Introduction to Visual Storytelling

Visual imagery is but one of many forms of expression used to convey story. Each has conventions that govern the way a story is communicated, as well as respective advantages and limitations. It is the storyteller’s responsibility to appreciate and capitalize on the differences, accentuating the manner of expression that feeds their creative vision. This is the language of the story form, and it presents a distinctive and versatile palette of artistic choices for the storyteller.

This section looks at how the language of visual storytelling can be harnessed and adapted for an interactive story. At the storyworld’s disposal is an extensive vocabulary derived from visual and performing arts, including a wealth from contemporary media such as graphic novels, film and animation. Video games have made exceptional use of this vocabulary while introducing a new purpose that goes beyond just showing the story. In a video game the imagery is called upon to solicit the user’s interaction. The way this new responsibility expands visual language is significant, although not yet fully defined. The question for interactive story is whether the dictates of drama will make similar demands that can simply be shared with video games, or if it will require yet another facet of the language to emerge.