Elaine Forrestal

The Reciprocal Nature of Words and Images

Words create images.

This is such a fundamental statement that we tend to take it for granted. Not only that – we forget that the reverse is also true. Images not only create, but demand words. Like the images created by the words, the words created by the images are often only in our minds. But without them we, as human beings, could only function at a much more basic level. In the ballet, Milky Way – River of Stars, the image of a whole company of European dancers and a small group of Aboriginals trying, but never quite succeeding, to make contact with each other is repeated on the stage over and over again. After the first two or three attempts I wanted to shout out ‘Speak to them! Say something – anything.’ But of course I didn’t and neither did they. The repetition of the same image eventually made that point. And while I love the ballet, I couldn’t help thinking that the addition of even one word would have speeded up the process of communication.

A variety of words and images

Communication, in both words and pictures, is what the annual Make Your Own Storybook Competition is about. You don’t necessarily need to be a bidding artist to illustrate your story. Photographs (taken by the student of course), collage and other innovative visual images are acceptable. And the list of high profile author/illustrators who won prizes in this competition while they were still at school includes Shaun Tan, James Foley and Karen Blair.

Go on, have a go!