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The Creative Corner: "The Art of Storytelling"

man with guitar and woman laughing

Home Learning  |  The Creative Corner

Episode 4: Everyone loves a good story! Explore how writers use storyboards to visualize books and movies, learn how actors train and use fight choreography to portray stories on stage, and become a work of art yourself on this episode of The Creative Corner.

The Creative Corner is an Art for the Journey production, presented by VPM and brought to you by Earthsong.

Virginia Standards of Learning (4th-6th grades):

Arts (Visual): 4/5/6.1, 4.4, 4.16, 4/5.18, 4/5.19, 6.13, 6.14

Arts (Theatre): 6.6, 6.14, 6.18, 6.19

Arts (Music): 4/5.9

English: 4/5/6.4, 4/5/6.5, 4/5.9, 5/6.3

History:  WG.1, VUS.10, WHII.1

Physical Education: 4/5.1, 4.4

Art Project Guides

art supplies

Create a Storyboard/ Supplies Needed:

  • Paper
  • Pencil
  • Pen
  • (Optional) Colored pencils, crayons, markers, or watercolors
  • You can also make a digital storyboard! Use a drawing app or a note-taking app with a hand-written function, and follow the same process listed below.

Step-by-Step Instructions:

  1. Think about the story you want to portray, and decide how many frames you want to include in your storyboard. A very basic storyboard could include three frames, leaving room for you to illustrate the beginning, middle, and end of the story. If your story has a lot of important events in it, or if you’re illustrating a whole conversation, you may want more frames.
  2. Draw a square on your paper for each frame of your story. Feel free to trace something or use a straightedge if you want to be precise, or just draw them freehand (without a guide).
  3. Starting at the beginning of your story, fill each frame with a moment or a plot point from your narrative. It’s helpful to start with a pencil, in case you need to rearrange elements in your storyboard, or change the way you’ve drawn a particular character, for example.
  4. Once you’re happy with your pencil sketches, go over them with a pen or marker to make them nice and bold.
  5. If you want, add color to your illustrations with colored pencils, markers, crayons, watercolors, or another medium.
  6. You can also add captions (labels) for the pictures in your storyboard. Above or below each frame, write a brief description of what’s happening in that moment in the story. This can help you or another viewer understand how the story progresses from beginning to end.

Tips:

  • Keep your pictures simple; they don’t need a whole lot of detail. (Watch Episode 3 of The Creative Corner for some examples!) Someone should be able to look at your finished storyboard and clearly tell what’s happening in the story, without too much detail to distract them from the plot.
  • When you’re drawing long, straight lines, like the borders around your storyboard frames, it helps to move your hand quickly instead of going slowly, centimeter by centimeter. (Your hand is less likely to wobble when it’s moving fast, so the lines tend to turn out straighter.)
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Tableau vivant painting

Tableau Vivant: Become a Painting! Supplies Needed:

  • An image of a work of art
  • Costumes
  • Props
  • Makeup
  • Imagination (and time!)

Step-by-Step Instructions:

  1. Choose a work of art with one or more figures (people) in it. Pick something that looks like it would be fun to act out! You can do this on your own if you like, or together with friends or family members.
  2. Look closely at the details in your chosen artwork. Take some time to gather supplies for your costume, set (backdrop), props and accessories, and any makeup or face paint you might need.
  3. Time to transform! Put on your costume(s) and practice your picture pose. Pay special attention to your figure’s body language, the angles of their arms and legs, and their facial expression.
  4. Once everyone is in costume and your set is ready, get in position and pose! It’s helpful to have someone look at the image you’re imitating, then look at your tableau vivant, and make any final adjustments to get your pose(s) just right.
  5. Try to hold your tableau vivant for at least 30 seconds! You can perform it for an audience of your friends and family if you like, or have a helper (or a timer setting) take a photograph to capture the tableau on film.
  6. What does it feel like to embody (become, or bring to life) the figure from your work of art? How are their surroundings, movements, and mood different from your own? If your work of art were a moment in a movie, what do you think happened right before (or right after) the the scene you’re acting out?

Tips:

  • The online tableau vivant project “Tussen Kunst & Quarantaine” (Dutch for “Between Art & Quarantine”) started in the spring of 2020 as a way to keep people around the world active, connected, and entertained through art while staying safe at home. There have now been hundreds of submissions by people all across the globe: some simple, some hilarious, some downright impressive. If you need some ideas for your own tableau vivant, or just want to check out some living works of art, visit https://www.instagram.com/tussenkunstenquarantaine/.