Storytelling through Comics and Storyboarding


I'm amazed by kids' innate ability to spontaneously tell stories. Halfway through one of his free-verse stories, 7-year-old Graham paused and said, "Can I make this a comic book?" Having just finished "Understanding Comics" by Scott McCloud, I felt a solemn duty to help him fulfill his request. I gave him a large clipboard, a pen, this storyboard template, a few reference images that he asked for on sticky notes, and got out of his way. 

After about an hour of quiet and intense work, Graham proudly showed me a six-panel storyboard with a sweeping story that wove together Lady Gaga, Elvis, and professional wrestling. (This was interesting in its own right because none of those things are particularly present in our home.) 

Storytelling, like drawing, is a skill that everyone is born with, but withers away without practice and nurturing. A large part of my work is reteaching adults to tell compelling stories of what they do and what they want to achieve. Paul Smith, author of "Lead With A Story," says, "In the world of business, storytelling has emerged as a vital skill for every leader and manager... to sell ideas, communicate a vision for the future, and inspire commitment."

What if, alongside reading, writing, and arithmetic, we educated our kids to be storytellers?