The Art of Visual Storytelling



On the 15th and 16th of December, visiting faculty member, Mrs. Shobha Viswanath, provided an introduction to writing picture books for children. The workshop was open to interested teachers and class 11 art students.

An avid collector of picture books from around the world, Shobha is a proponent of creating high quality literature for children with an Indian context in the picture book format. In India, picture books are still a nascent phenomenon, given the Indian penchant toward anthologies and oral storytelling.

Shobha stepped participants through the picture book writing process, from ideation to post-production, sharing a number of her and her publishing house’s masterpieces. Over two sessions, it became evident that writing a picture book is not as easy as it appears. Can you communicate the essence of what you want to say in less than 800 words? Have you properly visualized the illustrations and spatial distribution of your text? When a picture is worth a thousand words, how does one come up with text that is not redundant, but adds to and enhances the plot? Can you convey profundity and/ or humour in a simple manner that appeals to all age groups?

Participants went away with a newfound respect for picture book writers and illustrators, and the resolve to take on the challenge of creating their own picture book.