Art in Writing

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Before you learned to write, you drew pictures to tell stories. And telling stories through art is every bit as valid as the words you put on a page.

This month, we’re trying our hands at using different arts to complement our writing and enhance your readers’ experience.

Now, I can guess what you’re thinking (because I would totally have thought that too!) – but I want to be a writer, not an artist!

Well, I’m sorry to tell you, but if you’re a writer, you ARE an artist!

I get it. Maybe you just want to write books. Super! But before your novel gets snapped up by a big publisher, you could be sharing your work right now! Publishers love writers who come with an adoring fanbase already, so it’s time to start thinking about making a name for yourself. 

The wonderful thing about being a writer in 2021 is that you have many channels to share your writing. Can you draw? Draw some pictures to complement your stories! Do you work with clay? Sculpt some scenes and pop those pics up on Instagram! Do you own a microphone? Or, let’s face it, a phone of any kind? Record videos of yourself reading your stories! Between social media, the internet and small, indie publications, you can present your stories in any way you like.

Why should I branch out in other creative ways?

  1. It can break writer’s block. When you get stuck for words, switch it up and paint/draw/sing/rap/script something to complement your writing. It’ll add sensorially to the story you are telling, your fans will LOVE it, and it’ll give your brain a break from searching for words.
  2. It can improve your writing. When you take a break from the words, you’ll come back fresh and find you’ve been brewing ideas without even thinking about it. In other words, if you combine writing with another creative medium, it will force you to take writing breaks and gain some distance.
  3. You can reach new audiences. Publishers are watching social media and blog spaces for new talent, so if you’ve got something to put out there, do it! By sharing your stories in another medium, you’ll be able to engage with a larger audience. 
  4. It makes you stand out. There are squillions of writers out there – do something creative with your stories that will put you ahead of the rest.

Make a zine!

In your box, you’ll find a zine by ‘The Secret Introvert Club’ – an Australian artist (a zinester!) who discovered she had a lot to say. She expresses her ideas through the gorgeous, characterful zines she handmakes and sells online!

A zine (pronounced “zeen”) is a glorious mixture of art, words, story and emotion. Artists use zines to speak creatively about whatever they want to. They can be full colour or black and white, be drawn, painted, a collage of stickers and prints or anything in between. They can be glued together, sewn, taped or exist in unbound forms. They might tell a story, be journalistic, or they might be completely abstract. In a zine, you can write about whatever you want, however you want, and use whichever creative method of visual expression to complement it. 

The main rule is that there are no rules!

​So, go make a zine! 

Your zine kit has a mix of stickers and paper you could collage together, but don’t be afraid to get out the crayons and pencils too. Use your zine kit to think about a topic you might like to cover – it might be a story you could cut down to the bare essentials, it might be a train of thought you think others might appreciate. You might write something non-fiction. It’s up to you! 

So get creative with your words and try something new! Your writer’s brain will love you for it.

STORY CONTEST

Well, it’s your zine, of course! 

Take pictures of the pages or take a video of yourself flipping through it. You could do a video of yourself reading it aloud!

Or you can mail it in to Pen and Fable headquarters (don’t worry, if you tell me your address, I promise I’ll mail it back!)

For the younger kids

Do you love to draw? To use stamps? To cut out pictures and stick them together in a collage? I’ll bet you’re an amazing artist! Whichever method you use, that’s fantastic!

And, I’ll bet that sometimes it’s so much easier to tell a story through art than it is through writing words. That’s ok too. In fact, using art to tell your stories is a wonderful tool for you as a young writer, and I hope its a skill you always use (I wish I knew that – I suck at drawing now!)

So, let’s talk about the ways art can enhance your storytelling skills.

Why should you branch out in other creative ways?

  1. It can break writer’s block. Have you heard of ‘writer’s block’? It’s an expression used by writers when they can’t think of what to write next. It can be very frustrating! When you get stuck for words, switch it up and paint/draw/sing/rap/sculpt something about your story. 
  2. It can improve your writing. Finding words can be hard sometimes, so you might find it easier to express yourself in another way. That way, you can come back to writing your story with some fresh ideas. 
  3. If you want to grow up to be a writer, you should know that publishers love to publish books from writers who already have an audience! If you start practising now, when you’re older, you might start a blog or a social media page showing off your writing and art skills and find lots of adoring fans that way!

Your storytime play kit

This month we’re doing things a little differently. Rather than playing out your story, you’ll have a chance to make a zine!

In your box, you’ll find a zine – GoGo, the cool zine for kids!

A zine (pronounced “zeen”) is a glorious mixture of art, words, story and emotion. Artists use zines to speak creatively about whatever they want to. They might tell a story, report on an important issue or explore a topic they enjoy. The main rule is that there are no rules! A zine can be made up of drawings, paintings, collages, stickers or whatever art you like to do.

Use your zine kit to think about a topic you might like to cover – it might be a story you want to tell, it might be about an animal or a country you would like to explore. It could be a mix up of artworks and the stories behind them. It’s up to you! 

​So, go make a zine! Your zine kit has a mix of stickers and paper you could collage together, but don’t be afraid to get out the crayons and pencils too. 

Now, go get creative with your words and try something new! Your writer’s brain will love you for it.

STORY CONTEST

Well, it’s your zine, of course! 

Take pictures of the pages or take a video of yourself flipping through it. You could do a video of yourself reading it aloud!

Or you can mail it into Pen and Fable headquarters (don’t worry, if you tell me your address, I promise I’ll mail it back!)

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