If you have always wanted to write picture books, perhaps this excerpt will help you sign up for my e-course. More details here.
Visual storytelling has existed from the time of ancient man!
Ever since Man decided to draw because it was easier than words (drawing did come before language), he has been passing on his stories and life experiences in the form of cave drawings, palm leaf scrolls, rock inscriptions and even sculpture. Once paper was invented, it was only natural that the leap from “wall” to “print” would eventually happen (much to the delight of children and adults!)
As writers, we are forever guided and cautioned by three timelines:
1. What came before us (the past)
2. What is currently with us (the present)
3. What is going to come from us, i.e., what we are going to create (the future)
Early picture books were mostly moral lessons, because at that time, the consensus was that children should be seen and not heard. It is a sad fact that even today, when children are about a thousand times more stimulated than olden times’ and have even more distractions, some writers consider that children’s stories should also be moral stories!
To know how times have changes, to make sure we don’t repeat the mistakes, it is essential to know the past and the present – only then can we create a unique and relevant idea that has not been done to death. Keeping this in mind, here are two links that will give you an idea of the history behind picture books.
http://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2012/02/a-brief-history-of-childrens-picture-books-and-the-art-of-visual-storytelling/253570/ - This link is a comprehensive intro to the history of visual storytelling
http://www.picturingbooks.com/slides/picture-book-timeline.html - This is a terrific resource, complete with picture samples, of the styles of picture storytelling dating back to centuries.
The above two links will keep you happily entertained and infinitely wiser about the styles and storytelling themes prevalent in various decades of the past few centuries.
But this is the global history, right? What about the Indian perspective, you may wonder. Well, that constitutes tomorrow’s lesson :)
Read some classic picture books that are available free at this link - http://www.childrensbooksonline.org/library.htm
See what the themes usually are. Try to decipher the attitudes and the moral convictions of a society through the stories it has provided for its little members. It’s not necessary to submit a formal report, but do share your thoughts on what you feel about learning this history.