I love the feel of triple-strip pages. And I love the fact that this page eerily mirrors recent work events, despite the script being completely finalized and laid out well before the reality lined up with the fiction.

Strip 192 – The second copy/paste/shoop-a-new-expression for Yang in two three pages. Get used to it, I plan to do it a few more times before the scene is done. It makes things consistent (a knack I’ve yet to pick up when it comes to pencilling), and it saves a shitload of rendering and photoshop time.

If your boss told you he’d just bet the farm on a whim, you’d probably be sporting a similar expression.

Strip 193 – I’d originally planned to draw Lang in this shot. However, when the initial composition turned out to be a sci-fi Magritte, I ran with it.

Strip 194 – The accidental awesome of Lang’s previous occlusion became deliberate here – in the layouts he’s clearly visible, but after a bit of jostling, well… the next page actually winds up working a lot better than it would have otherwise. Huzzah.

I’m starting to get the basic lighting down – the rest of the scene should be more straight-forward and less exploratory, and hopefully higher quality in the line department. The next page is four strips, twelve illustrations – I’ll have to fight the temptation to work it at the same pace as the past bunch of strips, take it slow, do it right, etc. As one of the more important pages of the scene, it needs to look awesome.

On a full readthrough, you won’t be spending much time on this one and shouldn’t have spent much time on the previous two – I think I’ve written about this elsewhere in the ATC metadata, but fuck if I can remember where. To reiterate an old thought – it’s hard to justify spending umpty hours on art cleanup and making everything Just Right when 98% of readers just blast through the work at a jog or a sprint. That used to be a huge hangup for me.* These days it’s less of one – I’m working through it. Some of that’s due to cheating – when you draw larger, flaws aren’t as glaring when the art is scaled to the page. Some of it’s due to actual improvement, and the rest is due to simply (mostly) working through the hangup. While I do care what the book looks like, I know that the only way I’m going to continue to improve is through volume. High volume.

It’s time to PUMP UP THE VOLUME!!!1.

Also, I need to be realistic about DCR – it started off as Not Giving A Shit, progressed to Giving A Shit, and has entered “Wow, vector shading fit better with scanline than it does with mental ray!” territory. Fortunately – much like The Dualist – the steady improvement in quality works with the story.

* The other 2% used to be an even bigger hangup. Then I came to realize that I preferred Readers to Art Critics. I do, after all, consider myself to be a Writer who happens be drawing his own script, as opposed to an artist who’s thought of something cool to draw. No offense to other artists and writers – I consider the writing to be the easy part, the art to be the hard part, and would love to stumble into an opportunity to get a lot more practice with one or the other. Preferably both. I doubt I could write for anyone else, though – the script for this thing is a crazy mix of dialogue, layouts, emoticons, doodles, sketches, outlines, etc, etc. Works well for homebrew, would doubtless be hell for an artist to interpret.

Mastering notes, 2016.12.07 – Yang’s prosthetics are now VA-approved instead of VA-compatible.


  • Brandon James founded Heirotus in order to put his doctorate-equivalents in Xenoarcheology and Anthropology to use without academic interference. After a crucial (and highly classified) discovery by Heirotus contractor Judas Lang, James branched the...

  • A renowned psychometrist with years of experience working for the court system, Judas Lang was been contracted by Heirotus founder Brandon James to perform a “read” of the stellar artifact known as MBO-2. Some...

  • The king of social engineering, the crown prince of noise, and a self-described “Post-American Electro-Snob.” Jason has a deep interest in industrial, electronic, ambient, metal and gothic music, and a well-researched interest in radio...

  • An Army special forces verteran, Yang served as the Chief of Heirotus Corporate Security from shortly before the time of the first MBO-1 Encounter until his near-death in January, 1968. Some time after that...