“What do we know?” Drawing conclusions from the facts. #graphicnovel

My graphic novel is more of an illustrated thesis rather than pure graphic novel.  My words are based in fact.  The drawings are where I can take a leap of faith- a surrealistic interpretation.

It is creative non-fiction.  I literally DRAW conclusions based on the evidence at hand.  That is my artistic take on it.  But the story itself- the CORE- is based solely on facts.  It is essential to my personal writing process to be clear about the FACTS.

Wrestling this massive project has taken many years of gestation and development and I am finally in the labour stage.  And so, I have created a framework on which to reassemble the manuscript-



With an important repeated question recurring throughout:Screen shot 2015-09-16 at 4.22.46 PM

Sample notes:

Up to this point, the crime has been reconstructed with the evidence at hand.  All that can be said with certainty is that two young brothers died or were killed at the primary scene or died or were killed elsewhere and brought to the scene (disposal site) at some point before January 15, 1953.

It is very likely that they were killed deliberately (a conclusion based on the evidence), as there are two victims- both unidentified and unclaimed.

If this indeed a homicide, who killed them cannot be verified but it appears from the evidence at the scene the incident at least involved a woman- a woman who may or may not have been a parent or guardian.

The children were laid out head-to-toe; it appears they were left at the scene with some intention.


A good theory must withstand repeated attempts at falsification.  In my own work, this has often been the best way to proceed when working with others to solve a problem, make a decision, or interpret the known facts.  It is essentially brainstorming: coming up with all the ideas regardless of their merit, getting them all down for everyone to see, and then killing off the weak with logic and reason, one at a time, as a group.  The strongest solutions and theories will necessarily withstand this process. – Brent Turvey

Many have asked me, have you used a psychic?  Well, yes.  I did have intuitive walk the scene in depths and it was an extraordinary experience– recorded on film and transcribed- here it is from a previous draft: DOCUMENT: Epilogue

Visiting the site with intuitive, 2007.

— but it is not in the best interest of the thesis to include it in the final version.

A thousand mistakes of every description would be avoided if people did not base their conclusions upon premises furnished by other, take as established fact what is only a possibility… Hans Gross

I am going to attempt to make note in my book as to where I connect circumstantial evidence to draw my conclusions.


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 be dismantled, contorted and altered as needed. It is not the final result by any means, but it is a great way to MOVE FORWARD. And I’m moving forward fast!

I have some exciting ideas as to how to present the finished work (format, paper etc) but first I will marry image to page and and image and pages to chapters and I am loving the creative process. Next up is ensuring all the permissions are in place for using primary sources, news articles, photographs and names within the work. And more photoshoots!



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

– The Vancouver Province April 15, 1953


Who killed the Babes in the Wood? Artist, art therapist and researcher, Katarina Thorsen, makes her case as to the resolution of this historical Vancouver mystery through crime scene reconstruction, forensic taphonomy, historical archives, genealogical records, behavior evidence analysis, circumstantial connections and artistic interpretation. Katarina first immersed herself in the investigation in 2003 when she volunteered as a criminal profiler and researcher with the Babes in the Wood Task Force. She has remained dedicated to the case ever since.

Using a combination of text, primary sources, illustrations and photographs, Katarina now presents her research journey, equivocal findings and creative process to the reader. The goal is to identify the children whose skeletal remains were found in Stanley Park on January 15, 1953. Through rich and insightful imagery, Regarding Molly reveals a portrait of a troubled young woman in post war Vancouver. The reader is encouraged to draw their own conclusion as to the identity of the Babes in the Wood, their mother and killer.

TEST nurturant

Following Katarina’s lead, readers will be inspired to search out their own stories using intensive genealogical research.



Artist/ art therapist Katarina Thorsen is passionate about the power of research and collaborative approaches to create solutions. She specializes in providing therapeutic art to at-risk youth and young offenders. Her own art work includes drawing, painting, crafting, journaling and street art and can be found in private international collections and on the streets of North America and Europe. She believes wholeheartedly in the healing power of art and its ability to build connections. Katarina resides in Vancouver, BC.

Photo by Nancy Kirkpatrick
Photo by Nancy Kirkpatrick
Jocelyn Louise as Molly. Styled by Jay Fisher.

MOLLY- the graphic novel