Today’s cameo: Sofia S.!

And what else is there to say about this page?

I confess this one was a turn-on. But that’s not typical of sexy pictures. Over the years I occasionally hear someone (a guy usually) say I am so lucky I can draw naked girls whenever I want. The funny thing is, drawing naked people is (mostly) not a very erotic experience. It’s often technical, anatomical, sometimes tinged with aesthetic pleasure. I find the act of drawing tends to mildly anesthetize me below the belt. Any of you artists find that to be the case? Anyway, not so with this page! Enough said on that.

The dresses and fabrics were drawn from many sources, some of which I can’t trace anymore. But the bow in panel two I came across and couldn’t help but steal from the great Madame Guillotine (aka novelist Melanie Clegg)—it’s from the Victoria & Albert Museum collection.

And panel seven is my little Tissot moment. It’s from a painting that has always held a curious fascination for me. You know how sometimes you misinterpret a song’s lyrics, and when you finally discover the real words, you wish you could just stay with your own version? This painting is a bit like that for me. Before I’d ever heard the word steampunk, this Tissot painting fired my imagination with ideas of extravagant parties aboard zeppelins (doesn’t it just feel like it’s impossibly high?) and beautiful women in a Jules Verne story of some kind. Well here it is, not in a hot air balloon since our story is waterborne, but on the Lorelei, in one of its lavish and romantic party nights.

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