Daddy Lightning Preliminary Sketches and Ideas

I'll be posting the first bunch of pages again from Daddy Lightning here On Monday. First, some sketches and thoughts.

I wrote this book in the winter of 2009, when Rosalie was a newborn, mostly in the first few weeks of her life. Forgive my compartmentalizing as I talk about the process from 2 years ago as if everything now were normal.

I started with sketches. Just doodles, really from what I was feeling. Which was puzzlement, stress, hunger, and a maybe a sort of scrutiny from the moms of the world as I tried to enter their realm. You can see all that below.

sooner or later these sketches began to coalesce into some ideas for situations.

Including a little formal exercise I developed doing comic strips: posting an image at the top, imagining a before, an after, mixing with other random ideas and brainstorming other directions. This above became the swaddling contest at the center of the book.

Once I felt there was a series of situation and actions, or "bits" I chose the best ones, arranged them in a line and then planned them out as a 44 page book:

And began sketching:

The horrible chaos of the last few months has meant I can't even find my original sketches. I'm working from printouts and missing valuable notes I made to myself a year ago.

Oops- I didn't shove that word balloon up to the top.

I did not flip this

I did not pull back.

Here's a cover sketch.

The book is due from Retrofit April 1. More soon.


Beginning Daddy Lightning again

Been working hard on Daddy Lightning at SAW. This is a recipe for mixed emotions.

This experience IS:

A BLAST. After 5-8 years of comic strips, and 50 pages of Banks that was mostly free-form, this is the first story I structured before I sat down to draw it in a while. It's nice to return to that form. To serve Master Discipline, to mark the pages yet to draw, to cross them off, to take each stage to the next.
PAINFUL. I'm drawing comics of me and her in competition. This was a fun idea, once. I don't know what to call it now. But I gotta finish it, and I've always been one to affirm the you that you once were. It's who I was, so I have to set it down. But I'm not that person anymore. It's the biggest rift between person who came up with an idea and person who has to work it through that I've ever had bridge.
EXCITING. A great new book with a great interesting publisher. Debuting at Mocca, etc. Always nice to have a good new book out.
WEIRD. It will be the same size and shape and just 8 fewer pages as Hutch Owen's Working Hard, my first book, and I'm making scattered text pages and celebratory shout-out pages and what-not, it will look and feel a lot like that first book, a book I love and loved, also the product of intense emotions, and that I finished like a race.
SAD. I keep drawing this infant that was barely a version of her even when I sketched it. Now it's the only one I know, and my only connection to her, but I rush through it. I can't believe this is what I'm left with. 
STUPID. I should be parenting. 
SICK and WRONG. There's this part of me that sees Rosalie's death as yet another in a long list of failures. And somehow this makes it easy and almost unimportant within a certain part of my emotions. I spent most of 2003-2007 doing Hutch Owen as a daily newspaper strip. A good strip. Maybe not as good as Calvin and Hobbes, but as good as anything else out there with anything to say. I worked hard to sell it, constantly, using every resource I had. I dedicated my creativity and intelligence to that form and those characters. It ended unceremoniously in 2008. For the rest of 2008, I spent trying to sell Ali's House which again I dedicated all my passion and creativity to. It died as soon as it reached the launch pad. How To Say Everything took up most of my 2009 and couldn't find a publisher. It lies 90% finished and with me standing completely behind it but not finishing or marketing it. The Hutch Owen collection of the best of the 2005-2007 strips has yet to see print and I have no idea what the status of that collection is. All of these failures I shook off. There were easy to bounce back from. I've always held to my own values and standards and I usually believe I'm on my right personal path regardless if that is in sync with the world's commercial path. And so what took up my 2009-2011? Rosalie and starting SAW. SAW is taking off fabulously. And Rosalie?  Another project that failed to take off. I soldier on. I draw comics.

You see? Terrible, mixed emotions.

Here's a Freudian slip. That's me, below, wandering the darkness. I forgot to draw the baby on my back. 


Rosalie Posalie Nosalie Dosalie

We visited the lovely ladies (and Russell) at Small World Daycare and Learning Center, where Rosalie spent two lovely months. She loved it there, and dear Ms. Sharyn, Ms Brea, Ms Belinda and Michelle, she loved you all. She would try to say goodbye to Michelle in the afternoons when I would pick her up, "Bye Ma-elle!" she'd say while waving.

And then as I'd carry her to my bike, "Bye Rodzy-bop! (Rosalie's park) Bye Baby-bop! Bye Sand-house!"

Then we'd bike home, past the ducks ("Mo-mo ducks") and the "big tuttle" and she'd say "oh! Big Moon" if the moon was out in the late afternoon, or if not, "Where'd the big moon go?"

They had made a poster for her with all the kids' handprints as butterflies, saying goodbye to our Bunny, "We will miss you", "Rosalie is in Heaven's hands", "Rest in Heaven" etc. I cried while I hugged them all.

I miss you, my beautiful beautiful beautiful.