Storytelling through images

Storytelling through images


Prepare paper, brushes, pens or pencils,  watercolor and water, as well as a table, so that participants are comfortable to draw on the paper using the brushes.

Description of activity

First do a warm-up:

  • Tell the participants to draw an animal – any animal they want
  • Then tell them to draw the same type of animal without lifting the pen/pencil from the paper
  • Then they will draw the same animal with their left hand (or right, if they are left-handed)
  • Then draw it with eyes closed
  • Then with the two hands in the same time, holding one pen/pencil in each hand and drawing with eyes closed and without lifting the pen/pencil from the paper

After this warm-up you can ask the participants how the experience was and how they feel.

Go to the next step of the exercise – tell the participants to take a piece of paper and divide it in 6 sections. In each section they should draw something different: a human, a tree, a house, a dog, a chair and a magical creature.

You can again have a short debriefing with the participants to see how it was for them to draw these elements.

The next step of the workshop is to draw 3 things that seem like they don’t have an obvious connection with each other, e.g. a moon, a sheep and a house. It can be also things that people brough with them in their luggage to the workshop/training. The participants should try to combine these 3 elements in several drawings in a different way and with different proportions and sizes of the elements: for instance, a big sheep that is carrying a house on its back and is wearing a small moon as a necklace, or a big moon crescent with a small house and a sheep on it. They should experiment with different combinations.

Again make a short debriefing on how that step went with the participants and go to the last element of the activity.

Tell the participants that they can now experiment with the watercolors and the brushes on a new paper – they can make stains and splashes with different shapes on the paper using the watercolors.

After they use the colors, tell them that they can now try to identify shapes in the colorful stains – maybe they can see a bird, a dragon, a person or anything else their imagination leads them to. Tell them to outline the shapes and figures they see with a pen or pencil.

Now comes the storytelling part of the exercise: ask the participants (whoever wants can start) to tell a story together, including elements from any of the drawings they made in the workshop. One person will start and will say a sentence including for example a magical creature that he/she drew, and then will pass the floor to the next person to continue the story by including some other character or object from his or her drawing. In this way, the participants will jointly create a magical story and will express their creativity and out-of-the-box thinking, unleashing their imagination and inspiration.

At the end, you can make a final debriefing to see how people felt during the activity and what they learned from it.