Twenty-six students watched in awe as artist Andy Gouveia efficiently composed a six-panel comic strip about a mouse scheming to extract cheese from a mousetrap. Such was just one lesson point during Gouveia’s Visual Storytelling workshop held at Central Park Library’s Central Studio on May 30. During the previous week, students learned about character creation. This week students put their character into a sequential story, such as a comic, picture book or graphic novel.
“This week we looked at the most fundamental building blocks of narratives,” says Gouveia. “We learned ways to tell a story simply and clearly. For clarity with images, it is about distilling the story down to what’s important.”
Gouveia shared the different types of compositions he considers useful for storyboarding. He also reviewed the work of classic comic artists, such as Will Eisner and Jack Kirby. Other sequential storytellers and artists Gouveia likes include Paul Pope, William Steig, Alex Goth and Shaun Tan.
“The overall idea is to have a nice arc in the story and have some sort of change from the beginning to the end,” Gouveia says. “I focus on using three different types of shots: the wide shot, the medium shot and the close-up. Using those images can control the pace of the storytelling. Students choose shots to best serve the image they are drawing and put them in some sort of sequence. A wide shot would be good for a large panorama, something where you want to show scale, something that sets the stage. A medium shot is good for showing a relationship between characters. The close-up is good for showing details.”
Students were assigned to experiment with the concepts they learned and make their own rough thumbnail story. Gouveia was pleased to see a lot of students laughing at their stories and finding amusement in what they were creating.