MY NEXT assignment in my cartoon course is to produce a comic strip layout for Jack & Jill. When we took a coffee break on our shopping trip to Outlet Village a man came repeatedly to the water feature in the precinct to fetch a pail of water. The little waterfall at the bottom of the chute is so shallow that he could get only a couple of inches in his bucket on each trip.

I think that Jack in the nursery rhyme has to be a boy as he’s paired with Jill who I always take to be his sister but perhaps there’s something about the workman and his setting that I can use in my comic strip.

Jack and Jill

Here’s my take on the nursery rhyme, inspired by the workman and the water feature and, taking a cue from the baseball hat, going for a location on a dustbowl stricken American farm.

This exercise is to take the story to the thumbnail stage only, so excuse the rudimentary sketches. The subtleties would come later, but I guess that this is as far as we’re intended to take it. As you’ll know if you’ve read previous posts, I’m following the course in Jessica Abel & Matt Madden’s book Drawing Words & Writing Pictures.

This exercise is about different kinds of transition, seven of them in total; the light bulb, for example, is a rather cliched symbollic transition to represent a bright idea.

Page two starts with a scene-to-scene transition. Different location, different time of day;

Not only a change of scene but we seem to have moved into a Mad Max post-apocalyptical world.

I should explain that the last frame represents my attempt at that almost impossible transition, the non-sequitur. Almost impossible because as readers we’ll always try and invent our own stories to link two random frames, no matter how unrelated they are.

As soon as I drew Humpty Dumpty, I realised that he has a very obvious connection with fellow nursery rhyme characters Jack & Jill, but as he’s a poster boy for nonsense and paradox (he even gets a mention in Finnegan’s Wake), I want to keep him in there.

In fact, having got a taste for telling stories, something I very rarely attempt, I now want to know why he’s talking to someone about asparagus. I’ve got a theory.

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