Volume 2 Page 44
Posted August 4, 2016 at 12:01 am

Panel 1: As I’ve said before, I have serious difficulty when attempting to draw Emp—or any other wide-hipped character—lying on her side, as the correct orientation of her hips and thighs in relation to her upper torso seems to perpetually escape me. Note that, scheming artistic layabout that I so often am, I blatantly disguised this recurring problem by adding those crumpled, wadded-up bedsheets at lower right, which helpfully camouflage the flawed positioning of her upper body. 

Must say that I’m mildly surprised that I didn’t draw Emp wearing shiny black underpants like those seen in panel 1 more often, given that my pencil-rendering scheme works much, much better with dark values than light ones. That’s one reason that I often—and, nowadays, almost exclusively—show Emp wearing her supersuit in bed, as the hypermembrane’s stark shadows and highlights allow for the high-contrast values that my chalky, charcoal-like 6B(!) pencils excel in depicting. Yeahp, shockingly enough, Emp’s suit works better for my art technique than white underpants or outright nudity, both of which allow for only light, delicate—and, to me, anemic—gray-tone shading with an HB pencil lead. Not having the “mad pencil skillz, yo” of a genuine artiste like Blade of the Immortal’s Hiroaki Samura, I’m forced to rely on the cruder, higher-contrast rendering schemes that my meager expertise can handle.

Panel 3: Behold, one of my favorite—if arguably quite “hacky”—comic-art visual tropes, the open, diagonal lines across the mirror that helpfully indicate that we’re looking at a glassy surface. This stylized riff is a form of cartoony shorthand that represents either A) lazy thinking on my part or, more charitably, B) being excessively concerned about absolute clarity, in the fear that, otherwise, the reader might not realize Emp was looking at her own reflection. 

With panel 4, perhaps I should hasten to add the seemingly obvious disclaimer that the views expressed by the characters I write are not necessarily shared by the author. Then again, this assumption is not always shared by many, as I’m often a bit mystified when critics jump on characters’ dialogue as if they’re reading essays or manifestoes and not, y’know, works of  fiction crafted by writers who are—in theory, at least—attempting to depict a varied range of characters. Then again, I’m even more mystified when, under online fire, writers leap to defend the utterances of their characters, with the clear implication that they are indeed nothing but “sock puppets” unfailingly parroting the author’s views. As far as I’m concerned, if all the characters you write represent solely your own point of view, then you’re a crappy excuse for a writer.

-Adam Warren

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