Visual Storytelling: Telling Your Story


We are bombarded with imagery and visual storytelling from the moment we open our eyes in the morning. These images and videos have been carefully crafted to make us experience predetermined emotions and react in calculated ways. This lesson and the activities in it will introduce students to visual storytelling and give them the opportunity to dissect the visual interpretation of their emotions.


This stand alone lesson introduces students to visual storytelling without explaining what visual storytelling actually is. Students will observe the pictures, while being unaware of the artist's intentions. Students will use visual context clues (colors, shapes, lines, wardrobe, facial expression, etc.) to read the emotional intent of the images. From there students will learn how advertisements, commercials, entertainment and fine art use specific strategies to invoke specific reactions from their viewers. They will learn to identify visual storytelling and start to decode it.

While this lesson is a great stand alone lesson that could work for any art medium, it is also the first of a four lesson unit that focuses on visual storytelling through designing, and sculpting a clay mask. 

Lesson Times

80 minute class
1-2 classes Class Period

Industries / Subjects / Grades

Industries / Pathways
  • Arts, Media, and Entertainment Arts, Media, and Entertainment
    • Design, Visual, and Media Arts
K-12 Subjects
  • Visual Arts & Performing Arts
    • Visual Arts
Grade Levels
  • 9
  • 10
  • 11
  • 12

Standards and Objectives


California's 2013 CTE Standards (2)

Related Instructional Objectives (SWBAT...)

  • Recognize and identify shape language in images.
  • Recognize and identify color psychology in images.
  • Demonstrate the use of shape language in a character.
  • Demonstrate the use of color psychology in a character.

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