4: Transforming Tales (July 2020)

See: Assignment 4: A Working Draft (forthcoming April 2020)

The second stage of my exploration looks in more detail at narrative strategies, producing alternative ’empowerment stories’ from role play photos and video.

The second stage of my exploration looks at different narrative approaches using longer image sequences in the form of photos and video of role plays. Unlike most instruction manuals by development agencies, the stories have already been constructed by members of the community. But improvisations have often been recorded with imperfect equipment and need shortening and editing for a wider audience. I focus on::

I then look at wordless storytelling techniques used by comic and animation illustrators, particularly:

  • Matt Maden’s ’99 ways to tell a story’.
  • Manga
  • Tom Gould ‘Goliath’
  • Ross Bollinger’s Flash animations

Building on the drawing styles developed in the previous section, I produce a series of contrasting narrative ‘translations’ in different graphic and narrative styles.

  • ‘Tupa Tupa’: where does all the coffee money go as a narrative photo sequence.
  • Child Marriage

For initial feedback from friends and colleagues in communities and organisations through social networks see: Assignment 4: A Working Draft (forthcoming July 2020) and the final summary of longer term feedback, assessment and refinements in Assignment 5: Participatory VisCom Guidelines.(forthcoming September 2020)

Community Empowerment Stories

I focus on two story-lines from photographs and video of role plays:

Graphic narrative inspiration

Drawing on wordless storytelling techniques used by comic and animation illustrators, particularly Matt Maden’s ’99 ways to tell a story’. I look at other illustrators and animators producing textless stories:

Narrative innovation

I produce sets of alternative empowerment stories experimenting with different approaches to narrative: framing, composition, timing, sequencing and format, using:

  • storyboard software
  • Stick Nodes software that creates different styles of stick animation
  • Toontastic software that creates lego-like characters
  • Rough Animator to refine the stories and animation.

Each ‘translation set’ explores a range of options to see how different narrative approaches affect the ways in which empowerment messages might be read. In particular, how seriously the messages are taken as ‘community voices’ for advocacy.

These are then circulated and discussed with people on the ground through social network groups, to refine the most successful animations.

Selected animations will be uploaded to a You Tube channel and embedded in this blog. Less ‘successful’ work will be placed in this blog or on my Adobe account and linked for reference.

Types of sequential narrative




Characteristic of manga is the perspective and stylisation of the figures. With very dramatic composition.