“Lunatic” process: chapter 4

(A diary of the making of this chapter, which begins with the first day’s work at the bottom, and moves up)

August 8: little toe in the water

Still the same strategy of making sure i do some little bit of work related to Lunatic every day.  More reference visuals, this time of a college lecture hall, as old fashioned as I can find.anatomy lecture U of edinburghvassar-physics-large

(spending a lot of time searching and saving images like these… obsessive, but valuable)

And a little thumbnail of one of the pages that will take place in this setting:lecture hall thumbnail 8-8

(yes, that means something to me)

August 7: toe in the water

At this point, I have so many other tasks and projects keeping me from focusing on this (and on drawing in general), that my goal is just to keep my head and hand in the project just a little, by doing something every day, however small.  I’ve been gathering up a lot of reference visuals of the college gates/seal which we’ll see in the first page::

(I have lots more)

Then some scribbly studies:

gate sketch and notes 8-7gate sketch & thumbnail 8-7


August 6: Testing the waters

I’m trying out a technique of pencil and ink wash only.  I want a soft effect, like that achieved by Manuele Fior in Mademoiselle Else, which also seems inspired by the Nabis, Munch, the kind of art that I want to evoke:

mademoiselle else

page 2 study 8-6

Of course not working in color, as Fior was, will be challenging.  Have to figure out how to get that softness without graying-out the whole page.


August 1: the baby’s getting smaller!!

I worked more on the thumbnails.  I have a decision to eventually make about the story in this chapter. The woman goes to a class and sees a lecture on the moon which inspires her, that’s basically what happens. But I have another idea, in which she is at first horrified to see her beloved moon “dissected” by the images on the prof’s magic lantern slides.  She runs out in horror, and sees the moon in the sky looking down at her; it’s look, this time, tells her no, you must learn about me, and so she goes back in.  I go back and forth on whether this last complication in her “learning process” is too melodramatic, or will come across clearly.  Anyway, on this day I scribbled out some more thumbnails, trying to figure it out.  Again, so rough that by the time I’m posting this I can hardly decipher them myself. And yes, it’s about 20 minutes of work, at most:

thumbnails 8-1

July 31: still baby steps

I’m not getting full days of work these days, because I’m doing some MICE planning.  After those preliminary sketches that had to do with the first or second page, I decided I’d better thumbnail the chapter before getting too involved in any one page.  These thumbnails are so scribbly that I doubt I’ll even be able to understand them in a few days.thumbnail 7-31

I’m also thinking about the first images, the “establishing” images of the college campus:

page 1-2 thumbnails 7-31


July 28: baby steps

I have the beats of this chapter in my head, but nothing on paper yet, not even thumbnails.  The setting now is a university campus, in the period setting.  This comic isn’t set in any particular place or time, just vaguely Victorian or Edwardian period, in a setting that looks like America or England. It’s not a realistic story, so I can take whatever liberties I like and considerate an alternate reality if need be.

But nothing jarring.  I want it to feel like the past, in a recognizable reality.

Anyway, I have a lot of thoughts about the feel for this chapter.  Once again I will change medium, and I think I want to get away from hard blacks, and go with a gauzier, grayscale feeling. Maybe drawn in pencil and washes. A visual style of early Modernism, such as the Nabis or Maurice Prendergast:


I can’t say that Prendergast is a favorite, but you always run into him in museums, and there’s one of the early images in this chapter, which I want to model a little on Prendergast, and the parade-like crowds he always featured.


So, without giving much thought to it, I begin the work for this chapter by doing some sketches for what will be the background of one of the first few images (with our protagonist in the foreground, but I’m not drawing her yet).

I fiddle around. drawing from imagination, with different media: pencil, ink, inkwash. brush pen & wash figures 7-28brush pen figures 7-28pencil figures sq

This is done by first drawing with a brush dipped only in water, then applying ink from a brush pen to the wet area:

wash figures sketch 7-28


Lives in: Cambridge, Mass. Does: comics. Used to live in: Topanga Canyon, California But grew up in: Cambridge, mostly Used to do (maybe still?): Screenwriter, journalist, teaches some too