Fundamentals of Visual Storytelling

Fall 2021! Adult Visual Storytelling class at the Palo Alto Art Center. A 10-week class to help you turn your stories into compelling narratives. Maximum of 12 students in the class! Registration starts on August 26 for Palo Alto residents, and September 2 for non-residents.

Register on line.

Smiling through the mask

Smiling through the mask by Danièle Archambault
Smiling through the mask by Danièle Archambault A pandemic comic book

Smiling through the mask. A pandemic comic book

For more than a year now, the COVID-19 pandemic brought us unexpected and difficult life challenges. Confinement rules left many of us economically weak, socially disconnected, and emotionally vulnerable. In a short time, our way of life changed dramatically and, usually, not for the better. Situations that would have seemed absurd before the pandemic became our new normal, and in that sometimes humor could be found. For example, we went from finding it difficult to cover our nose and mouth every time we went out of the house to taking pride in our collection of beautiful, colorful, handmade masks. At first, we struggled to switch from in-person meetings to online video conferencing. Then we became oddly proud to be among the tech savvy who knew how to navigate those platforms, until we finally declared ourselves overcome by Zoom fatigue.

These situations provided me with materials for laughs during the pandemic months. I enjoyed creating a series of humorous cartoons and I shared them on various online platforms. The financial support I received from the Palo Alto Public Art Program  through its ArtLift Microgrants helped me turn this series of illustrations into a comic book and to share it for free with the Palo Alto community. With this project, I would like to help people recover a sense of joy in their lives by seeing the humor in some of the unusual and often difficult situations the pandemic imposed on us. By choosing the “traveling book” format, I also hope to encourage you to rediscover your sense of belonging to the community by laughing together at situations we all experienced. 

May the book bring you a smile or two … behind a mask or not!

A traveling book

We could not travel during the pandemic, but this book can. When you find one of the books, enjoy it for a while and then pass it on to someone who could use a smile, or bring it back to a neighborhood book box. Keep the book traveling! During the summer of 2021, 100 copies of this book will be deposited in neighborhood book boxes and public place, all over Palo Alto. Each copy of the book has a unique number. Just like you want your loved ones to check in with you while they’re traveling, you can help this book check in while it’s traveling by sharing its unique number in your #SmilingThruTheMask posts.

Smiling through the mask in a  neighborhood book box. Palo Alto
Comic book “Smiling though the mask”in one of the many neighborhood boxes around Palo Alto.

Join in the fun and share your own #SmilingThruTheMask stories and creative work!

The pandemic turned all of our lives upside down and we all have stories to tell. Some might be sad, some might be funny. Did you write about it? Did you turn them in some creative work? Some of these situations, we all experienced, even if we dealt with them differently. Let’s share them as a way to support each other. Share your own stories and creative work using the #SmilingThruTheMask hashtag.

New Online Interactive Visual Storytelling class! English and French.

During the month of February, I will be offering a new series of four Visual Storytelling classes. Each week, I will teach a new fundamental technique. Classes will feature a lecture with examples, demonstrations and hands-on exercises. 

You can register for only one or all four sessions to make the most of your graphic novel, memoir, children’s book, or travel diary!

You can choose to take the classes in French or in English.

Registration just started. Click here to register and to get more information. Once you register, Please, check your “receipt notes” for the Zoom meeting link and suggested supplies.

Classes are held every Saturday, February 6, 13, 20 and 27

French classes: 1-2:30 p.m. PST (4-5:30 p.m. EST)

English classes: 3:30-5 p.m. PST (6:30-9 p.m. EST)

Fundamentals of Visual Storytelling

Week 1: Telling a story in three acts and four panels. Mastering the narrative arc.

Week 2: Principles of Character Design. Characters as Narrative Tools.

Week 3: Text and Sequential Art. Narration, Dialogs, Lettering.

Week 4: Guiding Narrative Flow with Camera Angles and Picture Composition

Online Interactive Visual Storytelling classes in French and in English

Looking back on 2020

The year 2020 was marked by the Covid-19 pandemic. Our CASP artist studios were closed for a few months and I had to work from home. I could not travel to Montreal to see family and friends, and many comic art festivals were canceled or modified for a smaller online version. Designing this annual calendar helped me realize that this unusual year was nevertheless quite busy.

Un regard sur 2020

L’année 2020 a été marquée par la pandémie de la COVID-19. Les studios d’artistes de Cubberley ont fermé pour quelques mois. J’ai dû travailler de la maison. Impossible de voyager à Montréal pour voir la famille, les amis et amies. Les festivals BD sont annulés ou transformés. Je n’ai pas fait pour 2021 mon habituel calendrier mensuel “Au fil des mois”. Je me console avec un calendrier annuel qui m’aide à voir que chaque mois de cette année bizarre a quand même été bien rempli.