1283 Machinations.

I’ve never found a way to draw perspective correctly on my draw screen. I’ve tried a lot of ways, but they always end up looking terrible… Which is saying something in light of what I try to pass off as backgrounds. I started taking photos inside of stores in an effort to learn how to find a workable solution. The results so far have not met my desires. One of these days I’ll stumble across something I suppose. For the moment I’ll just have to keep living with my vexation…

This stuff with Reggie illustrates perhaps a darker side of Thomas’s personality. At least a person could see it that way. He openly enjoys the manipulation of others. His goals are typically altruistic, but few people like being manipulated, even if it’s for their own good. Plus, who is he to decide what is, or isn’t, right for someone else? In the end that’s something that gets asked of all leaders. In my opinion people, on the whole, need to be led. The problem has always been that if they realize what’s going on they resist, even if it’s for the best, just because that’s how people are. On some level we never really get past that moment when we’re a baby screaming “I WANNA DO IT MYSELF!” at out caregiver. Some people can lead through force of will, or charisma, and Thomas could probably do both, but we’ve seen time and again that he prefers the path of least resistance. What he perceives at that path anyway. Now, operation Reggie is going in to effect. An operation that could very well end in disaster.


Your backgrounds have improved incredibly since the first comics… I’d say you have a right to be proud of your efforts.

After all, when I made a stab at a webcomic, I had to draw the panels by hand and scan them. I still can’t draw on the computer to save my life, and my basic coloring takes hours even tho I like the results, generally

As to backgrounds, I recommend Fred Gallagher’s Megatokyo as a model. Fred was trained as an architect, and it shows. His interiors and exteriors are meticulous. Hellishly complex for a comic, some of them. His main characters live and work in a small shop, and he’s solved a lot of the problems you’re coping with.

One thing I, a non-artist, think I’m seeing: your shelves and ceiling tiles seem not to converge on the same vanishing point. The tiles go to a point just off his elbow; the shelves to his shoulder. (There is a multipoint VP technique, with points at the edge of the page, one top, one left, one right, maybe one down if the viewpoint is suspended in space; but they should not be at different points towards the center.)

As to Thomas, he’s one those thingies, whatchacallums, “leaders”. Of course he manipulates people. He gets people to do things because they want to do them. This, in someone like Thomas, who wants the best for his people that he can manage with the available assets and resources, is A Goodness Thing.

What, you want him to glower and yell and browbeat? To fire those who dare to question?

You want him to just kinda maybe? Guess? What people might like to do today? Offer ribbons to folks who just happen to stumble on what he happened to want that day? Or hold endless meetings to try to get everyone’s input? Hide behind memos and procedures?

Get away from me with that crap.

The people around him, in essence, trust him. They especially trust him to know, better than they themselves do, up to a point, what they want.

He ever loses track of that, and folks will drift away. But until then, they’ll follow wherever he leads.

As always it’s the man and not the steel that makes the thrust good or evil.

I’m sorry but.. megatokyo lost it’s touch gears ago. Ever since his partner left the comic has become less and less funny and more and more time passes between updates. The genius that made the comic good in the first place was utterly destroyed when “largo” left, and now it’s a sad shell of what it once was.

Luckily “largo” didn’t have anything to do with the technical skill the artist has with drawing backgrounds so 50srefugee’s point still stands. :) (also since he is talking about using it as an example of drawing even if the artist suddenly became a drunken pen master the old archives could still be used as such)

Yes he does nice thing and asks for favors in return, but he then uses these favors to make people do nice things for himself and others which they should be doing anyway.
That’s basically how morality and social interactions are supposed to work. Good on ya.

First, I have nary an artistic bone in my body, but I can make machines do what I want. I can draw stick figures, sort of. My daughter is good enough she gets accused of tracing when she draws freehand.

That said, and before I say anything else… I love your comic, it was the second I ever started reading, after questionablecontent. Your artistry has, and continues to, improve over this strips lifespan. I know I could not do it. Period.

Since you mentioned difficulty with perspective, I will point out that today’s strip obviously shows that. The ceiling looks like it actually slopes down at a horrible angle. I know you know that, because you pointed it out. It is kind of distracting, but earthshattering? nope. I’ll still love your strip.

Oh, and your stories brighten my day, as would anyone whose family life is more difficult than my own… :D

Hopefully the Teen has made a friend or two and hasn’t been too crapped on by the cliquish types. High school… like the Middle Ages, one only misses them yearningly AFTER they’ve happened, conveniently blocking out all the reality.

While I am personally not an artist, I do understand some mechanics behind it, especially things that have to do with spatial effects.

The easiest way to show perspective and depth is to place a point somewhere in the center of the image, and have any line that is parallel to the depth axis converge on that point. That means that, in this comic, you’d have a single point with a bunch of lines coming off of it leading to the columns of ceiling tiles, the boxes, and the shelves.

Thomas, always the Magnificent Bastard. The boy does play to type: domination by manipulation. Get over it, Reggie: it’s Mr. Blackwell’s world; you just live in it.

When I used to fool around drawing a comic — yeah, it was about Security Guards; I did it in the late 1970s and early ’80s — I brought in my old Kodak Pony 135 camera and took some photos around the plant at which I was working. The Pony had a 51mm lens, which rendered perspective more or less as the Human eye sees it. It helped a little with backgrounds, but I eventually realized that I’d never make my living as an artist.

I suspect you’re using a cell phone camera. Most (not all) cell phones and many Point ‘n’ Shoot cameras default to a wide angle. Some zoom into the telephoto range, but it’s hard to tell when you hit that sweet spot that mimics your own peepers. A digital Single Lens Reflex with a ‘standard’ primary lens would solve the problem, but price, practicality and portability become issues…

I’ve found that, as someone who directly manipulates people, I’ve gotten a fair amount of respect from people over the years for being both delicate and transparent in my actions (typically after the fact). I’m proud to say I’ve never had anyone complain about my manipulations, except for one particularly botched job that came down to nothing but luck (it came out fantastic, but I didn’t have all the information I should’ve going in… and this was when I was maybe eleven, and they’re still married, so I figure I shouldn’t worry about it).

Generally, Thomas seems to benefit himself by benefiting others, which is not just acceptable, it’s desired. He’s not altruistic, per se, but everyone on the cast can point at him and say “He’s done good in my life, typically by socially-nonstandard means”.

I think the bulk of it is that society is afraid of it’s own functions. I could name a dozen people who, if they’d just fucking *ask for help* when they’re unsure of things, they’d be amazingly successful individuals. I think they all fall so low on the Dunning-Kruger scale that it’d be hard for them to know when that is, but the point stands.

Okay, now it DEFINITELY sounds like Thomas is hitting on Reggie…

I think the last few scenes of homoerotic innuendo has broken my brain.

An interesting comment on leadership. I think one big confounding factor is that many would-be ‘leaders’ do not in fact want to lead. They want to direct, or drive. People are instinctively aware of this, and rightly mistrustful of a putative leader’s motives.

And even when a leader has the right motives, having too much power in one person’s hands means that person only has to make a very few mistakes or bad decisions to bring a whole lot of other people down. This is also something most people are aware of on some level.

And then there’s the whole issue of leaders who have been appointed without demonstrating their ability to those appointed to be led, and without winning their respect, trust or confidence. Who appointed the leader? Did they get it right?

Resistance of leadership isn’t just instinctive bloody-mindedness – it’s also an awareness of just how few ‘leaders’ are actually capable of leading at all, let alone well. Not that there’s any perfect solution. Those who need to be led aren’t necessarily any good at choosing who leads them either ;)

Leadership is an interesting dynamic, and the management “literature” is filled with books on the topic–plenty of them not worth reading. Another example of leading for the wrong reasons is that when the goal is to be important, and number of underlings equals importance, some will do everything in their power to up the muppet count. People don’t particularly respond well to being treated like muppets. Note that there’s nothing wrong with ambition, but too much of it, and say entirely focused on oneself and to the apparently necessary detriment of everyone else including, perhaps especially underlings, nobody likes people like that.

I don’t think appointing is a particular problem, since leaders will have to prove themselves to their charges anyhow. As in, if it becomes an obstacle instead of a gripe, then the leader (or if new, a previous one) has already failed the leadership test. Or there’s company politics going on, itself a sure sign of failing leadership higher up, since the warring factions aren’t working together for the greater good of the company. That isn’t to say that you can always just shove in somebody and it’ll work out fine, I think we all know it doesn’t work that way.

There’s a view that there’s really only one thing that matters as the essence of leadership, and that’s integrity. You know, the people you’re leading depend on you, so be dependable to them. Just like how the company is depending on you to make your charges work together and produce more than the sum of the parts. How you fill in the details is another story altogether, but that’s the basic thing.

honestly, I kinda feel the same way Thomas does: maybe it’s the psychology degree, maybe it’s the twenty-odd years of learning how to argue and bullshit, but there’s something incredibly satisfying about being able to manipulate people like that- and something kinda terrifying about knowing you have that power…

(Disclaimer: I too have sworn to use these powers only for good)

Hi, I’m an animation student and layouts are one of my favorite things to draw, mainly because I find he process so structured. Your layouts have gotten so much better since you started the comic, and I think the ones you do fit the stile of comic you do. It’s always a great idea to try to better ones self though, so here’s so tips. You can ignore my advice if you want, but this is how I go about it:

Firstly think outside the box. By that I mean, don’t just draw a layout for the size of the panel your planing on using. Draw most of the room and then crop it down to size. It really helps with the perspective.

Reference is great. Don’t knock it because you’ll notice things that exists that you wouldn’t have thought of or have forgotten about since the last time you stared at a groshery store. So, good going with that.

Now for the acctual step by step for two point perspective. Start with an eye/horizon line. This is the point where if you where to actually be there, you eyesite would be level with the ground (the pictures will help with this too). This horizontal line is usually about two thirds from the base or top of your canvas. Next pick two vanishing points; two points on the eye line one on the left and one on the right. The further they are from each other the more natural the room will look.

Now you can start drawing the bare bones of the room. Figure out how far away you want the back wall to be, by drawing a vertical line from ceiling to floor (this line will become a corner of the room). Then create the walls, by drawing two lines from the each vanishing point to the edge of the page, that intersect the top and bottom points of the vertical line you just drew. Now erase the parts of those lines from the vanishing point too the intersecting vertical line points. Sorry that’s a little confusing. But it should now look something like this (this is not my drawing): http://studypedia.files.wordpress.com/2011/04/two_point_perspective_room.png

As long as you stick to your vanishing points for all of your objects in the background as well, everything should be in perspective.

Here’s a reference for one point perspective too: http://i.ytimg.com/vi/SgP9QsOBoqk/maxresdefault.jpg

Basically the same thing, only with one vanishing point, the back wall is a strait on rectangle, and the floor and ceiling lines that make up the other walls all go the same singular vanishing point.

Btw I love your comic, the character development is amazing. Keep doing awesome work.

Hey, thanks for the links. I appreciate the help, and I’m glad to know you enjoy my work. I may start screaming your name the next time I need help though, so be prepared for that. XD

I find perspective is much easier if I rough out the shapes in POV-Ray. Inverse box{}, bunch of box{}es inside, some cylinder{}s as lines, and you’ve got points you can hit when drawing. It didn’t take long before I could just visualize the perspectived shapes for simple scenes.

However, I’m a programmer, so maybe it just fits my mindset better.

Yeah, I think I heard Dan Shive of El Goonish Shive mention once that he mocked up one of the character’s basements in some 3D program because he got tired of battling layout.

Maybe since they spend so much time in the store, you could maybe plot things out on graph paper?

However I’m a coder too, so that’s just what I’d do. Hell, my artistic talent is so nil, I look up to Randal Munroe of XKCD for his realistic figures. They look like greek sculpture next to my sketchings.

Step 1: Trick Reggie into playing nice with others for his own sinister gains
Step 2: Reggie enjoys having friends and is less of a twat overall
Step 3: Get free soda from Mike because he’s weak and for a job well done
Step 5: Profit

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