The integrity and Marginalization of Visual Storytelling
in Children’s Picturebooks
by Stella East
This thesis examines how illustrations in children’s picturebooks can be considered a picturing of the story, rather than a picturing of the words. My interest in the integrity of the picturebook has developed within my work as a picturebook illustrator where I consider my role as that of a visual storyteller rather than as a mere decorator of an author’s textual narrative.
My interdisciplinary approach to this thesis investigates picturebook illustration as visual language, and as an art form, within a visual storytelling tradition. These properties are demonstrated by discussing thirteen narrative works including picturebooks.
The integrity of these works is then contrasted with biases practiced in the publishing and cultural community, which lead away from the appreciation and development of the picturebook’s visual story. The importance of the picturebook image is manifested in its role as a child reader’s introduction to visual literacy, visual art, and the visual narrative.