Sunday, September 25, 2022

Original Art Sundays no. 310: Sharp Invitations: Curt, p. 51

 Only one page this week, campers. Next several pages are written and next page is laid out and on the board. As mentioned last week, we're coming into the busy season. I'm eager to keep up the pace without driving myself crazy!

A moment of bliss in the previous page, as a new relationship begins. But life never holds still, much as we might want it to... 

Story Notes: Once again, the timeline is condensed for narrative purposes. There were several months between my leaving Curt and courting Jenny, and a few more until we lived together. While it's exciting to live through the growth of a new relationship, it doesn't make for good storytelling. I just discussed this with my students. The 1990s storytelling movement spawned attempts to make books of the oral narratives. The books were failures. What works in daily life and personal interaction doesn't always work on the page.
Art Notes: The scene is the star here. The characters are literally embedded in the setting, using the basic principle of foreground/midground/background. That's a very fun park and walking path, still going strong. The last panel was done on a separate page and imported in Photoshop. The original version showed me running to catch the phone call, and it was just an unreadable mess. There's little actual action on this page, so the rule comes into play: something must always move. If the characters aren't moving, the perspective (camera) must. I'm using a heavier outline on much of this page, especially panel two.
Next: we hit the road.

Sunday, September 18, 2022

Original Art Sundays No. 309: Sharp Invitations: Curt, pp. 49 (rework) and 50

 Back at it, folks!

I corrected the first panel of the last page and am reposting the page to start, followed by the next page. I am very close to completion of the following page, but not quite there. Here are pages 49 and 50.

In the current narrative, we're talking about rebuilding a life. These pages continue that theme.

Not much new to say about the first page after last week's discussion. This is mainly a correction, after all. That first panel is an improvement over last week's posting, using a more direct angle and a tighter shot (and better drawing). Keep it simple! Just rendered on a different piece of Bristol and patched it in with Photoshop. My facial expression in he new version of Panel One is what I was hoping to convey- just barely holding on, but trying to smile anyway.

Page 50 of this chapter is most of what I'm saying about Jennifer in this book. Our relationship had its challenges, as they all do, but she's living her own life now and I want to respect her privacy. We saw each other through some rough times, and I am grateful to her. She had such intense joy! Jenny was also trans, which will be discussed a bit in a future page. After I wrote this page, I realized that I had lifted the last line from my man Micheal Nesmith. But the sentiment was so right, I decided to let it go. I drew the portrait of us on Coquille board instead of Bristol, using classic pen and ink with China marker (AKA grease pencil). The stuff is really pricey, but I love the look and would like to use it more often! I became attached to it in the 90s when I found out you could get a halftone from it without a stat camera. I do so love old school production art. For this page, I wanted a simple border, vaguely reminiscent of Art Noveau, around the illustration, and floating text above and beneath. It's been a while since I did a decorative border, and it felt nice to flex that particular muscle again. I was, in my small way, emulating the master of the Noveau border in comics, Terry Moore. But it needed to be fairly simple, so I opted for just some nice flowing overlapping curves. The border and text were done on a separate sheet of Canson Bristol board and merged in Photoshop.

I keep saying I'm almost done with this chapter. Yet on it goes. Much like what Alan Moore said about his groundbreaking run on Miracleman, it was a simple idea, but it grew in the telling. The bulk of it is complete. There are three significant events yet to document, and an afterword. Then a brief chapter on each of my parents and a final word. I'm so charged to do the work right now. I'm trying new techniques, revisiting old ones, and embracing the work. If I can manage two pages a week, the bulk of the book could be complete by year end. That's a realistic goal, I think. Of course, I also plan to do Inktober again this year... possibly more Coquille pieces... and I need to grade and teach and... 

Yet the book gets done. I will have faith, and welcome you to do the same.

Next: Things are finally going well for our heroine, and that's unlikely to change, right? Right? Well....

Sunday, September 11, 2022

Original Art Sundays No. 308: Sharp Invitations: Curt, p. 49

 Running a little late tonight! Friday's opening celebration of the MCAD Faculty Biennial was a wonder. So grateful to have my work seen and liked. It's also liberating to present work about trans issues and abuse survival to my colleagues and students. In retrospect, I probably should have combed my hair before the photo was taken!

Now on to this week's page. 

Two weeks ago: homeless shelter and a bus to Minneapolis. Last week: reflection and self-recrimination. What happens next?

Narrative notes: This is necessary but tedious. The process of normalizing a life, crucial as it is, involves stuff that doesn't make for great drama. I've condensed almost half a year's events into this page rather than bog the story down in minutia. I assumed that most people know what a PCA is, so didn't explain in detail. The exchange in the last panel was actually between me and Sara, but I used it as a vehicle to convey that I was back in therapy. That particular therapist was what I needed at the time, but in the long run not a good fit.

Visual notes: That first panel is so clunky! I had a much better idea for it after it was done and scanned, and I will re-post the page with the proper panel in place next week, along with a new page. The rest of the page works okay. It's not a spectacular page, but it serves the story, which is the most important thing. The last panel seems strongest, with solid environments, good character interaction and the interesting little panel border violation.

What happens next? Well, let's just say he's not quite out of the story yet...

Sunday, September 4, 2022

Original Art Sundays No 307: Sharp Invitiations: Curt, p. 48

 Time, time, time, see what's become of me...

Sorry, in a bit of a Simon & Garfunkel mood. I do love that song.

We're on the overnight bus in a bitter winter, contemplating and regretting.

Went through some real changes on this one. Originally it was going to be a "putting your life back together" page, but that seemed a bit abrupt. We need a moment to consider everything that's happened before moving on. I suddenly remembered that Francine painting in Vol. 3 book 6, the one where she's quasi-fetal, holding her foot and looking ruefully to the side. I started off trying to copy that, then made the pose my own. I liked the idea of a contained nude pose, all lost and vulnerable. My initial concept was to do ink wash over the figure, progressively darker as we go down, with rough torn edges between gradations. Then I thought about masking the figure and using ink wash through rough burlap. Both ideas have merit, but not for this page. Besides, my frisket seems to have dried up.

As I drew the figure, the concept of a flashback collage came to me. So it was back to the old files and Photoshop to the rescue! Yay, layers and masks!

No need for an equipment list this week.

One of the questions I'm asked often by people who read this work is the obvious one: why did I stay around? There's no simple answer, and it's a question I continue to ask myself. I suspect that any abuse survivor has a similar internal dialogue. I don't know if it's easier or harder being trans when it comes to abuse. I suspect abuse is abuse. Trans is just one more thing they can use against you in that context.

On a more positive note, the MCAD Faculty Biennial has its official opening this Friday! There are 14 pages from this work in the show, along with a banner created for the show. I hope to see many friends there. So much great art to celebrate....

Next: TCB.

Sunday, August 28, 2022

Original Art Sundays: Sharp Invitations: Curt, pp. 46 & 47

 Once more....

Two pages this week, but one is a recap. The astute reader will recall that the previous chapter ended with a preview of this chapter, me getting on a bus. We're at that point in the story, so let's jump in.

When we left our heroine, she was being taken to a homeless shelter.

Read on.

Story notes: That was one lonely, scary night! I was treated well- actually, largely ignored, which under the circumstances, was fine with me. A little artistic license on the collapse in the shower. It did happen, but not so dramatically as all that. I hadn't mentioned the short job I was fired from at this time until now. I hope that doesn't cause confusion in the reader, but aside from getting that last paycheck, it really has nothing to do with the core story. Really, there's so much tedium involved in tearing your life apart that the details seem so unnecessary after the fact.The worker at the shelter was very decent, even setting me up with toiletries when I got there. I disclosed my trans status so it didn't create more problems, and was treated decently.

Art notes: Very light blacks this week. There were a couple places where I considered adding more value, but I was unhappy with my experiments with it. Keep it simple and clean. Almost no brush on this page. Lots of nib work, and a bit of Copic brush marker, along with the usual assortment of Microns.In light of that, I shan't post an equipment list this week.

Shan't. That shows class.

I really like the second panel. That's a case where I played with adding tone to the tiles, as I've done in the past, but decided to keep it simple.

Wow, I've been drawing a lot of bathrooms lately!

The second page is a recap, with just the caption text changed. I considered changing the thought balloon, but hey, if that's what the character thought in the flash forward, that's what she's thinking now. Just a bit of Photoshop on this one for the text and we're good to go.

Side note: I was prepping for my fall teaching load, and I had a chance to preview my work hanging in the MCAD Biennial show. I'm very happy with it. I chose what I think are some of my strongest pages, and the display is very effective. The show will be open before then (it may be now), but the opening ceremony is Friday, September 9. I would be happy to see friendly faces there to share my work. Other MCAD comic creators will also be represented, including Zak Sally, Blue Dellaquanti and Barb Schulz. Delighted to be in such distinguished company!

Next: back to Minneapolis, as we near the completion of this chapter. In the original draft manuscript, this chapter was eleven pages. Looks like the final version will be 60 - 70 pages, almost a book on its own.

Guess I had a little more to say than I thought I did.

Sunday, August 21, 2022

Original Art Sundays no. 305: Sharp Invitations: Curt, p.45

 Once more into the breach, dear friends. When we left our intrepid couple, Curt had made his intentions clear. Read on.

First, we discuss the story.

Events unfolded in this way, but there was a 24 hour gap between him telling me to go and my exit. We had out of town company the next day, quite awkward. I do wish I'd put on the other pants! The cop is modeled on a Madison cop who used to work security for Rocky Horror when I was running the Majestic in Madison. Really nice guy. We had long talks about Stephen King. Last time I saw him was after I transitioned and he was still decent to me, something I haven't always experienced from law enforcement. I remember him fondly. I wish all cops were as respectful to trans people as he was to me.

Art notes: I went a bit overboard on the first panel, with a wild pose inspired partially by the Bob Clampett classic The Great Piggy Bank Robbery. I do enjoy that loose style, but it doesn't always serve the story. One of my occasional beta readers suggested that the left (back) arm could swing out a little more. I followed that suggestion and it worked. 

The rest of the page is pretty procedural. It was a lonely, scared night and I wanted to show that without saying it outright. Given where I went, it was fairly easy. 24 hour groceries have mind numbingly even lighting. It's very disconcerting. For the last 5 panels, my goal was to include sufficient detail to communicate and no more. The characters inside the police car are a visual idea I want to work on more - characters seen inside the environment, as opposed to placed atop it or in front of it. Characters behind desks, seen through foliage, wandering through ruins with large bent metal in front of them- you get the idea. It encourages deeper involvement in the story. Some of the lines in the last panel dropped out a bit. I'll push it more in Photoshop, as is my way.

Same equipment list as last week, so I won't repeat it. There is the notable inclusion of a couple new tools: a Copic small brush marker and a Deerfoot 1/4 Mini Detailer brush. It's an angled tip, very chunky, and gives a delightful scumbling line. Very thick handle, feels good to hold. I suspect it will get a lot of use as a dry brush tool. You can see some of it in the "light lines" around the lightpost in panel 3. 

Next week: the shelter.

Sunday, August 14, 2022

Original Art Sundays No. 304: Sharp Invitations: Curt, p. 44

 What a week! Somehow I got the next page done and did a good job, despite attending Autoptic and doing more prep for the MCAD Faculty Biennial show. Autoptic was such a delight! So many people I haven't seen for too long, a couple possible publishers, and bought a bunch of cool comics. There's some works where I like the art, some where I like the writing, and some where both shine. Such events lead me to ponder the possibilities of our chosen art form. In a conversation after the event, I mused on expanding my comics work. I was told I'd never make a lot of money, but that's not the point. I want the same things I always wanted. I want to tell my stories. I want to improve my craft. And I want someone to get something out of them. If I can get a few bucks or some recognition/accolades along the way, that would be great, but that's not why I do it. Events like Autoptic remind you of that, in the best way.

Ahem. The story at hand.

When we left our hapless couple, he had just thrown an ashtray at me. It shattered on the wall behind me. Then he trashed another guitar. 

Read on.

I like a lot about this page. The top banner panel, done in pencil, is quite effective, I think. Breaking up the thoughts in a banner panel is a nice pacing device. I'm sure it's been used before, but I don't recall seeing it anywhere. The next three panels are clean and serviceable, but the silhouette of the strange action in the last panel also works well. So often the simplest things pose the most interesting artistic challenges, like a woman sweeping a floor or getting into bed. He never did use the gun, but it was in my thoughts, so it's part of the story. My line in Panel 2: I was taking a real risk, being that sarcastic when he was escalating like that. He'd knocked me down a couple times before that, but there's a clear and dangerous progression to these things, and he was very close to giving himself permission to physically attack me more intensely.

The moment in the last panel bordered on absurdity. What a weird thing to do. He was pushing me with his torso, so he could claim he didn't lay a hand on me.

Thought on last week's page: one of my readers liked the iris panel of his hand grabbing the guitar neck. That inspired me, so I might put together a small sketchbook of guitar illustrations I've done over the years, and throw in a couple new ones. I don't want to lose sight of my big goal, but there's something to be said for completing a small project along the way.  

Almost no ink brush work on this page.

Tools for this page:

  • Canson Bristol board, Bristol strip slipsheet, masking tape
  • iPhone for photo reference.
  • T-square, triangle, Ames lettering guide
  • Tech pencil, Cumberland 6B pencil, HB, 3B and 4B Woodless pencils
  • Dr. Martin's Black Star Matte Ink
  • Blick #6 Round Brush
  • Pen nib & holder
  • Micron .005, .01, .02, .03, .05, .08, 1.0
  • Faber Castell Brush Tip Marker, Copic Small Brush Tip
  • Plastic eraser
  • FW Artist's Acrylic White
  • Tight Spot correction brush - treated myself to a new one of these this week, along with some papers I plan on experimenting with soon.
Next: one foot out the door in the coldest of winters.

Sunday, August 7, 2022

Original Art Sundays no. 303: Sharp Invitations: Curt, p. 43

 Next page!

When we left our hapless couple, Curt was preparing to throw an ashtray. Anyone taking odds on him following through?

Content notes: This happened, but not quite this way. I didn't see him trash another guitar, but I did see the wrecked guitar afterwards. This guitar, which I also loved, was a replacement he got me for the one he destroyed a couple months prior. That will be covered in the text of the next page.

Craft throughts: Time in comics is so elastic. I can cover months or years in one panel, or cover one night in multiple pages as I'm doing here, or make a single moment so elastic as Scott McCloud does in the exquisite framing sequence for The Sculptor. We're also manipulating perspective here. The first panel is from my POV, the second from his, while the rest of the page is back to my viewpoint.

I would like the darks to have more weight in the first two panels. I like clean lines (the clare ligne technique used in Tintin is so delicious), but it doesn't always serve the narrative. Also, it's not really my style, although I certainly lean towards it! I love the iris on panels three and four. While it was intended as just a design device, the iris on the last panel resembles an eye opening shape- a happy accident. The inks on Curt's face in the final panel went someplace strange, so a bit of Photoshop cleanup was in order. I've been considering trying different illustrative programs, as I sometimes find Photoshop limiting for my purposes and my Illustrator chops are very rusty.

I continue to prepare for the MCAD Faculty Biennial, doing digital prints of some pages, cleaning up others, meeting with the new gallery director to go over the plan for the work's exhibition. Fall semester also looms large, so it is indeed the busy season! But new pages continue to present themselves and evolve on my board, sort of a Petri dish of comic art. I have two comics and an illustrated novella in the hopper after this work is completed. Keeping joy, pace and spirit remain crucial.

Tools for this page:

  • Canson Bristol board, plain paper slipsheet, masking tape
  • iPhone for photo reference.
  • T-square, triangle, Ames lettering guide
  • Tech pencil, Paster 6B pencil, HB Woodless pencil
  • Dr. Martin's Black Star Matte Ink
  • Blick #6 Round Brush
  • Pen nib & holder
  • Micron .005, .01, .02, .03, .05, .08, 1.0
  • Faber Castell Brush Tip Marker
  • Plastic eraser
  • Photoshop
Next: Hang on, dear readers, I'm nearly done with this chapter. But as I told one of my readers last week, these things must be done delicately, or you hurt the spell.

Sunday, July 31, 2022

Original Art Sundays No. 302: Sharp Invitations: Curt, p. 42

 Okay, here we go!

When we last saw Curt, he was charging at me, full of rage.

Read on.

This was a tricky layout. The first panel portrays a really clumsy moment (in a physical sense). I almost went full cartoon on this one, since it was so absurd. Then this was going to be silhouette, but it seemed too ominous. I opted for a borderline approach- loose figures, awkward poses and just enough text to clarify the action. I opted for simple pencil for the ground shading, a leadless HB.

The second panel establishes the space from an angle we haven't seen before. For a simple, boring room with tedious 1970s architecture, this space is really challenging to draw! I took half a dozen reference shots of a similar setup in my living room, tried drawing it from six different perspectives. Nothing worked. Finally, I decided to simplify and make it about the characters, then made the environment another character. The anchor points related to other pages are the cabinets on the far wall and the open area where Mother's painting once was. No facial expressions in this panel. I wanted the poses to convey the emotions. Also, that's a really tiny drawing of a human body!

The last panel goes tight on his reaching hand an foreshadows the next page.  There's also the visual device of the hand reaching towards the corner, encouraging the reader to turn the page. Large curved area of black serves to anchor the panel.

I was almost late with this page, as I was also preparing work for the upcoming MCAD Faculty Biennial show this week. Show goes up in late August. Rest assured there will be photos. I reviewed about 30 recent pages and selected 14. The pleasant surprise was how much I liked some of them! My internal .dialogue on my art, my writing, my craft, leans towards lament. I tend to dwell on how much time has slipped by me and how the work suffers from that. That's human, but also very self-indulgent. My consolations/realizations are that the work is stronger than I think it is, and that if I use my time well, I can do 50 - 100 pages a year. If I manage to keep going another 20 years, that's a lot of story!

Tools for this page:

  • Canson Bristol board, plain paper slipsheet, masking tape
  • iPhone for photo reference.
  • T-square, triangle, Ames lettering guide
  • Tech pencil, Paster 6B pencil, HB Woodless pencil
  • Dr. Martin's Black Star Matte Ink
  • Blick #6 Round Brush
  • Pen nib & holder
  • Micron .005, .01, .02, .03, .05, .08, 1.0
  • Faber Castell Brush Tip Marker
  • Plastic eraser
  • Photoshop

Next: things break.

Sunday, July 24, 2022

Original Art Sundays No. 301: Sharp Invitations: Curt, p. 41

 As promised, a little action!

When we left our hapless couple, Curt had just snapped - I mean really snapped - because the phone rang and somebody hung up. 

The story: this is where I finally accepted the truth, that the problem wasn't me, it was him. I'm taking slight liberties with the timeline and omitting some events that bog things down. It all happened, but over a full day and night, and briefly involved some out of town guests, awkward witnesses to some of this miasma. It will take two or three more pages to resolve these events and a few more to deal with the aftermath.

In most abuse narratives, there's a point where the victim finally accepts that they don't deserve to be treated that way. This was that moment for me. All that's left is survival.

Again, sparse backgrounds. The details fall away until nothing is left but the two of us, the crucible of the relationship's ugly truth. Gray values come from Ebony pencil and brush marker (a faded one giving a wispy edge), much more effective than wash or regular marker, I think. Using the old saw of having the panels touch on the top tier to slow time. Then things open up. Violation of the border on the 2/3 splash magnifies the figure and slows time again, despite this being an action driven panel. The distance between the tow of us is, of course, elongated for effect. I adapted the pose from one of my favorite books, Colleen Doran and Derek McCullough's Gone to Amerikay, a later page. There's been relatively little physical action in my story, and it feels good to break that. I recall an MCAD professor, Peter Gross, looking at someone else's page, a big action pose, and saying, "yeah, THAT'S comics!" Light whiteout here and there, mostly nib and Micron on this page. Photoshop used only for light correction on this one.

I noticed as the page evolved that this page was an ironic and bittersweet hint of an earlier page, where he came to visit me in Minneapolis and I ran to him. Here's a reprint of the earlier page for comparison.

More and more I find that my style is becoming itself. An elusive concept, which sounds much more high handed than it is. Every page, every image, is about discovering and rediscovering my natural artistic tendencies, ideally always in service to the story.


  • Canson Bristol board
  • Ames Lettering guide
  • Triangle, T-Square
  • Tech pencil, Derwent 3B pencil, Ebony pencil
  • Faber Castell Eraser, kneadable eraser
  • Dr. Martin's Black Star Matte Ink
  • FW Artist's Acrylic White
  • Tight Spot
  • Tech markers: Micron .02, .03, .05, .08 and Faber Castell Brush Tip
  • Slip sheet

Next: the last fight continues. Something gets thrown.

Monday, July 18, 2022

Original Art Sundays (MOnday) no. 300: Sharp Invitations: Curt, pp. 39 and 40

 Posting on Monday this week. I wanted to take the time to make this a double header. Not only is it a crucial moment in the story, but it's post # 300! Something of a milestone that leads me to reflect on my art, my goals and the evolution of my process.

When we left our happy couple, they were in the throes of a very tentative idyllic domestic bliss. Here's what happened next.

That's the way domestic abuse goes. Everything can seem just peachy, and some innocent thing, like a phone ringing, can detonate an explosion. No overt trans content in this part of the narrative.

The backgrounds on p. 39 are tentative but serviceable. I put in a wash background on the first panel, used an old school marker on the third, and blended them out in Photoshop.

I got excited with a couple things on these pages. The last panel of p. 39 is influenced by Alan Davis' work on Miracleman issue 3, page 21, last panel. I got all brave inking this one with just one brush, and was very satisfied with the results. Some Kirby special effects were modified after the fact in Photoshop. The poses reflect the characters' emotional state, a lesson I took to heart from Archie Comics artist Harry Lucey.

The splash page was such fun! A few weeks ago, I was intrigued by an accidental ink smear and the energy the effect gave. I wanted to to incorporate it into this story, and this seemed the perfect opportunity. To get the effect, I used Frisket to mask out a pencil illustration, then masked the live area border. I used a slip sheet to cover the text area, went in with my favorite ink and a big #8 angle brush, let it dry and then just lifted the Frisket. The Frisket is applied using either a brush pre-treated with dish soap, or with adjustable nib ruling pens. This process requires patience. Everything has to dry and fully set up before moving on to the next page. I love this process and will use it again where it serves the story.

The crucial question is always what goes in and what stays out. Editing, especially in your own work, is a three step process: selection, combination and elimination. I love intricate and detailed comic work. But more and more, I find I'm working by Alex Toth's mantra.

I'm very excited that this chapter is so close to resolution. This is the trick middle of the book. Most of the first third is done, and the aftermath of this chapter and the story resolution remain. I greatly appreciate my readers sticking around for this journey!

Tools used on these pages:

  • Canson Bristol Board 
  • Triangle and T-Square, Ames lettering guide, masking tape, slipsheet (printer paper)
  • 3B Derwent Pencil, tech pencil
  • Inkwell dish
  • Ballpoint pen
  • Pen nib and holder
  • Microns: .02, .03, .05, .08, 1.0 and brush tip
  • Prismacolor marker gray 50%
  • Dish soap
  • Adjustable nib ruling pen
  • Faber-Castell plastic eraser
  • Dr. Martin's Black Magic Ink
  • FW Acrylic White
  • Dr. Martin's Acrylic Frisket
  • Rubber Cement Pickup
  • Brushes: Kingart Round 04, 06 & 08, Grumbacher Flat 02, Royal Synthetic Flat Angle 08, Princeton 10 round, Blick 02 & 06 round

Next: it gets more intense.

Sunday, July 3, 2022

Original Art Sundays No. 299: Sharp Invitations: Curt, p. 38

 Another page into the fray.

I was originally doing a second page for this week, as a bridge to next week's action, but I did a very similar page to the one planned earlier in the story (the page about him dating me because, as  trans woman, I couldn't get pregnant), so decided to forego.

 I do like doing these quick gag strips on occasion. They're a nice break. So fast and loose! They're freeing, and a good way to advance the story by small anecdote. Aside from light cleanup in Photoshop, this is pretty much the original. At one point, I considered doing the whole book this way. I shied away from it because that's the not the kind of work I like doing most of the time, and because Sophie LaBelle already does it so deftly over at Assigned Male Comics!
The astute reader will recall that Curt prided himself on being logical. The incongruity in his opinions on this was a shocker and a bit of a road into his mindset. Also, I love musicals, so this hit me in the gut.
We're entering a period of relative calm before the final storm, so something lighter is called for.
Very simple tools this week.
  • Printer paper
  • 3B Cumberland Derwent pencil, tech pencil
  • Ames lettering guide
  • Staedler Mars plastic eraser
  • Ballpoint pen
  • Photoshop
  • Scan done with IPhone 12
That's it! 
Next: the calm ends, the storm starts.

Sunday, June 26, 2022

Original Art Sundays No. 298: Sharp Invitations: Curt, pp. 36 and 37

 Hello again!

Two pages this week instead of one! I was having fun with it and decided to push a bit. 

This is my response to Curt's reaction to my attempt to slit my wrists.

Well, out of the fire and into surrender! Really, I tried running away, I tried escaping into death (however halfheartedly). The only thing left to try was surrender. Plus, part of me always wanted to be the little housewife. I don't think it's every trans woman's dream, but it was one of mine. However, I myopically believed I wouldn't have to surrender my autonomy to fulfill it.

Also, as anyone who's been involved in domestic abuse will tell you, it's a labyrinth, a tangled mess of conflation and subversion. It's jarring to live through, but excessive detail on such things makes for a convoluted and uninteresting story. Better to condense and summarize.

Soliloquy and paper dolls seemed a good way to sum up this turn of events. This story is a bit heavy, and an occasional respite is called for. Plus- paper dolls, what fun! I've done paper dolls of most of my other characters, so why not me? In my research, I discovered that the Cleavers' home town of Mayfield isn't in a specific state, hence the USA locale. All the costumes are period, evoking the 1960s housewife cliche, except the Omaha lingerie, which is there in homage to sensei Reed Waller. They're also all things I really enjoy.

Layout is pretty direct on these. I've done soliloquy pages earlier in this story, and followed the same pattern of reversal/reversal. I love the high five in the last panel on that page. 

Tools for these two pages:

  • Canson Bristol Board, tracing paper
  • Pencils: Tech pencil, 2B Ticonderoga, 3B and 6B Cumberland Derwent, 4B Graphite stick
  • Holder & Nib, ballpoint pen
  • Triangle, straightedge, T-square
  • Dr. Martin's Black Star Matte ink
  • Brushes: Blick #6 Synthetic Round, Escoda Kolinsky Sable Flat #4. Tight Spot for corrections
  • Microns: .03, .05, .08, Brush Tip
  • FW Artist's Acrylic White
  • Photoshop

Next: Domestic tranquility moments, the calm before the final storm.