“Lunatic” Process: 9-1-16

Still on that first page, and didn’t have a lot of time to work on it today.  I wanted to get a better fix on the figure of the nanny, so I did a couple sketches:9-1 p1 fig sketch 19-1 p1 fig sketch2

Then a little more fussing with the composition.

9-1 - p1sketch 150


In the last post I said I was thinking about the personality of the picture, and I think what I mean by that is something of a playful quality, like children’s illustration.  Is this a book for children?  Not exactly… it will be acceptable for children, but I;m not really reaching out to children the way you have to in a kids’ book. I  think of it more as having the mood and aesthetic qualities of a fairly serious children’s story, but probably more for an older reader.

Anyway, even though it’s not a humorous story, I want some sense of whimsy in the style.  Looking for inspiration on my comics shelf, I chose one of my favorite comics, Gare Centrale, by Lewis Trondheim (writer) and Jean-Pierre Duffour (art).

gare central p1
Gare Centrale, by Duffour and Trondheim, p1


This book really should be published in English translation, I think people would love it.  It’s a Kafkaesque tale set in a train station, very funny and beautifully drawn. Lunatic is really nothing like it at all, in terms of story or drawing style, but sometimes something very different can still be an inspiration.

gare central p2tif


Lunatic 8/30-31


This is two-day’s work.

Day one:   I think I have the first chapter roughed out, here are my revisions after the mock-up.

8-29 thumbnails ch 1

So now I circle back to the first page, the “establishing shot.”   Since I first drew a rough version, I seem to have changed the dimensions that I’ll be working in… horizontal rectangle now, instead of a square.  I did a few sketches, getting all hung up on the perspective:


Day two:

Getting closer.

8-30 sketches

(those numbers are me trying to work out the dimensions of the final… based a little more on the way the mock-up worked.  I am now thinking 5.5 x 4.5)

Then I tried a “final” version, on this fancy drawing paper I bought.   Using pencil, conte crayon, brush and ink:

p1 try 8-30


I don’t really get this paper… the texture is too intrusive.  Maybe it’s just not to be used for this level of detail.

Otherwise, while I like this picture okay, I feel it’s lacking personality.  A little too “straight” of a drawing for this project.  I will try another approach tomorrow.

“Lunatic” process, 8-28-16

I woorked on the moon transition, from cloud-covered, to the face emerging.  This is done with black, white and gray acrylics. Though my plan has been this comic will be one image per page,  I’m thinking it’s too much to stretch this over several pages, so I will do a panel page for the transition.

moon transiton

Not sure of the composition yet….  maybe a more conventional grid.  Also, I had to flip the second panel because the direction of the cloud movement was wrong:

moon transiton adjust 2

I am finding that thumbnailing is inadequate for this project.  In order to sense if I am telling the story with the right rhythm, I feel like I need to see how the page turns will really work.

I do a rough thumbnail of the page spreads….8-28 ch 1 thumbs 1

Then I print up the pages with the right layout… trim and tape them together to create a little mock-up of the first “chapter” of the story:






Better to work this out in advance than after I have drawn “final” pages… some of the sight-line angles of the shot-reverse shot-type pages between the baby and the moon/roofline would be affected if I have to move things around (and I want to avoid the same direction diagonals on facing pages).

Reading the mock-up, I make some adjustments, thumbnailing a new set of spreads”8-28 ch 1 thumbs 2

Next, I’ll start roughing out these changed pages and see how it works….


Lunatic process (oy, you call this a process?)

Well, for those of you who remember, I resolved to post every day’s work in my progress on this project.  Last post was over a month ago.  I didn’t stop posting…. I stopped working.

I guess that’s one thing about posting as you go, you have to reveal the embarrassing lapses in work habits.  Not that I was blocked or anything, just one thing or another got in the way, most of it unavoidable… FOR NEARLY SIX WEEKS!

I was doing so well, too…

Getting back into it is really hard.  Especially since this is kind of an experimental project for me.  But, enough complaining.  I dug up the sketches, and photo reference and stuff I had left lying around (to be covered over by the sifting sands of time)… and at least noodled around and did some sketches and thumbnails.

8-25 sketches

Had to remember how I am going to draw my protagonist, at various ages…. Fiddling around with her intense expression when she’s at work on her invention.  And (earlier) the scene where she is kissed on a park bench.  Plus more baby and young-girl looking at the moon faces, and playing around with moon expressions.

8-25 sketches1

8-25 sketches 2

And thumbnailing out the first chapter.  I actually find thumbnailing this one-image-per-page layout very challenging, trying to envision the spreads.  Also, thinking now that maybe I will actually break my one-image-per-page rule when needed.  For instance in the sequence where the face gradually appears on the moon.

8-25-16 ch 1 thumbs8-25-16 ch 1 thumbs2

SPX and Shirley Jackson

Table assignements are up for SPX!   I’ll be at table W28, premiering the new Ninth Art Press anthology, The Shirley Jackson Project, edited by Rob Kirby.

cover reduced

Seventeen acclaimed alternative cartoonists explore and celebrate the work of the legendary mid-20th century author Shirley Jackson (“The Lottery,” The Haunting of Hill House, We Have Always Lived in the Castle), including Colleen Frakes, Katie Fricas, Annie Murphy, Josh Simmons, and Maggie Umber. Edited by Ignatz Award-winner Robert Kirby and published by Dan Mazur’s Ninth Art Press.

I published this book (in my Ninth Art Press costume), and I’m also a contributor (gee, they accepted my story!).  Here’s the first page of my piece:

p1 v1 jpg

Sharing the table with me will be my amiable and talented friends, Jesse Lonergan (who will bring his newsprint epic Hedra)….hedra 2

…and Whit Taylor!  Whit will have a top-secret new project on the table.  No preview available yet, but here’s a peek at her recent piece for the Nib, Finding Your Roots.




Boston Comic Con!!

I’ll be at the Ninth Art Press/Dan Mazur table (because, y’;know, I am Ninth Art Press) at Boston Comic Con this weekend: August 12-14, table D724. Sharing with me will be the great Jesse Lonergan, who’ll have a selection of prints, along with the magnificent HEDRA And we’re right next to the Boston Comics Roundtable table (D723), with its world premiere of BOUNDLESS (which I have a story in).  Here’s what’ll be on my table:

The Jernegan Solution
cover color 2f resizedjpg

Jesse Lonergan’s HEDRA
hedra 2

art by Jesse Lonergan, story by Dan Mazur

Cold Wind cover



“lunatic” process: 7-16-16

More photo reference and sketches, for the baby in the pram:

7-16 pram sketch4

I decided I don’t want to do more detailed sketches.  Getting a little burnt out on that, and also worrying about losing the spontanaeity if I expend too much effort drawing non-final images.  For this chapter, I think the next image I draw will be intended as final, not rough. Even though I’m still a little undecided on certain things, I think it’s better to work it out when I know it’s gonna count.  Just to avoid that feeling of not being able to capture what I liked about the rough version!

As far as the different media/effects I’ve been bouncing around with: Charcoal or conte crayon, acrylics, ink-splatter…. For now, I think my system is no system, just find the best medium or combination of media for each image/page.

Also, might be a bit of an interruption in this process… next week I need to spend time laying out the Shirley Jackson book, drawing an illustration, then Monday going away for a week.  So, probably not much progress on “Lunatic” until August….

“lunatic” process, 7-15-16

Sketches for page 3… actually more than just page 3.  There are 4-5 pages “cutting”  between the moon looking down, the baby in her pram looking up.

More messing around with different media and techniques… I liked the splattering, so maybe it’ll work in this image too:

pram 1

Well… no.  The spattering doesnt really make sense here.  And I don’t think I got the composition of this page right, either.

I switch to charcoal pencil:

pram 2

Ah,. yes.  this has the feel i want, and i like the expression.  Not right in all the details, but  it has the feel….  Let’s try that again:

pram 3

Nope.  Sometimes it’s so hard to reproduce what works well in a sketch.  This one just didn’t have it, so I abandoned it.  Maybe the angle on the pram was going to work a little better.  I call it a day.  I’ll be back.