Illustration, Visual arts and Graphic Narrative

Social Therapy and Digital Reconciliation.

Social Therapy and Digital Reconciliation.

Creating original content for a young audience, presenting the ethical dimension of the military coup in Chile, using interactive narrative for educational and social-therapeutic purposes.

Storytelling has been evolving into an interactive graphic narrative, creating an immersive and complete experience and using illustration as the structure to construct this new creative world. The interactivity offers a new dimension to explore the almost endless possibilities for the narrative experiences, transforming in that way the audience from passive witnesses into active actors. Nevertheless, so far digital narratives have been focused merely on entertainment not yet exploring the opportunities to deliver meaningful content.

If the audience can be immersed in the story with the freedom to interact and even taking their own narrative decisions, it is possible to generate a narrative environment based on factual events, in which the audience can explore the historical implications of specific socio-political circumstances in this case, the Military Coup in Chile in the 70´s.

Under these conditions, using the traditional narrative fictional context but underpinned with the presentation of ethical concerns, the audience can have an unprejudiced perspective to learn and develop a personal interpretation of the historical events, helping to deal with the still social sensitive issues in my home country.

Within a practice based proposal, the aims are the followings:

  1. To use the visual narratives and interactive possibilities to deliver new content with social-therapeutic experience for the audience.
  1. To carry out research through illustration using referents of my home country Chile, to set up the visual structure and the main audience for the final outcome.

Similarly the proposed objectives are the followings:

  1. To establish the artistic discipline of Illustration in the connective tissue that links art, narrative and technology in order to set up the proposed narrative immersive space.
  1. To develop the concept of author as a “Narrative Architect” designing a narrative, immersive, interactive and virtual space for the audience, in which the author sets the conditions and general guide lines for the narrative but leaves the freedom to the audience to experience the narrative in their own way.
  1. To change the traditional approach in which narrative are constructed, giving priority to the particular and “Personal Story” that the audience has, over the “Explicit Story” of the script which define the theme or topic of what the narrative is about, relating this personal story to a specific social context.
  1. To use the narrative possibilities of the visual language not just for entertainment but also to deliver a reconciling and educational tool for the future generations to deal with the issues of a divided society in a therapeutic way.
  1. To define the most effective outcome for final presentation of the content within the scope of illustration and visual communication.

In 1973 Chilean society was severely divided by the military coup, forty years later this division is still present. While it is true that it is not the main focus of concern nowadays, as a result of the inability to have an impartial historic judgment, it has been impossible to have real reconciliation in our society. Thus far, all the factual analysis and social discussion has been presented through, journalism, media and subjective experiences and outside of the educational programs in the schools.

On the other hand, Illustration is fundamentally visual communication, in the way of applied imagery that visually communicates context to audience. It influences the way are informed and schooled, what we buy and how we are persuaded to do things. It gives us opinion and interpretation. It provides us with amusement and tells us tales, it is seen on all kind of advertisement, newspapers and magazines. It can be animate, used in motion pictures, television, the internet, and as state-of-art interactive digital imagery.

In other words, it is possible to create a bridge between history and illustration, with the audience as active actor within a nonfictional immersive environment, with freedom for the narrative exploration but imprinting an implicit learning and ethical analysis during the narrative experience.

Also, to achieve the aims it is also necessary to consider the following questions:

  • Which is the best target group to present the content?
  • Which is the most effective visual style to deliver the content to the specific target?
  • Is it relevant the incorporation of ludic elements like interactivity, immersion, and nonlinear narrative in the way in what the content is presented for the specific target?

Due to the practice character of the research, the theoretical context will be given in a “Generative Theory”, guiding the research within the existing knowledge of visual narrative but also guiding the practical and experimental work.

The research methodology needs in the first stage an exhaustive examination of the relevant knowledge in the field, detecting any possible gap and any helpful guidelines to follow, using the library and data bases, internet, studio work and interviews. In this way, all the research will be recorded in the form of double entry log, using a sketchbook but also a web blog.

Once the preliminary research is complete, the implementation of the definitive aesthetic, the selection of the specific narrative context, the technological tools will take place.

The final stage consist of the experimentations of short interactive modules and finally the implementation of the gameplay within the proposed theoretical context.

Given the research frame of the methodology the framework will consist of the following stages:

  1. Research:
  • Study of narrative theory and Chilean historical Context.
  • Advances in software development
  • Visual and illustrated references
  • Interviews
  • Conferences
  • Lectures
  1. Practical Development:
  • Software Selection
  • Implementation of technological resources
  • Selection of the plot, narrative context and visual referents
  • Analysis of existing similar projects
  1. Experimentation:
  • Evaluation of the alternatives for the final outcome
  1. Design and Construction.



-Andy Clarke, Grethe Mitchell, “Videogames and Art”,(Bristol, Intellect Book,2007)

-Pat Harrigan, Noah Wardrip-Fruin, “Second Person: Role-Playing and Story in Games and Playable Media”, (London, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2007)

– Pat Harrigan, Noah Wardrip-Fruin, “First Person: New Media as Story, Performance, And Game”, (London, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2006)

– Katie Salen, Eric Zimmerman, “The Game Design Reader: A Rules of Play Anthology”, (Cambridge, Mass. : MIT Press, 2006)

– Alan Male, “Illustration, Meeting The Brief”, (London, Bloomsbury Visual Arts,2014)

– Scott McCloud, “Understanding Comics, The Invisible Art”, (New York, Kitchen Sink Press,1993)

– Scott McCloud, “Making Comics, Storytelling Secrets of Comics, Manga and Graphic Novels”, (New York, HarperCollins Publishers,2006)

– Cornish, David, “Press X to skip: the challenge of storytelling in computer games”                          [accessed 03 March 2014]

– Frasca, Gonzalo , “Ludology Meets Narratology:Similitude And Differences Between (Video)Games And Narrative”,

[accessed 15 March 2014]

– GamePro staff, “The 20 most innovative games ever made”  [accessed 15 Febreruary 2014]

– Holleman, Patrick, “Narrative in Videogames”

[accessed 28 Febreruary 2014]

– Juul, Jesper, “A Clash between Game and Narrative” [accessed 28 Febreruary 2014]

– Lee, Terence, “Designing Game Narrative” [accessed 28 Febreruary 2014]

– Magnuson, Jordan, “Shadow of the Colossus: It’s a Poem” [accessed 28 Febreruary 2014]

– Mounis, Troy, “The Best 25 Stories In Videogames” [accessed 28 Febreruary 2014]

– Rich, Motoko, “Using Video Games As Bait To Hook Readers” [accessed 15 Febreruary 2014]