Really good storytelling in art is rare. Often times, paintings are just a collection of brushstrokes that don’t tell a story.
Do works of art have to tell a story? No. But if you can implement the art of storytelling, you can deliberately pull the viewer under the spell of your work just like a random orbital sander with the best rating can draw customers’ attention.
The cornerstones of successful storytelling
An invisible framework that guides the viewer
Telling stories matters of course for artists. Sometimes the story begins on a single canvas or sheet of paper and only ends when there is a gallery of paintings, a series of drawings, a series of illustrations, a series of comics, or an entire graphic novel.
Reach for the story
Telling a story visually looks resonates with numerous artists. There is something about visual communication that is incredibly influential, but at times the words seem overpowering. You can start with individual images and then assemble the entire story from the individual images.
Visual artists habitually create some kind of narrative in their work even if you are not aware of it. Storytelling takes many forms. At the root, it’s about communication and connection with the viewer, which is what many artists strive for.
Storytelling in art – quick tips
Look beyond the climax
Illustrations that are directly based on another narrative, such as a book cover or a newspaper article, sometimes tend to demonstrate the crucial moment in the story or the main character – the climax for maximum drama and effectiveness.
Look at it from a different perspective
It’s important to challenge yourself with different perspectives, scales, and the way your topics interact with each other. When sketching, you can make several rough sketches before you work out the individual objects in more detail. Only later can you decide on a final composition.
Getting emotions going
If you use very minimal details, you will need to use other techniques to create atmosphere and emotion in your depictions.
Tell a story within a plot
First, reduce yourself to a few elements that you put in the scene. A single character or just two characters is sufficient to tell a story in art. You can do this by depicting an activity. The figure usually does something and is then captured either before it happens or shortly after.