Visualizing Poetry through Digital Storytelling

Eric Braun Blog

As a genre of creative expression, Poetry is rhythmic and visual. It conveys concise messages artistically. This is its power and its appeal. I remember from grade school that Poetry should be spoken not read in silence. Without the spoken word, the power is diminished. Vocalization touches us more deeply than merely reading to ourselves, and it makes the word social.

Recently, I decided to explore this more deeply by combining Poetry with Digital Storytelling. Read on to see what I created.

I believe that a fundamental aspect of a poem is its ability to convey a message or tell a story in a way that is memorable and impactful. By transforming the poem into a digital story, the transformer has to actively think of and find or create imagery to support the ideas in the poem. The illustrated poem takes the imagery out of the mind of the poet and onto the medium. Once the poem is laid out as a storyboard of imagery, the spoken word is recorded as an audio narration – which may include sound effects as well.

My inspiration came from a news story that the wild tiger population was increasing for the first time in over 100 years. As dangerous and as scary tigers can be, they are also fascinating. I decided I would create a story about a tiger. When I came across the poem called “The Tiger” by William Blake, I knew I had the script I wanted. Already having a script would make the process easier, too. To make this more fun, I posted this as a challenge to a group of elementary teachers I am working with, so we could all explore and depict the poem in our own way.

My inspiration began with this image of a tiger from Pixabay (to the right). Then, I looked at each stanza to see where the imagery was and broke the lines out into slides. Each visual idea became a separate slide, and I used the Enhanced Drawing functionality of 30hands Storyteller Pro to create them. Putting together the image scenes for each slide was fun. On a few of them, I went through several iterations until I found what I liked best. As I created the slide scenes, I placed the associated text on the slide around the imagery. If better contrast was needed, I used a fat line with a neutral color and stretched it to size to serve as a background to my text, making sure to arrange it behind my text. I could have used Google Slides to create my image scenes, too, then easily imported them into a 30hands presentation.

Once I had my poem storyboarded out, I recorded the narration and previewed it. It took a few iterations of recording on some of the slides because not all of the words seemed to flow as smoothly without practice.

Below is an overview of the process for 1 slide.

Tiger1.TigerSlide-IMG_5904

1. Select Main Image

Tiger2.Cutout-Wings-IMG_5910

2. Cut Out Wings in Photoshop Mix

Tiger3.Add-Wings-IMG_5905

3. Add Wings to Tiger

Tiger4.Add-Text-IMG_5906

4. Add Text to Slide

Tiger5.Add-Background-IMG_5909

5. Add Black Line for Text Background

Tiger6.Stretch-BG-Down-IMG_5907

6. Stretch Down Black Background Line

Tiger7.Narrate-line-IMG_5911

7. Narrate Line From Poem

1. Select Main Image

2. Cut Out Wings in Photoshop Mix

3. Add Wings to Tiger

4. Add Text to Slide

5. Add Black Line for Text Background

6. Stretch Down Black Background Line

7. Narrate Line From Poem


TIGER-TIGER-Video

Click to Play Final Video


Help your students learn the power of the spoken word in combination with great visuals to support the spoken concepts. This is a great hands-on learning experience that they will remember for a long time.

And if you or your students create a digital storytelling poem with 30hands Pro, post it on Facebook or Twitter or the 30hands Community Site and let us know.

 

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