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

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