Dreamed 1984/2/11, 1995/8/26, and 2004/9/11 by Wayan
This is an art experiment proposed by a dream: draw comics where every other page isn't paper but a clear acetate sheet. Flip this clear page, and drawings on it can overlay the left page or the right--or be held up between so it affects neither. Each paper page thus has two forms, one with overlay, one without. The translucent drawings flip left-right, so they mustn't have text--it'd reverse. Images only!
In my dream, each left page was light so it showed the overlay strongly; I think this light page meant the waking world, the overlay a dream. The right page was black, for night, with notes on the meaning of the dream; but that blackground meant the overlay was nearly hidden; at first glance you could easily miss those figures. So they're a surprise when the reader flips the page and finds translucent dream creatures slipping into daylight, invading the waking world! (Here, onscreen, I made the overlaid images easier to see on the black "notes" pages than they are in hardcopy.)
I found the layout technically challenging, since each page must work two ways. Not quite as hard as Gustave Verbeck's century-old newspaper comic Little Lady Lovekins and Old Man Muffaroo (look that up. Unbelievable. Looks like a full-page comic that ends unresolved--but turn it upside down and the story finishes--same drawings, but your eye reinterprets them! Eric Shanower's done a fine six-page example of these palindromic comics as a tribute to Verbeck inside his "Befuddle Hall" sequence, itself a tribute to Little Nemo in Slumberland.)
Anyway, I found it hard, but not Verbeck hard. And the dream itself showed me two examples of overlays. It's a dream that wanted to be drawn--right.
POINT AT A PAGE to see the overlay (the title page lacks one, so don't be discouraged.)
CLICK A PAGE to enlarge it.
MOST PHONES will show just one page at a time, but...
WIDER SCREENS (1280+ pixels) will show you (after the title page) two pages side by side just like the printed comic.
NOTES IN THE MORNING
1: THE FEY PARADE
A dream (1995/8/26) I'd always wanted to draw but lacked the skill for--a half-visible parade of fairies out of Hieronymus Bosch. Though maybe (I learned as I wrote the facing black page exploring the dream's images) maybe not Bosch but Yeats plus Casper the Friendly Ghost.
I think this dream was about desire & orientation. Bad enough to be femme in a butch culture, worse to be a furvert, but when you're hot for the fey, when magic turns you on... what a recipe for frustration! "Champagne taste; beer budget"!
I don't think I'm the only one. A lot of fantasy fans want magic with a positively sexual hunger. I'm not condemning it. How can I? I'm it. And it seems as hardwired as any sexual orientation.
This dream (2004/9/11) prompted the creation of Overlay. I found myself looking out at Chicago in the snow, holding an art book of the same stark scene... tiIl I flipped its clear acetate overlay page, and translucent creatures filled the street! It was a clear prompt to try this technique.
It also was a witty image of how my dream world overlays the physical one. Kinda proves everyone from Freud to modern sleep researchers are wrong about the blindness of brain processes in sleep. Dreams have to be self-aware to comment on their own nature like this!
Note, too, how the centauress and the weird deer-gnomes seem to be biological overlays... though the gnomes are misaligned! Are my dreams suggesting that my dreaming & waking life are badly aligned like this? Each part considered alone looks okay (if potato-nosed gnomes ever look okay), but poorly connected or coordinated?
As I drew the overlays, I found the dream's alignment worries were realistic. Aligning layers was hard. Paper & plastic pages slid around, landing a bit misaligned... suffering back pains? One strength of the web is that things don't wobble. Either load or fail!
3: CANARY IN AMERICA
A non-dream overlay showing my private perceptual world. I have chemosensivities so severe they lock me out of much of mainstream America. And after decades of illness, sensations others barely notice blare warnings at me, for I NEED to notice subtleties. They can kill me.
A dream (1984/2/11) highlighted this issue too--it called my friends sewer rats, able to breathe, drink, and eat stuff I MUST NOT. In the face of pressure to loosen up, have fun, be friendly, fit in... and die.
But I've already told & drawn Ermine in full, so it's just summarized in a corner of the black page.
4: NO OVERLAY!
I close with a spread on the other issue making me fey.
ESP runs in my family. For me, it's intense enough sometimes to overwhelm the five common senses. I easily blur what I'm supposed to know and not know.
The vignettes with dogwalker, joyful bird and hidden faces are all real. No dreams, no overlay page, OK? Both waking and dreaming, I "see" like this constantly; it's my perceptual world.
Can't flip a page to make that go away!
I might as well join the friggin' Fey Parade.
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