Illustrating our Own Tales

In this activity, students will read, interpret and illustrate the most relevant parts of a literary text, in particular a traditional or folk tale. Using on line digital illustration tools (Deviant ARTMURO in this example), they will develop skills in expressing ideas graphically, using a variety of illustration techniques as well as reading and summarising a text in the process.

Working with the students, choose a tale or story they would like to work on. We used the Portuguese tale The Cat and the Dark by Mia Couto, but you could use any folk tale that you feel will be the most engaging for your students. After reading the text, ask the students to brainstorm the key events in the story. Guide the students in a discussion regarding the aspects that matter the most: the characters, the setting, the main actions and the overall message. Invite students to note the main ideas on the board.

Divide the class into small groups and assign illustration tasks to each group. You can divide parts of the story amongst the groups or, to ensure better visual coherence in the finished film, ask each group to illustrate a specific element of the story, the characters, the sets, etc. Give them some time to discuss how best to organise the task and encourage them to draw some sketches on paper before moving on to the digital work.

Introduce students to Deviant ART Muro and guide them through the application. Give them some time to explore the tool and to ask any questions they may have. Once the basic functions are clear allow them to begin their illustrations.

To conclude, ensure they save their work before asking them to share their drawings with peers. Ask them to identify which element of the story each drawing represents and ask for constructive feedback. Save all the files – these can be used in follow-up activities.

Time needed 2-3 hours.


Hints and tips

  • Try and ensure that there is sufficient time for students to improve their drawings after the class discussion and feedback session.
  • Give a few minutes during the task for group reporting so that others can make comments and suggestions.
  • If you do this as a single activity you can gather all the drawings on one presentation (e.g. Prezi) or on a poster (e.g. Glogster) or a pin board (e.g. Pinterest).


This post is also available in: Dutch


  1. Animation and Cinema | TACCLE 2 - October 1, 2014

    […] Station 1: Illustrating our Own Tales Using on line digital illustration tools like Deviant ARTMURO, students develop their understanding of literary texts. […]

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