Some MAJOR changes to this page. The last two panels have been flipped around to strengthen continuity – they could still work in the original order with the revised dialogue, but visually… this works better. Both halves facing away but turning towards, etceteras.

The other big change? Thad’s much more focused now – unlike the rest of this monologue.

The background for what’s now panel four has been completely replaced. While I’ve done some extensive photoshop work to make earlier pages suck less, and while I’ve drawn some completely new pages, replaced CG, etceteras… I think this is my first spot redraw of existing material. This happened for several reasons – the first is the stronger composition, mentioned above. The second is visual continuity – Val is unconscious now, and in transit from where she was dropped by the NBE to Psyobs for HRV scans and observation. While it makes (a kind of) sense for The Dualist to see the other half of itself in the mirror under certain circumstances*, pulling in the background doesn’t quite make as much sense – especially when that half is unconscious and can’t perceive it. It also makes the “seeing not yourself in the mirror” thing a little more obvious – previously, Thad could have been looking into Who Knows What. There’s also a hint of his reflection on the glass, which looks a bit creepy.

Third, the original artwork sucked tremendous balls and I would have replaced it anyway – even if doing so didn’t change the story. It was that bad.

There’s a lot of Badly Drawn Bits as the story goes on – through the first edition (and TV.1) I’ve commented a few times that I seem to get one drawing Good, some of them Okay, and at least one (frequently more) Bad. Part of it’s the pressure of trying to cram all of the linework – pencils, inks, scanning, cleanup and positioning – done in a few hours.** Part of it is volume – I’d say “you draw a lot and you’re going to get some duds” but the fact is, I don’t draw all that much*** and as such, I’m still working the kinks out. Eventually I’ll get to the top of the curve and my style will stabilize – until then, we all get to live with my Wildly Uneven linework and all of the revision, cleanup and redrawing that comes with it.

So while I redrew the panel for Very Good Reason, I’ve set a dangerous precedent and opened the floodgates – while this is the first Spot Redraw, it probably won’t be the last. I just hope I can restrain myself and save the redrawing for The Very Worst cases. Like I did this time out. I also hope that the next time I redraw something I won’t be trying to match against such badly drawn anatomy!

For the record: it feels GREAT to have drawn something ATC. The fact it’s such a massive improvement and actually looks good certainly helps. The endless photoshopping does tend to drag a bit, and drawing Val has whet my appetite for cover art. As of this writing (May 18, 2009) I have the backdrops for four of the eleven covers done.**** All of them need character art to proceed, and I’d like to have this first batch (covering chapters one through four) done before I start posting the pages of this chapter.

* This happens again in chapter two of Transitional Voices, which will be the first NEW ATC work I get on with after I finish the reformat of The Dualist and follow it up with the cleanup of TV.1 and maybe the continuation of DCR.2. So in terms of ATC Pages Drawn, what’s happening here will crop up again “soon.”

** It’s an established fact that when I break up the linework for a page into two or more days, I get better results. By the time I’ve gotten to drawing a page, however, I still have MANY hours of cleanup, coloring, shadow-matching, shading and finishing in front of me… and the time that takes will be about the same no matter how much time is spent pencilling and inking. Since that’s the one bit that can be “rushed” to some degree, it’s the bit that most often is. It’s also the bit people most often look at when they’re browsing the racks, making snap decisions about what they’re buying this week.

*** When an ATC scene has been scripted, laid out, modeled, rendered, and is Ready To Draw, then I’m drawing quite a bit. But that’s a period of a week or two every few weeks… when production is going full tilt, which is something it hasn’t done in almost a year. In the case of this reformatting, I’ll sometimes go weeks without drawing something. I won’t say I don’t mind it – it irritates me from the standpoint that my drawing skills atrophy rapidly when they aren’t being utilized, but it’s not like I’m sitting on my ass doing nothing during that time. I’m photoshopping my ass off. And if there’s one thing with which I’ve attained a fair degree of aptitude, it’s photoshop. I’d say I’d love to draw more, but the fact is that I just don’t feel the URGE very often. And when I do, it ain’t ATC I’m drawing!

**** Yes, eleven. One for The Book, one for Incursion, one for Expulsion, and one for each of the eight chapters of the story. Thirteen if you want to get really technical, since I intend to apply the new cover style to the existing bits (cover, chapter one) of Transitional Voices as well. Plus the site rewiring I need to do to get the covers functional from the synopses but out of the way of story flow.

Mastering notes, 2016.12.06 – Dialogue adjustments.


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