This is just a quick post to share.
I have used storyboarding a few times in different workshops with different people and the one thing that sticks with me using this activity is people’s hesitancy to draw (click here for an explanation of storyboarding). Hearing people say things like ‘I’m not artistic, you do the pictures’ or ‘I didn’t do art at school, so I’m not gonna draw, I’ll just write stuff instead’. There can be a real disconnect for people from a storyboarding activity because it involves drawing.
If the purpose of a storyboarding activity is to create a story that people can learn from, discuss and share, you don’t want people to disengage or disconnect from it just because the act of drawing is not a skill people want to use. However, when this is a skill I use everyday, I think this is something I, and other artists and designers need to remind themselves.
One of the ways round the disconnect from drawing is to create storyboard images to take to a storyboard workshop. For example I made photographs of mealtimes on a hospital ward using playmobile for a MappMal workshop, designed by design researchers at The Glasgow School of Art*. This meant people were not put off by having to draw but also meant the situations they may have wanted to illustrate were pre-defined. One of the ways around this is to leave blank storyboard cards so people can draw if they want to and are able to reference other images in the pictures you provide.
However I’d caveat all this by saying the act of drawing, and seeing the shapes, marks and pictures we create means our brain goes to places it doesn’t not normally connect too when writing things down. Having other people see what you are saying can spark off different conversations. So in an effort to be diplomatic providing people with pictures of storyboarding can be a good thing when there is real reticence from a group, but pushing people to do something different, or uncomfortable, can be equally rewarding, both for them and the outcome of the workshop.
*It should be pointed out that Playmobile pictures were made for the MappMal project as it was inappropriate to take photographs of patients in hospital at mealtimes.