.

Block printing is used to print small and medium sized runs of greetings cards, wallpaper, paper tablecloths and similar products.

Block Printing

Photocopying 

Photocopiers can enlarge and reduce images, and process paper, card and clear acetate. Different paper sizes can be used. They can also be used for back-to-back copying and to collate multiple copies.

Colour photocopiers give good results but the copies are more expensive.

Photocopiers can be used to:

arrange multiple small drawings on a page

make multiple versions of the same drawing (eg to make a pattern)

enlarge or reduce drawings

copy reference material (if copyright allows)

copy artwork sheets to maintain a consistent style in a project folder

Scanning ď&#x201A;&#x17E;

Scanning is the best way to turn images from books, newspapers or magazines into digital images on screen.


Many books, newspapers and magazines contain good images to put in your graphics project. You will need to use a scanner to transfer the images from paper to your screen.


A scanner is a device that takes images in printed format and copies them into a computer in a digital format.

Letterpress Printing ď&#x201A;&#x17E;

Letterpress image courtesy of Justin Miller of Bound Staff Press


This is a form of relief printing. In relief printing, the parts to be printed are raised up from the base plate. Letterpress printing can be used to produce both type and illustrations. It is used for small printing jobs such as business cards and stationery.


Letterpress printing is becoming less common as it is time-consuming to set up the loose type and make the plates, and the range of fonts and styles is limited.


Flexography ď&#x201A;&#x17E;

Flexography uses a relief image on thin, flexible printing plates made of rubber.


Flexography can be used to print on materials such as cellophane, polythene and metallic films, so it is often used to print plastic shopping bags. It is also used to print newspapers and paperback books.


Lithography ď&#x201A;&#x17E;

A printing plate with a relief image is dampened with water and then coated with ink. The ink only sticks to the parts of the plate that are not wet with water. The printing plate is fixed to a roller and the image is transferred onto paper fed under the roller.


In offset-lithography, the paper does not come into direct contact with the printing plate. Instead, the image is transferred to a rubber roller.


Lithography is used for medium and long print runs of products such as magazines, posters, packaging and books.

My Story

Narrative imagery  
Narrative imagery