Storytelling Through Wood Panels

Lynn Ward was an American artist and storyteller that lived from 1905-1985. Throughout his life as an artist, he is most well known for his wood panel engravings. The works, which were entirely without any text, tell visually moving stories. The originals, which date back to 1929, are regarded are some of the first examples of the graphic novel and Ward is regarded as one of the founding fathers of the form.

In his first wood panel story, Ward tells an autobiographical story titled “God’s Man.” It is a story about a man whose journey includes life as a young aspiring artist who finds romance and family. It also involves a deceptive deal he made with a man in mask, whom he finds out in the end is Death. The wood engravings are done extremely well and communicate well to the viewer on many levels.

Below are a few of the 139 wooden panels Ward did on “God’s Man.” To learn more about his work, visit

Shawn Saleme

Shawn Saleme is a contributing writer for Visual News. A 4th generation San Franciscan, Shawn has developed an adventurous spirit that has taken him to over 55 countries. His degree in cultural anthropology shapes his perspective and thirst to socially experiment in a rapidly shifting planet. His work has been featured in the Seattle Times, The Globalist and the Daily Mail. Currently he is writing a book about the shared economy. Connect with him @shawnsaleme.

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