An Oklahoma City writer and Tahlequah artist are teaming up for a new comic-book series that features a girl whose drawings of her dreams come to life. The first issue is in the middle of its Kickstarter drive for funds.
“Illustrated Girl” is based on the likeness of Oklahoma City photographer Sandra Pagan. Writer Jackson Compton and artist Natasha Alterici are the creative team for the comic book.
“Sandra brings the likeness for the character as well as a fan base for her photography. She also has a big hand in marketing our project,” Compton said in an email interview.
While Compton had discussed the idea of basing a comic on Pagan with her, nothing had really taken shape until Compton had a dream one night.
“I had this dream of a little girl plagued by these nightmares, and the imagery from the dreams overlaid on her skin before it faded away,” Compton said. “On a whim, she traces one of these images with a marker, and with a little concentration, she brings the drawing into existence. And so the story for ‘Illustrated Girl’ was born.”
Compton teamed with Alterici to develop the characters and landscapes of the story.
“I’m blown away by how she can pull images from my head and turn them into unbelievable artwork,” Compton said.
Alterici described Compton, who wrote the “Nadir’s Zenith” comic book drawn by Oklahoma City artist Jerry Bennett, as “a gigantic nerd monster, with crazy story ideas.”
“Jackson’s script balances quiet reflective moments against intense surreal action scenes,” Alterici said.
“Reading the script, from the first page you find it incredibly seductive, it pulls you right in and holds you there. I had to really push myself to bring these dream sequences to life, researching and building up my visual library to find the right look for the story.”
Alterici took inspiration from Asian art when developing the visual language for the story.
“Things that really inspired me were Japanese watercolors and wood block prints; Asian folk art of demons and monsters,” Alterici said. “From there I began sketching characters and developing a visual philosophy, which included a color palette that dictates that the dream worlds would almost always be more bright and colorful than the waking world.”
Meanwhile, the inspiration is thrilled to be along for the ride.
“I am honored that my likeness is used for ‘The Illustrated Girl,’” Pagan said. “I feel at this point that the project has gone beyond that. ... Jackson’s storyline gives me chills, and Natasha’s artwork makes possible what I once could never imagine was possible in comicbook art. I am very happy to be a part of this journey.”
Find out more about “Illustrated Girl” at the Kickstarter link.