Digital storytelling #6 – 20 Ideas for illustrating stories

Submitted by Fiona Beal

Here are some suggestions for illustrating stories that you have written or that your class has written.

1. Hand drawn pictures

Hand drawn with kokis or pencil crayons and scanned into the computer.

Example: A noise in the night


2. Use cutouts

Create a background in some way. Then cut out figures and objects and place them on the background. Take a photo. Then for the next page move them around again and take another photo.

Example: Emily and the Seagull


3. Take photos

Take photos of different scenes. (Remember that if there are people involved in a photo you need to get permission from the people in the photo if you want to use it on the web).

Example 1: Andiswa Soccer Star


Example 2: On Safari


4. Use collages

Use a mix of drawing painting and odds and ends stuck on and a picture taken.

Example 1: Nonyane


Example 2: Lion collage

5. Lego people

Use lego picture templates, cut them out and past them on a piece of paper. use a scanner to upload them. Example:


6. Line drawings clipart

If you type into Google for example ‘horses clip art line drawings’ you’ll be taken to a page like this  Print what you want and then cut it out and place it on a sheet of paper and draw around it. Colour it in.

Example: Khotso goes to the zoo


7. Public domain clipart

This is clipart that is free to use. I have given some suggestions in a blogpost

Finding royalty free images on the Internet’

Example: What on earth are you doing?


8. Use a free computer application

Use a free computer program like PAINT or PAINT.NET or something else to draw pictures and colour them in.

Example: Elephant’s new home


There’s a very simple application called You just open it and start drawing. Then you save it and add the picture to your presentation template

9. Ask friends, relatives or children to draw for you.

Why not ask others to do the pictures for you?

Example: The adventures of Meerkat and friends


10. Paint a picture

Example: A Value Painting Exercise

11. Use large almost abstract like cutouts

Example: Art Ideas for Inspiration: Illustrating Plot of a Story


12. Use cartoon-like figures

I would suggest uploading to a programme like PAINT or a similar application to colour them

Example: How to make illustrations even if you can’t draw


13  Draw childlike pictures 

Example: Draw your story – the illustrated journal



14 Ask one of the children in your class to draw for you

Example: Sipho signs away


15. Use stuffed toys

Use stuffed toys, move them around and take photos.

Example: The mystery of the vanishing books


16. Use a computer application from school

Example: Monsters under my bed


17. Foliage art

art foliage collages and
scan them in

18. Tracing pictures

You can trace pictures and draw/colour them in your own way. Here is another example:’s-Book

19. Use black and white pencil drawings

You can even use pencil drawings. Here is a great collection of free p[encil drawings 

20. If you are an artist – hooray!

Here are some ideas for those who are already artists and can illustrate their own books.

Something you cannot do

One thing tat you cannot do is simply use any clipart you find and give a link to it. The clipart must have a Creative Commons license attached for you to be able to do that 

Enjoy your illustrating!

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