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A* Episode 22 
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Joined: Fri Mar 13, 2009 4:18 pm
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Discussion thread for the imminent episode 22!


Thu May 22, 2014 8:46 pm
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Added 2 new A* pages:
Here's another sketch sent to a reader earlier this month as a reward for their very generous support last month of A* through Patreon : D :

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: o

~~~~~

And we're off on a brand new episode! What adventures lie in store?? It sure doesn't seem to be starting off very romantically... >_>


Thu May 22, 2014 10:55 pm
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Back to computer tree world?


Fri May 23, 2014 7:49 am
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sunphoenix wrote:
Back to computer tree world?


: o Nooo just me muddling up a background : oo


Fri May 23, 2014 4:37 pm
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Added 1 new A* page:
Here's another sketch recently sent to a reader as the reward for their support of A* through Patreon last month (aside from helping me pay some bills while working on A*, supporting the comic through Patreon at the $10 level and up is, in effect, a way to take out a subscription for me to draw and mail you a new original illustration of your very own each month! : o):

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Thanks to everyone for the support!!

~~~~

When you are checking the tracking information for an item you are really kind of hoping will arrive today, what you do not want to see is the last status update being from 2:00 am, somewhere in the mountains of Montana, saying delivery is delayed indefinitely due to "train derailment." : o

Man, trains!


Fri May 23, 2014 4:47 pm
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Hah I bet I know why it sounded neat, same reason why I already had a character named Mar, as in Solvan Mar. Jeez, could I come up with names any more similar/confusing. And this Margrave guy's greeter dude looks probably way too similar to Niels from episode 8. : P And anyway didn't Mar already have someone who was too close of a sound-alike? Huh now I can't even remember. : P Oh well, having a bad memory makes it way easier to come up with names, I guess! >_>


Fri May 23, 2014 10:52 pm
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There's a sort of documentary--maybe more of a eulogy--of Bill Watterson's newspaper comic strip of days gone by, "Calvin and Hobbes," on Netflix Streaming: Dear Mr. Watterson doesn't start well, with little clips of actors you don't really care about talking about why they simply adore Watterson's strip, and the reclusive Watterson himself is of course nowhere to be found anywhere in the thing, and I don't think there's much in the way of actual factual info you can't find in much more concise form elsewhere, but there were a few things I'm glad I skimmed through to find:

  • You get to see lots of newspaper comic strip artists whose work you may be familiar with, sitting in their home studios and talking (about how amazing Calvin and Hobbes is, of course...over and over). It's kind of neat to see they're actually people! Also I think maybe around the half hour mark--uh but don't quote me on that--there's a pretty long segment where you see a bunch of them working away at their comics (with their own voiceovers talking about how amazing Calvin and Hobbes is, again...), and I don't know about you, but I'm always curious to see what tools other artists use, how they use them, how they have their drawing table and workspace set up, etc.

  • About 38 minutes in, you get to see some of Winsor McCay's actual original art for his strip, Little Nemo, and just how beautiful and **gigantic** and black and white his artwork really was. (Later they tease you with showing a guy looking at some of Watterson's original art, but they don't actually quite pan the camera around so you can see it yourself. >_<)

  • One of the artists who does a lot of the talking is Berkeley Breathed, of Bloom County, etc fame. He's something of a character himself and always has something interesting to say (in this case, mostly about how amazing Watterson and Calvin and Hobbes are, but still, he at least puts it in interesting ways).


Mon May 26, 2014 11:00 pm
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Here's another sketch recently sent as a reward to a reader who supported A* through Patreon for the month of April : )):

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I appreciate the support and I hope everyone is enjoying the sketches! I sure am : D This one was handy for letting me get in a bit of costume design.


Tue May 27, 2014 8:55 pm
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Experimented with a couple things when making today's page. First was going lighter on the watercolors, to let the pencils stand out a bit more; I've been meaning to do that for a while and generally not getting to it, but I was spurred on by thinking that the way I'd painted yesterday's page, with some pretty bold dark strokes on Selenis' cloak and so forth, left it a little too difficult to take in; on the other hand, I really like how the background to her left and right, yesterday, came out, and all in all the high contrast on her face and cloak kind of works itself out if you take in the thing as whole rather than scrutinizing just her face so much...maybe? Today's lighter, (kinda more Moebius-like?) coloring does have its up sides... I guess the trick is knowing when and where to go more one way or the other, hmph!

Second thing was jiggling the colors around a little with a "Selective Color" adjustment layer in Photoshop, which isn't one of the adjustment layer types I've really messed with before--but it let me take some magenta out of the blues and neutrals, and desaturate the blues by adding a little black (and lighten the red in the doorway by subtracting black), all to give the colors a slightly tinted/faded look (I also used a Hue/Saturation layer with a gradient to add the reddish highlight at the bottom of the doorway) that maybe conjures up some vintage-y atmosphere--kind of like how photographs would fade and yellow/green a bit under sunlight, maybe? I dunno : p--smoothes out some of the watercolor blends, and lets the pencil linework come forward a little more. Not sure how much of that sort of thing I want to be doing--partly it was necessitated due to painting clumsily with the blues and too dark with the reds--but um there is a certain look in there somewhere, perhaps.


Thu May 29, 2014 2:27 am
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Hm! Hey maybe this going lighter on the watercolors thing is getting me somewhere after all--light washes, man, light washes. Then you just lower the gamma a tad in Photoshop (to 0.34 in this case--although if yesterday's is any indication then tomorrow I will come back and re-adjust that about four times : PPP, eventually ending up back where I started... (UPDATE: Yep, decided it was too murky--gotta get over trying to make watercolors oil-paint-dark :p--and went with lighter 39/0.5 setting)), and voila! Swirly dark colors for the webcomic, but the pencil lines haven't been lost. A reader pointed out that I could use ink but in the tests I've done with ink, it is so much darker than even the darkest watercolors that it just kills the sort of light field they generate, and everything just turns into fill-in-the-lines--whereas the pencil (this is a Japanese 4B) occupies just about the same tonal range as the watercolors, and also reacts to their washes and to the texture of the paper in ways similar to the paint.

Another thing I did that has seemed to help me before is painting the big dark thing first--the cloak, in this case (it was the dress in 21:19 and the burglar's shaded side in 21:55). That seems to sort of anchor the colors of the scene in my head--and also on the palette--and then you can go lighter from there by just adding water, basically. And in this case I next did the lightest non-white things--the red lights--so I had that other bookend reference set, too, and between the two I could just have fun with mixing and sloshing things around to fill in the rest. More or less.

I guess we'll see if this falls apart with the next change in lighting, as is usually the case. ; )

And since I'm going relatively light on the colors this isn't all the revealing, but in case you were for some reason wondering what the pencils looked like before the paint got on them, here's a photo I posted earlier in the day (to my Instagram, which cross-posts it to my tumblr and my Twitter) (it was a while back because I spent hours agonizing over gamma--like, my monitor *seems* to be calibrated to gamma 2.2 according to the all the little visual tests I know of, so why do my images look darker on all my mobile devices? Are those calibrated to a different gamma scheme? ... Hm, according to the gamma test in this app, not really... And I don't think the Photoscientia banding tests I just linked work correctly on them, because they test as very low gamma numbers (like 1.4) which would mean they were very *bright*. Harumph. So did Google disable the gamma adjustment capability from Android OS versions 4.2.2 and up (as one gamma app developer claims) to hide a devious gamma plot??!? (Speaking of gamma and Android apps, searching revealed an app that claims to be able to detect gamma radiation using your mobile device's camera (the comments are interesting : P)):

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Fri May 30, 2014 5:09 am
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