Picture story

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A picture story is a story that is so strongly illustrated with pictures that the pictures play an equal or even greater role than the text. Picture stories are not the same as comics (see below).

The pictures are usually drawings, but can also be etchings, photographs and digital art. The text is a narrative, usually in present or in past tense, and can be in prose or in (rhymed) verse. The text is is deliberately kept to a minimum so that the images will be more than just illustrations. In extreme cases, there is no text at all: the sequence of pictures tells the story without any need for words.

Picture stories are often, but not necessarily, targetet to juvenile readers.

Picture stories and comics[edit]

The picture story is closely related to the comic strip. The main difference is that in a picture story, the images and the text are separate (next to another) while in comic strips they are integrated. In a picture story, everything that's expressed in words has to go into the text: narration, speech, thoughts, feelings, sounds. In a comic, these elements are separated from another and put in designated places: narration goes into captions, speech goes into speech balloons, thoughts go into thought balloons, soundwords go to the place where the sound occurs. This tighter integration of image and text makes the reading experience of a comic more like watching a movie, and less like reading literature. The disadvantages are a) in comics, the text takes up a considerable portion of space in the drawings, b) literary devices, such as verse with a meter and/or rhymes, become difficult to employ.


The genre of picture stories dates back to antiquity (e.g. wall paintings in Ancient Egypt), found new use in the Middle Ages (e.g. in publications for the illiterate), and grew particularly popular in the 19th and 20th century. 19th century picture stories were usually humorous, often satirical, and published in book form and in magazines for adults and/or juvenile readers. Especially children found picture stories much more appealing than little-illustrated or completely unillustrated stories, and so the genre boomed particularly in the market of children's books (and later, in magazines for children).

When the comic came up in the 20th century, picture stories were already well established. Comics took over a part of their market share, but to a large part created their own new markets. Today, picture story publications have become rare compared to comics, but are still produced, especially for children because many parents find them of higher value/quality than comics, and better suitable for reading them to a child. Interestingly, while there are nowadays lots of adult comic publications, both in the West and in East Asia, there are hardly any adult picture stories.

Photo stories[edit]

A special case of picture stories is photo stories, in which the pictures are not drawings but photographs.

Spanking in picture stories[edit]

For examples of spanking scenes in 19th century picture stories, see the works of Wilhelm Busch.

A vintage spanking artist who did picture stories is Louis Malteste. A contemporary spanking artist who does picture stories and photo stories is Nate, another is Zach White, another is Lucy Cline.


  • Picture story on the life of Giordano Bruno (1548-1600) featuring two occasions where he was spanked as a child (in Italian, on the Internet Archive)