This page is exists almost entirely due to the fact that when I’m descending in an airplane, I have enormous trouble telling where I am. Mind you this is on the return trip – when I’m coming home to the city I’ve lived in for ~20 years. Obviously I know I’m near and/or heading toward the airport, and sometime I can pick out a massive landmark like a huge mall, but if I’m high enough and can’t read the store names, I’m not positive which mall it is. Also, you’d think one of those big mix masters on the highway would clue you in to which road you’re above, but a sufficiently large city has one every 5-10 miles, so you can guess but you still might be off by quite a bit.

This is mostly my own fault. I mean besides the fact that everything looks different from above when you’re used to seeing it from 6 feet off the ground, but for all the time I’ve spent living in Dallas, I really don’t know it very well. 90% of my haunts are probably within 10 miles of where I live. Once every 3-4 months I’ll wander down into Dallas proper for one reason or another but considering the size of the DFW metroplex I really don’t go exploring a lot. That’s why when I spot a mall from the air “near the airport” I still rarely have any idea where I really am. Sydney’s probably the same way, most of her regular destinations are ~10 miles from where she lives, with the odd trip out further to the specialty game store or a small comic convention in a satellite city. If she wanders too far off her beaten path without a working GPS she can get lost real quick.

That top panel took like six hours. :…..( While I have a functional understanding of perspective, a city scape like that is more or less beyond me, at least making it look convincing. So my solution was to take several photos and stitch them together, then use that as a base to paint from. That’s harder to do than it sounds cause finding aerial photos taken at roughly the same altitude can be tedious, plus most of the pictures I found were either taken smack in the middle of the downtown area, were suburbs with nothing but residential housing, or they were countryside and farmland. Maybe I’m bad at Google but industrial urban sprawl aerial shots all in the right perspective were few and far between. Once I have the reference pictures melded together I wind up fudging a lot of details anyway, but it’s useful to have the base to work from. I do that partially cause I don’t want to just plop a photo in there, even with attribution and permission I’d still want to paint over it, and partially because I want to be vague about what city they’re based in, at least until I decide it’s relevant to the story to establish it. The point is the characters may fly over this exact spot a lot. :)

It occurs to me that I didn’t draw Sydney with a purse. I gave her a little blue one in some of the early pages when she was at the bank but then I completely forgot about it for the next 250 pages. Even though she doesn’t carry cosmetics around with her, it seems unlikely she’d be able to get by with just a phone and wallet in one pocket and keys in the other. (And The List in her back pocket) Yes, if she was only running to a grocery store and back maybe, but she’s leaving her apartment for the day. Very few women are so minimalist. I don’t blame them. If I could carry around a purse like thing that was acceptable for a man, I would fill it with all kinds of garbage. The perfect example is a shoulder bag I bought for carrying stuff around conventions. It’s exactly the right height and width to fit an iPad, but obviously it’s deeper than that with three separate zippable compartments. Now it has, in addition to a small sketchpad, some pencils, a phone charger with 4 separate USB outlets on it and the appropriate cables attached, and a small stack of the postcards I use to pimp the comic (perfect for a convention naturally), it has every adapter known to mankind so I can hook the iPad up to any video display, with the possible exception of UHF. The bag is now weighs 18 pounds. Oh, also one of those very small screwdrivers with all the interchangeable heads stored in the handle. Because I’m a guy.

March snuck the hell up on me. :P I seriously thought there was like a week left in February. :/ Edit: The vote incentive is finished finally!

Here’s the link to the new comments highlighter for chrome, and the GitHub link which you can use to install on FireFox via Greasemonkey.