Stories without words

Years 7 and 8 visual arts
Creative Class Visual arts

Using emotive illustrations to tell a story

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A drawing with three vignettes showing hands wrapping a framed picture and tying it up with string.

Learning intentions

Students will learn how Shaun Tan uses real and imagined worlds, along with various real-life experiences, to develop his artworks. Students will then explore artmaking in the subjective and cultural frames, using their imaginations and cultural and social perspectives to develop an illustration of a character.

Your students will:

  • explore a story told through illustration
  • analyse the artwork using the conceptual framework
  • develop an illustration of a character
  • communicate through illustration.


Visual Arts 7-10 Syllabus
  • 4.1: uses a range of strategies to explore different artmaking conventions and procedures to make artworks.
  • 4.2: explores the functions of and relationships between artist – artwork – world – audience.
  • 4.5: investigates ways to develop meaning in their artworks.
English K-10 Syllabus
  • EN4-1A: responds to and composes texts for understanding, interpretation, critical analysis, imaginative expression and pleasure.
  • EN4-5C: thinks imaginatively, creatively, interpretively and critically about information, ideas and arguments to respond to and compose texts.
  • EN4-8D: identifies, considers and appreciates cultural expression in texts.