October 14th, 2013

...wait where are we.

Since this one's a bit weird visually, I thought it'd be neat to do another set of process shots for the vote incentive this time. c: Vote to see it!



Vote Incentive for This Comic.

Comment by RocjawCypher

I'ma take a guess, and say someone is doing some mind reading to find out what this guy's problem is.

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posted at 1:26pm on October 14th, 2013

Comment by Wabbajack

WOW I ADMIT I WAS NOT EXPECTING THIS.

It looks FANTASTIC. Kind of like an old and faded photograph. Double thumbs up for me. *runs off to look at the vote incentive*

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posted at 1:37pm on October 14th, 2013

Reply by Wabbajack

Some more little side notes.

Loved the vote incentive, and I have a new respect for you due to the fact that you have so many layers... I've never been able to do digital art for anything, not even just colouring. *facepalm*

Tareth in panel one... She's now Jonan's prince. Calling it! She's gone from a shy deaf girl to a superheroine deaf girl and hnnng I love Tareth.
/tl;dr

(Btw, I think you've successfully confused most RW readers with this page, because I'm certainly befuddled. Cookie for you!)

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posted at 1:57pm on October 14th, 2013

Reply by Shazzbaa

Ahhhh the description of "old faded photograph" is really cool, thank you!! *u*

I dunno, I don't think "lots of layers" translates to 1337 DIGITAL PAINTING SKILLZ, it's just one way to do it that works for me. xD Some people do their digital artwork all on one layer and that can be even more impressive! It's a medium, like any other -- it takes practice to get good at and there's a bunch of different ways to use it, but you don't necessarily HAVE to be good at it. You get good at whatever works best for you. :")

(NEVER FEAR, ALL WILL BE REVEALED IN TIME~~~)

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posted at 10:25pm on October 15th, 2013

Reply by Wabbajack

Haha you're welcome! XD

I suppose I didn't quite word it well enough, but what I meant was something more like "just having one layer is way complicated for my simple caveman brain so a ton of layers (like an "underpainting") makes you seem like a super genius. XD I'm quite easy to impress annnd I'm also quite stupid, to be brutally honest.

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posted at 1:34am on October 16th, 2013

Comment by Why?!?!

My guess: not only can Xira read people's in-the-moment thoughts, he also is able to read people's MEMORIES, which is what he's doing here. The office (library?) is merely how a mind is visually represented in this universe/for Xira. The books on the desk are the memories currently being used, and the open book ("Necromancer of Rusanne", if I'm seeing that correctly) is the memory that Mr. Scared Healer is actively focusing on. /shrug/ What this page seems like to me.

Also, I love the way this page is done! Like Wabbajack said, old photograph. Very nice.

And Xira is awesome. Awesome because of his abilities and also because of where he keeps his runes. It's so simple and easy to reach and yet how many people would think to look on the inside of his gauntlets?

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posted at 2:36pm on October 14th, 2013

Reply by Ely

I really like this theory! I hope that's what it is, it's really, really cool.

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posted at 5:42pm on October 14th, 2013

Reply by Shazzbaa

Ahhhh you are so cool!! I can always count on you guys to put lots of thought into this comic and it's just really awesome! I am loving the interpretations. *u*

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posted at 10:29pm on October 15th, 2013

Comment by Tehbeefer

At first I thought this was Xira's memory, but nope, just having a metaphorical snoop in someone else's head. I had to think about it though.

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posted at 4:00pm on October 14th, 2013

Comment by riverfox237

Holy COW this PAGE and this VOTE INCENTIVE! The page is brilliant; I LOVE the visual effect you achieved, it really fits with what's going on, and I think it's quite brilliant. Dude, so Xira can reach into the dude's mind and access entire BOOKS he's read? That is SO HANDY. (Either that or it's Why?!?!'s, which also makes a lot of sense. In fact, now that I look at the titles on the books, that IS what's going on, isn't it? Which is even MORE handy because you don't have to delve through the dude's entire memory. XD)

I didn't catch at first that he was touching his own arm and not the guy's, but that's because I rush out of interest. Pretty great that he's able to do that without the guy necessarily noticing. Xira would make a pretty boss detective Iamjustsayin'.

And the vote incentive is brilliant, because I have often wondered what goes into these amazingly-detailed comics people like you do. So your underpainting is shades of yellow? I've usually done that with grays, I never thought of this! Hope you don't mind if I borrow that sheet as a color ref so I can try it! And I never realized people use texture pallets to give the whole page texture. BRILLIANT! I feel so inspired right now. =D Thanks for that breakdown, Shazzbaa!

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posted at 5:21pm on October 14th, 2013

Reply by Shazzbaa

Gosh gosh gosh thank you so much!! I'm super happy with how it came out! *u*

And ahhhh I'm so glad the process shots gave you ideas!
For me, my underpainting is different colours depending on the lighting of the scene! :"D Some nighttime scenes have had shades of blue or purple, the scene of Sev landing at the beginning of the chapter had a mostly pink underpainting, whereas most of the scenes in dhemin have had yellow and orange to reflect the afternoon sun getting lower, and many of the Agorath Order scenes are weird colours like green or bright red to make the Order's lighting seem off.
Since I shade on top of the underpainting, I use the it primarily to set the colour of the lighting of the scene, to make all the colours fit together, rather than using that as the main source of rendering. :")

AND TEXTURES ARE SO GREAT. They feel like cheating!! I think you can't get carried away and abuse them but they make a great extra subtle touch, and for me it dilutes a little of the smoothness that digital colouring tends to have, which I like. :")

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posted at 10:37pm on October 15th, 2013

Reply by Riverfox237

HOw does it work exactly? I see that the underpainting and the shading are listed as two separate steps; could you tell me a little more about how you apply them differently? I'd sure appreciate the advice! ^^

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posted at 10:14am on October 18th, 2013

Reply by Shazzbaa

The thing is that colouring is very difficult for me, and I'm also very slow at choosing colours, so I have a lot of tricks in my process that speed that up for me! IT SEEMS LIKE A LOT OF EXTRA STEPS but ultimately it gives me a better page faster because the process of doing it right in one step would take me a lot of time. (There are definitely better ways to approach colouring if you want to get good at it.)

The first thing I do is a layer of flat colours, that is just straight up WHAT COLOUR THAT THING IS. The sky is blue, apples are red, grass is green. As I've referenced before, I use a specific set of swatches to colour my characters, which is actually not a great way to go because things usually are different colours under different lighting.
My way around this is what I refer to as my underpainting -- just the basic colour of the light and the atmosphere that I put on a layer underneath my layer of flat colours. I make the flats just a little bit transparent (like 75% or so) so that the underpainting shows through, and it makes all the flat colours less garish -- they're now affected by the lighting of the scene.
This isn't a great way to get contrast, though, so I have a shading layer on TOP of that. I fill that layer with white and shade with a colour that seems to make sense (in real life, shadows tend to be blue or purple under yellow light, but different lighting will change that), and set the whole layer as a "multiply" layer (which in effect blends with the underlying colour but makes it a darker).
If you'd like to actually watch me doing this, I have recorded part of the process and explain what I'm doing about 5 minutes or so in, but my livestreams tend to be, um, long, so I don't know if that's a desirable method. xD

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posted at 2:21pm on October 18th, 2013

Comment by Glew

Nice style.
I was thinking for a moment "Wait, he is speaking out loud his runeword right next to Tari. Wouldn't she hea... oh, right" Silly me.

First I thought Xira used his mind reading to get inside the Healer's office, using his visual memory of the place. But then again it would be strange for him to have a book on Jonan. Or not?
So I think he is just "simply" and quite literally (no pun intended, but I'm not gonna complain) reading his mind. And as for that, I think the appearence of it would depend on both the caster's imagination and the subject's way of thinking. So who knows, but I highly doubt reading Sev's mind would bring up an office, just saying 8)

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posted at 5:25pm on October 14th, 2013

Reply by Shazzbaa

Ahhh thanks Glew!

(Also I love when I'm drawing a page and going "ehehehehehe this works because she's not looking at him~" and then someone else goes through the exact same thought process while reading the page. xD )

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posted at 10:39pm on October 15th, 2013

Reply by Why?!?!

Ah, that's a good point, I don't think Sev's mind would look like this either! Maybe just a pile of books scattered about on the floor?

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posted at 1:02pm on October 16th, 2013

Reply by Glew

Come on, Sev can't even read. I highly doubt his memories would be books. I am imagining something along the lines of a wacky Alice in Wonderland thing, with octopus squirrels hopping about, dragons trying to talk to you in sign language and rosebuds singing the ABC song.

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posted at 2:39pm on October 16th, 2013

Reply by Wabbajack

When you think about it really hard, this actually makes perfect sense. Especially the rosebuds.

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posted at 7:03am on October 17th, 2013

Reply by Tehbeefer

Yeah, but this is Xira's interpretation, and he can read. I feel like maybe Severian's thoughts would be written in crayon on the side of a wall. Sev's not stupid though, so it wouldn't just be a few words like "ooh shiny things!"; no, it'd be like trying to read Mrs. Dalloway or something stream-of-conciousness on the side of a wall.

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posted at 2:28pm on October 17th, 2013

Reply by Why?!?!

I'm leaning towards Tehbeefer's theory. This is also how Xira sees minds, and that has to influence it somehow. I like the crayon on the wall idea for Sev.

All this makes me wonder what the other characters' minds would look like. Tareth's would be cozy private library with big squishy armchairs, I think. Jonan's would probably be similar to Mr. Healer's, but more. . . hazardous? Or maybe darker lighting?

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posted at 1:46am on October 18th, 2013

Reply by Glew

Yeah, I like the crayon idea too. Also the walls would split every know and then (with archways), reflecting how he is easily distracted. And there would be little doodles all around. 8D

Jonan and Tareth... hm, yeah they would be boring. But Master Agorath and Esra? Oooh, those should be fun.

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posted at 5:49pm on October 18th, 2013

Reply by Grumpy Old Snake

The crayon and arches idea is actually really fitting. Maybe, instead of books, packs of sticky notes or something? You know, a whole bunch of them stacked not-quite-evenly on top of each other for one set of memories? With random notes drawn off to the side of them graphic-organizer style? (I mean obviously they wouldn't be sticky notes but we have the photo-video memory things here though so...

Esra's would be painfully organized and neat... except that doesn't feel QUITE right. I don't know, but he doesn't seem serene enough for his thoughts to be as organized as he tries to make the world. Maybe rank and file neatness, but with stray, stubborn pages that stick out of books here and there to throw things off-kilter? Or a few shelves that have broken their moorings on one side and aren't even anymore?

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posted at 6:13pm on October 22nd, 2013

Comment by wandering-dreamer

Question time! How long does it take you to lay out those perspective maps in photoshop? They look rather useful but I've always wondered just how long they take to make, I guess you find them worth the time however regardless of how long they take.

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posted at 7:41pm on October 14th, 2013

Reply by Shazzbaa

Not too long, honestly! Maybe an hour at most? Depending on how many panels I do a grid for -- I don't do them unless there's enough perspective in the shot that I think it'll look off if I wing it, haha.

I reallllly need to sit down at some point and take the time to make a tutorial/guide for how I do those; it's not difficult at all, just a little tedious. But since I have a lot of scenes that take place with BUILDINGS for some reason they're reaaaaaallly helpful to keep stuff from looking weird or crooked, and much easier for me than breaking out the t-square. *u*

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posted at 10:43pm on October 15th, 2013

Comment by Dire

I also thought he was just infiltrating the hospital on my first pass of the page. I thought it was pretty swell Jonan already ranks his own book. Then I realized that yes...this probably is just how this individual's thoughts are laid out when Xira peeks in on them. Thought-provoking webcomics are the best webcomics :D

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posted at 11:10pm on October 14th, 2013

Reply by Shazzbaa

Eeeeeee I'm so glad you guys are enjoying it! I'm having a lot of fun with this bit. *u*

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posted at 10:44pm on October 15th, 2013

Comment by Wabbajack

Hmm... I'm going to go out on a limb here. I think Xira might be delving into hospital dude's mind and is actually seeing his office. I see medical books on that desk, as well as what looks slightly like a note-to-self on the edge. So far, seems like what any good doctor would have on his desk. But right in the centre is the Necromancer of Rusanne, opened like it was being read only moments ago.

I'm guessing this either means Xira's seeing what hospital dude was doing before they knocked, like looking at a recent memory. This is just my weak theory so far, since we've only seen one page of this, ehehe...

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posted at 5:24am on October 15th, 2013

Reply by Glew

This is what I was thinking, but then again, why would he have a whole book, on Jonan in hard cover and title it "The Necromancer of Rusanne". Who would write a book on him, while he was still alive, actually fairly young and apparently not the guy you want to cross - and I highly doubt that Jonan would appreciate any books being written on him.
On the other hand a more convincing argument is the other book "Medical Knowledge". Wouldn't that be the weirdest title? Why not just "Medicine" or "Medical Arts" if you really got the fancies? Knowledge is something you store in your head.
Just guessing though... We will have to wait. Hopefully the next page is not a cut away :D

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posted at 2:48pm on October 16th, 2013

Comment by PK

:D Xira's mindreading. Great depiction. And -- hmm. Going through what the hospital guy *personally* knows and is thinking about Jonan as a way to figure out how to argue?

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posted at 12:10pm on October 15th, 2013

Comment by frogsnack

Good mood effect on this one!

How long did this take to render? Do you time yourself?

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posted at 6:38pm on October 15th, 2013

Reply by Shazzbaa

Thanks! :"D And nooooo I don't usually time myself -- not like.... reliably, anyway, haha. I did most of the actual colouring on my train ride home, which was about 9 hours long, but I wasn't colouring the entire time so THAT'S NOT QUITE IT, but something close to that! Worth noting as far as "time spent on this page" that my first pass of the underpainting didn't come out like I wanted (it was originally brighter), so I ended up redoing it -- there was a lot of experimentation that went into trying to get this atmosphere to look right. :")

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posted at 10:47pm on October 15th, 2013

Comment by Artificer-Urza

I thought for a moment that he might be able to learn medical runes through his telepathy, but then I remembered he wouldn't be able to use them anyway. Right?

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posted at 8:35pm on October 15th, 2013

Reply by Shazzbaa

That's right!

Or else, I mean, Sev could've just grabbed some of Jonan's healing runes or something and we would be having way fewer problems than we're having. xD

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posted at 10:50pm on October 15th, 2013

Reply by Artificer-Urza

How long in real time does it take to go through a person's mind like that?

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posted at 2:14pm on October 19th, 2013

Comment by Shazzbaa

I'M REFRAINING FROM COMMENTING SPECIFICALLY ON THE WEIRD STUFF THAT'S GOING DOWN B/C IT'S ONLY BEEN ONE PAGE BUT YA'LL ARE SO COOL AND AT LEAST ONE PERSON IS TOTALLY CORRECT. <3

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posted at 10:40pm on October 15th, 2013

Reply by Wabbajack

I CAN HARDLY BREATHE IN WAIT FOR THE NEXT PAGE. (not literally, don't panic)

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posted at 1:39am on October 16th, 2013

Comment by Random Passerby

ALSO OF NOTE: HOSPITAL EMPLOYEES

WHY WOULD THERE BE A BOOK TITLED THAT

AND

ON JONAN'S BOOK, THE TINY WRITING SAYS "MEMORIES AND KNOWLEDGE"

MY CAPTCHA SAYS BYE DO I KNOW TOO MUCH NOW?!

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posted at 4:59pm on October 16th, 2013

Reply by Tehbeefer

Moreover, "Hospital Employees: Strengths and Weaknesses." Pretty clear this guy is considering replacing his staff with robots or something.

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posted at 2:18pm on October 17th, 2013

Reply by Tehbeefer

"or something."
....Maybe that's how he knows Jonan? Looking at his options? That'd, uh, make for some interesting d├ęcor in a hospital, to say the least.

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posted at 2:32pm on October 17th, 2013

Comment by Tama-chan

I would like to say somehing off topic! Sev is a dragon. In a church. With a ritualist.

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posted at 2:36am on October 17th, 2013

Comment by Kwaj

Why is no-one commenting on the humanoid shadows in what is apparently this man's mind?

Excellent visual metaphor; definitely would be interesting to see the "landscape" of various characters' minds! (maybe Jonan's got a graveyard, where he "raises" his memories & knowledge)

SHOW US THE BLUE BOOK, SHAZZ!

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posted at 11:07am on October 17th, 2013

Reply by Why?!?!

Further speculation time!

Ok, if the books/papers are memories, then the shadowy figures might be. . . emotions? Each figure is a different feeling? I'm thinking of an episode of the show Teen Titans (the older one, not the remake): Cyborg and Beast Boy accidentally get sucked into Raven's mind and all the different aspects of her personality (peppy, badass fighter, depressed, etc.)appear as Raven in different outfits.

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posted at 1:53am on October 18th, 2013

Reply by Glew

They could also simply represent memories of people...? Eeeh, but we have the Jonan book... Hmmm, maybe they represent his consciousness? And if they catch Xira, he will be thrown out of the memory? Wild guessing all around.

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posted at 5:52pm on October 18th, 2013

Reply by Shazzbaa

BWAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAMMMM

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posted at 9:58pm on October 18th, 2013

Reply by Glew

What was that for? :D

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posted at 9:35am on October 21st, 2013

Reply by Kwaj

Teen Titans didn't invent it; I've always loved that idea :)

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posted at 8:12pm on October 29th, 2013

Comment by Brad

Doesn't that guy know it's not polite to read over someone's shoulder! >:-(

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posted at 3:10pm on October 19th, 2013

Comment by Debow

I love the comic but when will it update? It's on my list of amazing but I'm impatient!

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posted at 12:00pm on October 21st, 2013

Reply by Shazzbaa

The official answer is Sometime On Monday!

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posted at 5:39pm on October 21st, 2013

Comment by SotiCoto

Why is everyone else interpreting this as him reading through a guy's memories or literally rifling through his thoughts?

I figured he just did the Professor Xavier / Rolo Lamperouge / Dominique the Cyclops thing and just "paused" the minds of everyone in the area, putting them into temporary suspended animation... allowing him to snoop around actual books in the actual room beyond.

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posted at 10:12am on March 9th, 2016




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