Telling Stories in Art

April 13th, 2012

Another fun way to explore language in your art is through telling stories. I was on the Subway a few years back, when I had an idea. I was watching the people in passing Subway cars thinking how each person I saw had their own story, how each person had a dialogue running through their heads. And all these simultaneous stories were just whooshing by each other at fast speeds all day long. I wanted to capture that in art and so the Subway Stories series was born.

In the background, I'd collage subway maps and train station times along with bits of phone book pages. Over that I would paint a subway scene. And then in each figure I would write a bit of their story through the dialogue I imagined was running through their heads.

How do you tell stories through your art?


Art above is Green Line, Park Street, and St. Mary's, all named after Boston T stops.

22 Responses

Great imagery and the lack of colour is so uncharacteristic of the other work I have seen of yours, yet fits the subject matter of a NYC subway so well!

About 20 years ago, I created a visual book of all my grandmother’s unusual sayings: “You look like a dying duck in a thunder storm”, “Hair like wild mint”, and many more.

I’ll have to dig out the book and put the images up on my blog!

Hi Leah, I’ve finally signed up for the Creative Every Day Challenge. I’ve been following it for years and finally did it. I’m participant number 500…that’s gotta be good luck!! I love your blog, you are very inspiring. Hugs xx

The Subway Stories are amazing. I love them and hope to see more of them. Have you given any thought to doing a book of them?

I like the images! What a creative way to tell stories through art! I’ve just started art journalling, and am trying to use the pages (a combination of colours, images, and words) to tell a narrative.

Creative and inspirational. I love the flow of the characters and words in the collage. Just very fine, Leah.

Such expressive little characters. It is a wonderful idea and monotone speaks volumes:)

Leah, I absolutely LOVE this series. Really fantastic!

These are amazing – I am in awe. Thank you for supporting and encouraging us in our desire to create.

I loved these! They are amazing! <3

Leah I really love these! Your pieces really do touch me, this collection is just great! I love to tell stories through my ladies and their expressions, or through colours of passion or peace, moods, feelings mix up with the colours and expressions. Thanks Leah for sharing your language collection which I love!

This is genius! I love it!

Amazing work. I love the story and the art. I used to ride the subway and wonder about what the other people did for a living or where they were going. Love how you incorporated the words.

Well done on such a great observation and your interpretation it’s fantastic.
I draw Doodly Birds and although it’s not telling a story each bird I draw comes to life as it appears and I find myself saying things like oh you are a cute one or you are grumpy looking one. I don’t plan my illustrations they just appear at the end of my pen. Im moving into creating scenes with them now to frame.
One I Made Earlier Today

I love these pieces Leah!! I wonder the same thing on the bus sometimes. Seeing people with blank faces and nothing seeming to be going on in them but assume I look the same way as I ruminate on my way home. These are such a beautifully crafted expressions of th0se inner thoughts. x

Words are very important to me, so I absolutely love these pieces. I have an old, faded Bulfinch’s Mythology I want to do something with…you’ve inspired me, Leah!

These are truly fantastic creations that say so much ~ thanks, namaste, ^_^

Wow, I love this series!

These are so cool… love the contrast of the maps and the newspaper.

Love hearing the description of how you create stories through your art.

I am seeing the need to get back to creating every day to notice the stories…thanks for the reminder, Leah!

These are just wonderful in their simplicity! Beautiful!

These are magical, Leah.

This subway series is wonderful – so clever and intriguing. It inspires further stories and possibilities in the viewers mind too. I love to people watch, connect with others and tell stories so this is wonderful to me.

Hope all is okay with you & that Annabelle is keeping you busy with her joy.
Kat Xx

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