Shaping non-fiction characters.

What was initially to be a short volunteer research project into a Vancouver cold case to support a theory championed by a retired homicide detective, became, for me [and continues to be], a 17+ year personal journey “to restore to now dead people the fullness and degree of complication of their lives. To restore their humanness…

The objects are the context from which I draw clues.

What happens when a case is very old, when much of its physical evidence is deteriorated or destroyed, and its main players long deceased?  How do we investigate? For me it is all about the historical context. When I work on Molly, I step into the 1940’s through books, research, primary sources.  And I do it…

Daisy’s dilemma. 1947 and dark Disney imagery.

My current book project, Molly, is a creative non-fiction tragedy that centres around a suicide in 1947. Suicides were well publicized back then, often featured on the front pages of newspapers. Searching online images “suicide, 1947,” the image that inevitably comes up is the photo titled “the most beautiful suicide“- a haunting and iconic image. But as…

Molly’s confession. #graphicnovel study #openingsequence

I am going to tell the story of my life in an alphabet of ashes. – Blas de Otero — GRABLINE: He brushed the leaves aside and uncovered the most baffling double murder Vancouver has ever had. – The Vancouver Province April 15, 1953 MOLLY- the graphic novel —

It doesn’t stop him. My death stops him. #graphicnovel study

Recall March 7, 2013, photoshoot at Salmagundi West for my graphic novel. I am struck by the ability of my model, Jocelyn Louise, to convey, in a simple glance, the pain of my main character as she tries to escape the memories of childhood trauma. Asexual. Living in church, reading about God all the time, getting callouses…

With a faery, hand in hand… photo shoot for the #graphicnovel at Salmagundi West!

On March 7, 2013, I was humbled at the generosity of Salmagundi West owner Anna Banner who allowed us to use her store as a back drop for our latest photoshoot! I was joined by Jocelyn Louise (who portrays Molly) and stylist Jay Fisher… … and my daughter Anna Thorsen who took the main shots…

“Where white is black and black is white, I won.” #graphicnovel study #crowskull

When Crow was white he decided the sun was too white. He decided it glared much too whitely. He decided to attack it and defeat it. He got his strength up flush and in full glitter. He clawed and fluffed his rage up. He aimed his beak direct at the sun’s centre. He laughed himself…

Maybe you mistook me for an angel… #graphicnovel studies and research

Sometimes, the truths that we hold to be fixed in our culture develop a fissure, which widens into a crack, and as we watch, the mirror shatters shard by shard, until nothing is left but fragments of the prejudice lying in disarray at our feet. – Patricia Pearson, Perceptions of Female Violence and the Vocabulary…

… the depths of that leaf-encumbered forest, the soul… #graphicnovel study

It rasped her, though, to have stirring about in her this brutal monster! To hear twigs cracking and feel hooves planted down in the depths of that leaf-encumbered forest, the soul; never to be content quite, or quite secure. – Virginia Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway MOLLY- the graphic novel —

Regarding Molly- importance of working titles and “acting as if…”

As I experiment with marrying text to illustration in my graphic novel, I am working from the end backwards, creating a working title and promotional mockup. Acting as if the book is completed, the project feels organized and allows me to create a skeletal framework on which to flesh out ideas. This framework can then…

The dissonance of text and illustration. Study for #graphicnovel #Molly #BabesintheWoods

MOLLY- the graphic novel —

Shame. Study for #graphicnovel

      Recommended reading:   —   MOLLY- the graphic novel —

He brushed the leaves aside and uncovered the most baffling double murder Vancouver has ever had. Jan 15, 1953

  MOLLY- the graphic novel —

I, in fleshy tomb, am buried above ground. Study for #graphicnovel

— Encompass’d with a thousand dangers,  Weary, faint, trembling with a thousand terrors….I…in fleshy tomb, am  Buried above ground. – William Cowper MOLLY- the graphic novel —

The Babes in the Wood study #graphicnovel

The Babes in the Wood [1] My dear do you know, How a long time ago, Two poor little children, Whose names I don’t know, Were stolen away On a fine summer’s day, And left in a wood, As I’ve heard people say, Poor Babes in the Wood! Poor Babes in the Wood! Oh! don’t…

Take Off the Amber, Put Out the Lamp #graphicnovel #research

Take the day.  Immerse.  Forget everything else.  Read.  Sketch.  Cocoon.  Trust the calling. Today’s resources: Jamison, K.R. (1999) Night Falls Fast- understanding suicide, Vintage Books: New York, NY, USA Malooof, J., ed. (2012) Vivian Maier- Street Photographer, powerHouse Books: New York NY, USA Appignanesi, L. (2007) Sad, Mad and Bad- women and the mind-doctors from…

These three hours that we have spent.. two shadows went along with us… #graphicnovel photoshoot w. @RickLegalPhotos

Recall Photoshoot Dec 3, 2012: A Lecture Upon the Shadow Here are some MEGA TASTY treats from Rick Legal. As an artist/researcher/behavior evidence analyst, these photos fill every cell of my being with joy!  It is wonderful to allow a fellow artist the freedom to do his work within the context/limits of a vision.  Extraordinary….

A Lecture Upon the Shadow: an evening of collaboration on the #graphicnovel with @RickLegalPhotos and co.

A LECTURE UPON THE SHADOW. by John Donne December 3, 2012 was an evening of collaboration as Jocelyn Louise and Jay Fisher recreated 1947 and main characters from my graphic novel as they were photographed by the extraordinary photographer, Rick Legal, and as the entire process was documented by photographer and colleague, Nancy Kirkpatrick. The book will include…

Muse reawakened. #Vancouver #coldcase #graphicnovel

MOLLY- the graphic novel Read updates at KICKSTARTER Follow links at GRAPHIC NOVEL   • Prepping the mindmap • Gathering inspiration • Collecting quotes • Reviewing current work- written and drawn • Creating new pieces • Planning new photoshoot • Documenting process *Rethinking approach • Full immersion imminent — She waved as she made her…

#Graphicnovel update! Checklists, mindmaps, plotting out chapters, inciting incident… #startattheend

I love that all I am doing in my art and career feeds the graphic novel, even if I’m not working on pages in the book per se. When I do my street art, I am utilizing the style and perfecting the technique and medium I am using in Molly. When I am working with…

Her Catholic childhood. #Vancouver #coldcase #graphicnovel

“When I look back on my childhood I wonder how I survived at all. It was, of course, a miserable childhood: the happy childhood is hardly worth your while. Worse than the ordinary miserable childhood is the miserable Irish childhood, and worse yet is the miserable Irish Catholic childhood.” ― Frank McCourt, Angela’s Ashes — — MOLLY-…

Where it starts and where it ends- two unidentified males. #Vancouver #coldcase #graphicnovel

MOLLY- the graphic novel — Many have been asking if they can still contribute to the graphic novel project.  YES PLEASE!  You can donate via PAYPAL here: DONATE —

ASYLUM. #graphicnovel research

When I saw this book on my fave site, BrainPickings, I immediately called around the local bookstores and found a copy downtown. From BrainPickings: One of the 19th-century’s most notorious socioarchitectural phenomena were the “insane asylums” that housed the era’s mentally ill — enormous and stunning buildings whose architecture stood in stark contrast with the ominous…

Creative process = flow = trust. #graphicnovel #crimescene #Vancouver #coldcase

I am letting the creative process flow through me as I work on the story.  Letting whatever comes out, come out as it needs to.  Editing will happen later. TRUST. — MOLLY- the graphic novel — Many have been asking if they can still contribute to the graphic novel project.  YES PLEASE!  You can donate…

Forest floor. #graphicnovel #crimescene #Vancouver #coldcase

Currently working on a page focusing on a child’s hand on the forest floor on  OCTOBER 5, 1947. — MOLLY- the graphic novel — Many have been asking if they can still contribute to the graphic novel project.  YES PLEASE!  You can donate via PAYPAL here: DONATE —

On Becoming a Woman- vintage treasure. #graphicnovel research #Vancouver #coldcase

I found a glorious and heartbreaking book on ETSY at LOST BEAR STUDIO as I was searching for 1940s/50s items for my graphic novel research. On Becoming A Woman by Harold Shryock, MD. The information teenage women were receiving at the time regarding their physical, personal and sexual development was truly horrifying from my perspective…

Molly’s birthday: April 25, 1924. Evolution of the #familytree. #graphicnovel #Vancouver #coldcase

MOLLY- the graphic novel  I know that my heart will be forever in this suspended animation, as I live entwined in their circumstance. — Many have been asking if they can still contribute to the graphic novel project.  YES PLEASE!  You can donate via PAYPAL here: DONATE —

10:15 AM Nov 6, 1947 #Molly #coldcase #graphicnovel #Vancouver

— Jocelyn Louise as Molly November 6, 1947 — To contribute to the graphic novel project: donate via PAYPAL by clicking DONATE

Obsessed with Jocelyn as #Molly. #coldcase #graphicnovel #Vancouver

— Jocelyn Louise as Molly — Many have been asking if they can still contribute to the graphic novel project.  That’s wonderful and very helpful!!!  The rewards will stay the same as on Kickstarter.  Take a look at the rewards on the Kickstarter site.  You can donate via PAYPAL by clicking DONATE —

PHOTOSHOOT recreating October 5, 1947 #graphicnovel #Vancouver

— — On the anniversary of Molly’s suicide [November 6, 1947], I spent the afternoon with Jocelyn Louise and Jay Fisher recreating the mood of October 5, 1947– the alleged date of the double homicide. I am so honored to work with these two- Jay is a master at styling the era, and Jocelyn channels…

Wartime rationing and the 1940s house #graphicnovel research

— Source ‘Because of the pail, the scraps were saved,   Because of the scraps, the pigs were saved,   Because of the pigs, the rations were saved,  Because of the rations, the ships were saved,  Because of the ships, the island was saved,   Because of the island, the Empire was saved, And all because of the…

Molly headed West to British Columbia in 1947 #graphicnovel #Vancouver

— A treat:   — Many have been asking if they can still contribute to the graphic novel project.  That’s wonderful and very helpful!!!  The rewards will stay the same as on Kickstarter.  Take a look at the rewards on the Kickstarter site.  You can donate via PAYPAL by clicking DONATE —

Molly’s brother 1926-1963. Mental illness. Bowel obstruction. #Essondale #graphicnovel #Vancouver

PROJECT FUNDED on KICKSTARTER! MOLLY- the graphic novel (model: Jocelyn Louise) — I am finding incredible primary sources on ETSY and am particularly impressed with VINTAGE BOOK LOVER. I ordered vintage 1940s resources regarding Tuberculosis and intestinal disorders. I was elated to receive a special gift of bowel disorder illustrations, which proved PERFECT for finishing today’s page…

Finding Norah. #graphicnovel #Vancouver

PROJECT FUNDED on KICKSTARTER! MOLLY- the graphic novel (model: Jocelyn Louise) — Recall my post about Molly’s mother: Hanora (Norah) Morris: Norah’s relationship with her daughter was a complex one.  One that I hope to explore in the illustrations. Tonight I had dinner with my dear friend, Tracey Bell.  Her beauty and spirit inspires me to no…

Vintage fur coat arrived. Very moving. Photoshoot soon! #graphicnovel #Vancouver

PROJECT FUNDED on KICKSTARTER! MOLLY- the graphic novel – Today , the furcoat I purchased on ETSY from wolfman1377 Vintage Clothing and Accessories arrived!  As it is very close to the original found at the crime scene, I felt quite shaken thinking about a woman covering her dead children. Here is a look at opening the…

Molly’s consequence. #graphicnovel #Vancouver

MOLLY- the graphic novel — There is no refuge from confession but suicide; and suicide is confession. – D. Webster — Many have been asking if they can still contribute to the graphic novel project.  That’s wonderful and very helpful!!!  The rewards will stay the same as on Kickstarter.  Take a look at the rewards on the Kickstarter site….

Visual input, planning and a visit from producer, @annatfabulous #graphicnovel #Vancouver

MOLLY- the graphic novel — As I work on finding the ultimate way to present the drawings in my graphic novel and juggling how much or how little I want to use text, I continue the creative process by sketching and visiting, photographing and soaking in location shots. Anna Thorsen, my daughter and project producer,…

Molly’s mother, Norah, born 1900, #graphicnovel #Vancouver

PROJECT FUNDED on KICKSTARTER! MOLLY- the graphic novel — YEAR 1900 Molly’s mother was born Hanora (also found spelled Norah or Nora) Morris (or Morriss).  Her birth date was February 19, 1900 and the passenger list indicates she was born in Ballagh, Ireland- likely the Ballagh in the county of Donegal and the northern province of Ulster[1]….

BOX 2 Item 30- 4 small rib bones, #graphicnovel #Vancouver

PROJECT FUNDED on KICKSTARTER! MOLLY- the graphic novel — PHYSICAL EVIDENCE BOX 2 Item 30- 4 small rib bones The most touching moment for me when inspecting the evidence in 2004 was coming across an unlabeled brown paper bag containing four small bones.  The bones appear to be rib bones and I speculate that these bones…

Vintage fur coat. Eerily perfect.. #graphicnovel #Vancouver

PROJECT FUNDED on KICKSTARTER! MOLLY- the graphic novel – Today I purchased a vintage furcoat on ETSY from wolfman1377 Vintage Clothing and Accessories for use in the next illustration resource photo shoot.  It sends shivers down my spine as it is very close to the original found at the scene, including bakelite buttons. ETSY ITEM: SCRUMPTIOUS vintage…

It’s all about the family tree intertwined with the timeline. #graphicnovel #Vancouver

PROJECT FUNDED on KICKSTARTER! MOLLY- the graphic novel  I know that my heart will be forever in this suspended animation, as I live entwined in [their] circumstance.[1] To build the timeline and the family tree, I started with the original news articles and then proceeded to a variety of resources such as BC Archives and Alberta…

What is the truth? #graphicnovel #Vancouver

PROJECT FUNDED on KICKSTARTER! MOLLY- the graphic novel There are faint stars in the night sky that you can see, but only if you look to the side of where they shine.  They burn too weakly or are too far away to be seen directly, even if you stare.  But you can see them out of…

A visit to the @policemuseum #creativeprocess #graphicnovel #Vancouver

PROJECT FUNDED on KICKSTARTER! MOLLY- the graphic novel Video courtesy of Vancouver Filmmaker, Patti Henderson This video is a ‘sizzle reel’ of DARK PASSAGES that Patti co-created and directed, featuring Karen Lam and DJ Ashba.  The show proposed to follow the hosts as they travel to different countries, exploring death rites and rituals, thereby allowing us,…

Research and inspiration. #creativeprocess #graphicnovel #Vancouver

PROJECT FUNDED on KICKSTARTER! MOLLY- the graphic novel It is important to my creative process to immerse myself in research and objects that evoke the era.   “You can’t wait for inspiration, you have to go after it with a club.” – Jack London — Many have been asking if they can still contribute to the project….

Updates on #Molly, the #graphic novel! @Kickstarter @annatfabulous

PROJECT FUNDED on KICKSTARTER! MOLLY- the graphic novel UPDATES 1. I will be contacting backers soon for their info so I can fulfill the rewards. 2. Supplies have been purchased, including a shoulder-strapped portfolio, so I can work on the novel downtown in situ at various story locations like Stanley Park, the Vancouver Police Museum and Mountain…

Funding successful!!! THANK YOU EVERYONE INVOLVED FOR YOUR SUPPORT! @Kickstarter @annatfabulous

PROJECT FUNDED on KICKSTARTER! As of this moment we’re 100% funded!  WOW!!! A HUGE THANK YOU TO THE BACKERS!!!  I’M A EXCITED TO MAKE YOU PROUD OF BEING PART OF THIS PROJECT!!! So, the research is done.  Funding is in place.  Now it’s time to start  the illustration and writing process and apply for more funding grants…

The year was 1947. #graphicnovel #Vancouver @Kickstarter @annatfabulous

PROJECT FUNDING in 5 hours on KICKSTARTER: As of this moment [September 11, 2011], we’re 100% funded!  WOW!!! You still have approximately 4 hours to be part of bringing this incredible story to life! A huge thank you to all our backers so far! Raising more than the goal is OK, though!  More than OK!!! —…

Photoshoot Part 2: Molly coming to life. #graphicnovel #Vancouver @Kickstarter @annatfabulous

PROJECT FUNDING HAS LAUNCHED on KICKSTARTER: As of this moment [September 8, 2011], we’re 97% funded! BUT to get funding we need to reach 100%! That’s how Kickstarter works! Please help us make our goal by Sept 11 5:17 PM!  Raising more than the goal is OK, though!  More than OK!!! — Yesterday we did a…

Photoshoot Part 1: Molly coming to life #graphicnovel #Vancouver @Kickstarter @annatfabulous

PROJECT FUNDING HAS LAUNCHED on KICKSTARTER: As of this moment [September 7, 2011], we’re 96% funded! BUT to get funding we need to reach 100%! That’s how Kickstarter works! Please help us make our goal by Sept 11 5:17 PM!  Raising more than the goal is OK, though!  More than OK!!! — Today we did a…

Receive a cameo role in my #graphicnovel! #Vancouver @Kickstarter @annatfabulous

PROJECT FUNDING HAS LAUNCHED on KICKSTARTER: As of this moment [September 5, 2011], we’re 80% funded. BUT to get funding we need to reach 100%! That’s how Kickstarter works! Please help us make our goal by Sept 11 5:17 PM! — All backers who donate $50 and up will appear in the graphic novel in a…

At the core of this story: child abuse. #graphicnovel #Vancouver @Kickstarter @annatfabulous #ISPCC

PROJECT FUNDING HAS LAUNCHED on KICKSTARTER: As of this moment [September 5, 2011], we’re 80% funded. BUT to get funding we need to reach 100%! That’s how Kickstarter works! Please help us make our goal by Sept 11 5:17 PM! — The case itself centres around two unknown children, two young brothers who deserve to be…

Why a #graphicnovel? @Kickstarter @annatfabulous

PROJECT FUNDING HAS LAUNCHED on KICKSTARTER: As of this moment [September 4, 2011], we’re 79% funded!!! YAY!!! BUT to get funding we need to reach 100%! That’s how Kickstarter works! Please help us make our goal by Sept 11 5:17 PM! Thank you everyone!  HUGS! — The case itself centres around two unknown children, two young…

Mistaken evidence: they thought it was a boy and a girl. #graphicnovel #Vancouver @Kickstarter @annatfabulous

PROJECT FUNDING HAS LAUNCHED on KICKSTARTER: As of this moment [September 3, 2011], we’re 79% funded!!! YAY!!! BUT to get funding we need to reach 100%! That’s how Kickstarter works! Please help us make our goal by Sept 11 5:17 PM! Thank you everyone! — The case itself centres around two unknown children, two young brothers…

Post War #Vancouver. #graphicnovel @Kickstarter

PROJECT FUNDING HAS LAUNCHED on KICKSTARTER: He brushed the leaves aside and uncovered the most baffling double murder Vancouver has ever had. – The Vancouver Province April 15, 1953 – The case itself centres around two unknown children, two young brothers who deserve to be identified. — POST WAR VANCOUVER I fall in love with Vancouver more…

The murder weapon: a lather’s hatchet. #graphicnovel #Vancouver @Kickstarter @annatfabulous

PROJECT FUNDING HAS LAUNCHED on KICKSTARTER: He brushed the leaves aside and uncovered the most baffling double murder Vancouver has ever had. – The Vancouver Province April 15, 1953 – The case itself centres around two unknown children, two young brothers who deserve to be identified. — By its very nature, physical evidence is circumstantial; it provides…

Who is this young man? Want to know? #coldcase #graphicnovel #Vancouver @Kickstarter @annatfabulous

PROJECT FUNDING HAS LAUNCHED on KICKSTARTER: He brushed the leaves aside and uncovered the most baffling double murder Vancouver has ever had. – The Vancouver Province April 15, 1953 — To help fund this graphic novel go to KICKSTARTER! Note: All backers will receive a mention in the book (if they so wish).  Take a look at the fun…

Two children’s aviator helmets. Cold case evidence. #graphicnovel #Vancouver @Kickstarter @annatfabulous

PROJECT FUNDING HAS LAUNCHED on KICKSTARTER: He brushed the leaves aside and uncovered the most baffling double murder Vancouver has ever had. – The Vancouver Province April 15, 1953 – The case itself centres around two unknown children, two young brothers who deserve to be identified. — By its very nature, physical evidence is circumstantial; it provides…

Eyewitness. #graphicnovel #Vancouver @Kickstarter @annatfabulous

PROJECT FUNDING HAS LAUNCHED on KICKSTARTER: He brushed the leaves aside and uncovered the most baffling double murder Vancouver has ever had. – The Vancouver Province April 15, 1953 – Our Kickstarter campaign ends on September 11, 2011 at 5:17 PM.  Please consider donating!  LET’S DO THIS!  Love, Anna (producer) and Katarina (writer, illustrator) See more links and posts about…

An Irish Catholic childhood. #graphicnovel #Vancouver @Kickstarter @annatfabulous

PROJECT FUNDING HAS LAUNCHED on KICKSTARTER: He brushed the leaves aside and uncovered the most baffling double murder Vancouver has ever had. – The Vancouver Province April 15, 1953 – Worse than the ordinary miserable childhood is the miserable Irish childhood and worse yet is the miserable Irish Catholic childhood. – Angela’s Ashes [1] Families sometimes maintain secrets.  They…

Primary sources. Molly, the #graphicnovel. #Vancouver @Kickstarter campaign

PROJECT FUNDING HAS LAUNCHED on KICKSTARTER: He brushed the leaves aside and uncovered the most baffling double murder Vancouver has ever had. – The Vancouver Province April 15, 1953 – See more links and posts about this cold case and the project at GRAPHIC NOVEL. — Primary source is a term used to describe source material that is…