Sunday, August 5, 2012

Jon Klassen: The Basics of Visual Storytelling

Jon's first tenet: Stories don’t exist outside of how they are told.

Jon Klassen reading left to right.

He uses the example of The Red Balloon, which is incredible as a movie, but when turned into a picture book, falls a little flat. The movement of the balloon, which made the film magical, can’t be replicated in the static images of a book. By tailoring your project to its intended format you're doing your story a lot of favors and the better your work will be.

Storytelling is teaching: It's so much fun to hear Jon talk about the choice of color and text in I Want My Hat Back.

Visual storytelling is teaching with symbols, Jon’s stellar example is Super Mario Bros. 

Jon talked about the power of limitations to make your work better: P.D. Eastman’s Sam and the Firefly has an incredibly limited palette which helps the creator and reader focus on what’s important, each color serves as a symbol in the story.

Even though I’ve been studying the design and layout of Where The Wild Things Are for a zillion years, Jon is showing us things about it I never noticed before—fascinating!

Style should never get in the way of storytelling. Jon uses the example of Harold and the Purple Crayon, and how the art Harold makes, those thick purple lines, that style doesn’t bolster or match the style and talent of Crockett Johnson’s normal style, it’s done to serve the story

Make up rules and then hold on to them: Jon says you only have to hold on to your rules for 40 pages and then you can drop them. 

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