3.8 Girl meets boy

The purpose of this exercise was to create a simple 1-page sequential illustration and I also wanted to build on my research from the previous exercise 3.7 Narrative & visual style by using it to experiment with different visual styles.

Key words from the brief:

  • Create a sequential illustration that creatively re-tells the story of girl meets boy, girl loses boy, girl wins the boy back, in whatever way you want
  • This sequential illustration should be no more than one page
  • Feel free to replace the boy with a girl or vice versa

Narrative ideas and story design

My original idea was to make a sequence that explored memory by looking at the girl meets boy story through the eyes of someone with dementia. This is a subject that is interesting to me because both my mother in law and mother were or are effected by this condition and I can see how it can be approached from several angles.

The quality of  memory or memories and how it these change over time become big questions when you spend any time with someone with dementia. I saw an interesting link between this subject and the research I’d done for the previous exercise 3.7 Narrative & visual style; combining different visual languages might be a way to represent ‘normal’ memory against the memory fragments experienced by someone with alzheimers.

I started by mind mapping ideas.

Mapping ideas about how the form and structure of an illustrated sequence might be used to represent the experience of someone with dementia
A visual experiment trying to represent what it might be like to experience the ‘ordinary’ day-to-day as a cacophony of noise.

I thought about using family photographs as a device to tell the story, perhaps in a way that was partial or out of context/out of sequence.

As much as I’m interested in the subject and think that it would be interesting to explore visually, I quickly realised that constraining this idea to a single page would not be possible.

I modified the idea and started to think about approaching the same subject through the eyes of a husband caring for his elderly wife in the form of a conversation or monologue.

I thumbnailed a story with some key elements and developed a simple script. This rapidly changed and evolved and became an exercise in reduction; limiting the sequence to the absolute minimum required to tell the story.

Initial thumbnails and considering telling the story from different points of view
I thought it would be quite powerful to play on the couples marriage vows against their lives together
Thumbnails exploring different layouts/compositions
My final two thumbnails settling on the minimum number of panels

Visual style

Although my idea had changed I was still interested in exploring a combination of different visual styles as a vehicle to enhance the narrative.

Building on previous research I decided to try and copy/adapt the quite different styles of Joe Sacco and Molly Mendoza.

Final artwork

The final artwork combined the two drawing styles – the first two panels showing memories of the wedding created using a fountain pen and Indian Ink and drawn quite tightly, and the third large panel using a much looser drawing style using a bamboo dip pen.

The colour was added using a colour overlay in Photoshop.

Girl meets boy
Final artwork – three panel layout created at A3 size

I tested the illustration on a couple of people to see if it made sense. I wanted to establish whether the final statement ‘But after 60-years I’m slowly losing her‘ made sense or whether it’s too ambiguous. I think works.


What went well

  • I learned a lot trying to mimic the style of other illustrators.
  • I like the expressive easy nature of drawing with a bamboo dip pen. It was quick to create an image and something I could use to create a longer form comic strip.

What I’d do differently/better

  • I’m interested in developing my original ideas and may use them as the basis for Assignment 3 A graphic short story.


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