93 thoughts on “Chapter 5: Lit, page 76.”

  1. Visually, I like it. The shading is kinda odd seeing as how you usually go with solids but OH GOD WHAT THE FUCK MES WHY ARE YOU WEARING A HALTER TOP

    1. All this time I thought that Mesmer was either transgendered or a transvestite. Am I, um, off-base, d’you think?

    2. If you are easily traumatized by wardrobe choices you might not want to go back to ?p=1602… Mesmer’s wearing a dress.

  2. If you mean the close-ups, I like it. That’s a -lot- of expression for an eyeball…;) And I am loving Mesmer more and more as this goes on.

  3. I could go either way on the shading, though I concede Flannery’s outfit has a new layer of class and Mesmer’s hair is gorgeous.

    Mesmer, himself, is a big ol’ jerk.

    1. Yeah, unless the next page is going to be Mesmer talking about how he thought he was poor because his commune was all about not being materialistic, I call unexamined privilege.

      In any case, he’s an ass.

  4. I’m not liking the shading differences, but I can’t finger exactly why.


    It doesn’t look as crisp or assured maybe? I dunno. It’s not as bold. I liked that the other way is bold, and yet, so precise that there is a lot of subtlety to it, if that makes sense. At first glance you assume it’s very straight-forward, because the lines are big and black, but if you look closely at things there’s a lot of story hidden there. It tickles me you can pull off an art style that’s both bold and subtle. With the marker-type shading, it looses some of that, I think? You don’t have the same boldness…it’s been softened.

    Perhaps I’m over-thinking it.

    It DOES remind me of Dylan’s Bite Me comic, with the marker shading.

    1. Unfortunately, I must agree with Domini on this.

      In addition to the issues he addressed, I feel that there’s sometimes a dissonance between the sharp lines and the shading. On Flannery’s face in the first panel, for instance, all those lines right near the textured hair gives me weird vibes.

      1. I have to agree that the white of Flannery’s face is very visually jarring in the first panel. Something about it feels very wrong.

  5. I like the new style of the shading… it’s very soft and it makes my eyes focus on certain lines differently than the good ol’ solids do. I’m not 100% sure how I feel about it for the comic, since I love the usual good ol’ solids… but I definitely like it in general.

  6. The shading looks good, but I prefer the original style better just because I’ve gotten used to it. Looking at this page made me wonder if someone screwed with my monitor settings.

    1. I guess I should also mention I don’t have a good eye for art; I either like it or don’t. It explains why I always miss plenty of details as the story progresses.

  7. I like the style of two updates ago a lot more than todays. The high contrast really did fit with the boldness of the characters. Shockingly dark, demonstrably with Mesmer’s hair.

  8. I’d like to see a page done entirely in ink wash – I’m not sure the wash and the solid inks are playing real well with each other, but when I look at the wash just by itself, I like what I see. What kind of paper are you using for the washes? It’s got a nice texture (if that’s the paper at all – I’m assuming. It could be the ink).

  9. I like the more granular look of the ink wash, it adds something texture-wise that makes it more interesting to look at, a little less homogeneous. I know it’s more work though.

  10. I prefer solid shading. Occasional texture is kinda distracting. I guess it makes the comic feel more vintage’? But the art style has never been very vintage, so idk.

    Lol, Mesmer. His analysis is dead-on. I can’t wait to see Ben’s reaction. My bet is he’s flattered.

    1. I didn’t really notice the art change, until I read the comments, but looking at it, I kinda like it. The clash of textures and solids gives it a cool, half-real look that I think fits well with the setting. Or not. I’d need a few more pages to make a decicion either way.

  11. It’s a weird change, though it took me a bit to realise that I wasn’t imagining it, I must say.

    I like being able to see what was done, and it adds a lot to the art. Bold shading feels more in keeping with how everything looks, maybe. But yeah, in general, I like it.

  12. This shading has an odd “warm” feeling, but it sort of feels out of place next to your other crisp shading style. If it was on a different page or story arc, I’d like it.

  13. I don’t like it. The difference is negligible, and where noticable, doesn’t look confident in the least. I’d stick with the original shading method, especially if this one takes longer (which I’d suspect it does).

  14. Kinda like the shading but not sure it works with the style (which is amazing and I would hate to see change to something less distinct).

  15. I think the new style has potential, but it clashes too much with the sharp outlines. (The shading owes more to realism, while the outlines don’t.) So it’s kinda jarring.

    1. @ Twitching – yes, that’s it. There’s a style clash.

      I think in another comic or another illustration it might do fine, but mixed up with the old Templar style there’s some clashing going on.

  16. I like the new style.

    All the Mesmer haters are so wrong. Man’s just bullshitting with his friends/co-workers. I mean the fact that he’s totally right about everything, (except for the mansion in the Sorrows obviously) that isn’t a reason to dislike him. Nah the only thing he says that comes off as even a little harsh is the bit about fooling people, which Ben isn’t really trying to do. Ben’s to busy fooling himself to purposely fool anyone else.

  17. The new shading doesn’t look bad, but it does perhaps clash with the bolder more 2d linework. I think this shading could work great but only if you also changed the line work to match.
    But that’s just, like, my oppinion, man.

  18. Here’s another vote for doing things the old way – I’m not very good at picking out specific differences, but I was definitely thinking that something was odd about the art before I got to the note saying that it had changed, and not odd in a good way.

  19. I like the subtle touch there with the adoption-“You were like a thousand dollars.” Mesmer was raised on a commune, so to him a thousand dollars is like Dr. Evil with his one million. It sounds like a lot of money to him, but it’s pennies compared to how much Ben’s parents probably spent on his overseas adoption. I also like that he uses “cats,” which is outdated now but perfectly appropriate to the environment he grew up in.

    Or it’s possible I’m overthinking everything, but whatever, I like it. Ink wash! I love the effect in Mesmer’s hair. Otherwise…I think it needs to be one or the other. Either ink wash, or computer shading. Doing both looks a little odd and clash-y.

    1. Yeah, I was thinking the same thing over adoption, though it’s quite possible he was still adopted in the US. Either way, the money inflation is much different compared to our world or he’d been a major bargain baby to have it only be a 1,000 dollars. Love how it sounds like Mesmer puts 1,000 as such a high exaggeration like we’d say for a million.

      Still, it does make me wonder if the inflation is quite different from our modern day so 1,000 is actually considered a lot more than it is here today.

    2. Well, maybe the economy is different, lots of other things are. But yes, it’s kinda cute that Mesmer thinks you could get an adoption done, even Ben’s age ago, for a thousand dollars (or that it would have been cheaper than that to have a baby, for that matter).

    3. Keep in mind that in this universe, maybe a thousand dollars is a lot of money and maybe “cats” is current slang.

  20. I don’t like the new style – but I not really an art type of person.

    I think Mesmer’s being a jerk. He doesn’t know Ben well enough to “bullshit” with him. I think he probably thinks he knows Ben well enough to joke around like that, but I doubt Ben would agree with that. So he might have good intentions, but in the end he isn’t thinking of others, really. Mesmer, you impolite sunnuvabitch, you.

  21. I liked the shading better before. It seems out of place in this page and visually distracting/jarring?

    Excellent page though :) Great dialogue. I always look forward to my weekly trips to Templar.

  22. The detail is muddy and confusing. It looks overworked and detracts from the strength of your style, which is the bold, confident linework. It’s also throwing the relationship between the negative and positive space out of whack.

    What’s up with Mesmer assuming that Ben’s parents can’t be successful and both Asian? Is it that unheard of?

      1. And? Having a last name from a different region doesn’t mean you can’t be something else entirely. Maybe one of his parents could be half-Asian. Or maybe one of their parents, or their parent’s parents, and so on? Or maybe one of his parents was adopted, or so on and so forth. We know Ben’s adopted and that his parents aren’t Asian, but we don’t know that Mesmer knows that. Assuming someone’s ethnicity based on their family name is pretty damn offensive.

  23. I’m not sure I like the shading, but I don’t dislike it either. It just seems to clash a bit with the heavier, more definite lines. But I’m not an artist, so what do I know. :X

  24. What Twitching said. It looks awkward – but I think if you keep doing it, and maybe do it more boldly, it could work!

    I think it looks great on the clothing, and not so much in M’s hair. That may be due to the higher constrast between the light-tone hair and dark-tone hair, as opposed to the lesser contrast between the two in the clothing. Has to do with the sharp-outline issue, I think.

  25. The new visual style conveys a little more chic, a little more subtlety, which of course looks GREAT.
    The only thing is if it might clash with the subject matter at all. Might not be a big difference, but Templar’s always had its spotlight on its most dynamic, complexly outlined by starkly shaped personalities and world details. The old style helped convey this a lot and is one of the things that made it really distinctive. It was in your face…just like everything and everyone in the comic, whether they wanted to be or not.
    But as I said…it looks really good. Stylish. Classier. The visual storytelling shift may not even be that big of a thing when it comes down to it, if this is considered.

    Bottom line- it looks fantastic, and everything else is just nits and your own personal preference on how you want to take this.

  26. I prefer the old shading style – I always thought the clear style with just a few different hues of color was special and very well done.
    (Especially the shading on Mesmers tops on the first panel looks off to me.)

  27. I like this style of shading. It took me a second to notice it, actually, because I got really caught up in Mes being an ass. :D

    However, on the other hand I’m not sure that it’s right for Templar, especially 1500+ pages in, after a definite style is established. Evolution of the drawing style is one thing, but I always find semi-major stylistic changes in very story-based comics a little distracting. But that’s just my opinion.

    Like I said, I like it, but I’m just not sure it’s right for Templar.

  28. I think the textures would look better if they were all or nothing. Your brushwork has always been so crisp it looks nearly like vector art, likewise with the shading. Here we have sharp traditional inks, sharp digital tinting, but now *some* of the shading has this new organic texture. The page would feel more cohesive if everything were traditional, or if you kept the digital shading and added a gentle texture overlay in the final step.

  29. When I saw the update, I was like “wait what?”.

    To be honest, I don’t think I like the soft shading. Your lines are so crisp and sharp, I think it’s too much to not have such crisp and sharp shading to go along with it.

    Maybe it just because all the previous pages weren’t this way, but I don’t think it’s right for Templar :3

  30. i like it, but, as others have said before, some of the contrasts are jarring. it has the effect of making the darker, washed areas look more real than the lighter areas. sections like Flannery’s face in the first panel, and Ben in his entirety (shoved back by the reality of Mes’s sleeve) seem unfinished by comparison.

  31. To be completely honest.
    I didn’t even notice until I scrolled down, read your lines, and scrolled back up. Now that you’ve called attention to it, I think I’d have to agree in that it doesn’t mesh quite right with your lovely linework. Except I’m lovin’ how Mesmer’s hair came out. So I could go either way.

    Man the lack of an eyebrow in the last panel (I assume because it’s halfway up his forhead, comic-style) kinda throws me for a loop.

    Also I can completely imagine how “you were like A THOUSAND DOLLARS” came out, and it’s hilarious to me. Thank you for making a great comic. I’m sorry I didn’t find it much sooner.

  32. man forget all you haters the new brushwork looks great! (jk i love everyone)

    Obviously if Spike continues with it, she’ll tweak it and mess with it more, but I don’t see why she shouldn’t try it for a little while longer. I know what people mean when they say it’s weird after having a very set style for such a long time, but it’s nice to branch out and try things and could definitely bring something great visually later on.

  33. i know there are a ton of people weighing in on this, so maybe this comment isn’t helpful… but I’ve been reading for a while and I haven’t felt compelled to comment until, because i just have to say:

    The new style looks GREAT!

    In my opinion, the hair and clothes just look stunning. Of course i love the old style as well, and my first reaction was to think i liked the old style better, but in reality i think that was just because i am so used to it. After looking at it closely, i think the effect of the new shading is really quite beautiful… especially considering it’s the first page you’ve published this way. kudos, spike!

  34. Here goes my vote against those new textures. They’re very good-looking, but they don’t mix well with the actual linework. They suffocate each other instead of the mutual potentiation existing in the other pages, those with the plain tones of brown.

    Excuse my horrible english

  35. I don’t think I like it. I loved the sharp lines and crisp, solid fills.
    But maybe I just need to get used to it over a few more strips.
    I feel like the way you use and emphasize light is gonna be very different eventually with this technique, but what the holy hell do I know? I FEAR CHANGE!

    I’ll take all the TAZ I can get, in any shading style the mighty Spike pleases.

  36. I too am not really liking the new brushwork. The whole coloring-in-with-solids thing was one of my favorite things about Templar! It had this clarity, boldness, and expressivity that isn’t coming through at all in the more graded shading here. And in this page, only some parts of the picture are textured, which creates a disunity with the parts of the picture that are still untextured.

    Somebody above said that if you’re going to change your style, you have to change it all the way, and I agree with that statement. Right now you changed only the textures at small portions of the page, and it’s not looking right at all. You’d have to change everything about the art—linework, composition, the general texture at all parts of the image—to make your changes fit. And at that point (though I don’t like to be the one to lash out instinctively against change) you’d have to ask yourself: would it still be the same Templar, Arizona that everybody fell in love with?

  37. I like it very much, and it would be cool to see Spike’s style transition even more into realism. I noticed the changes right away before reading the comments and really digged it. Flannery’s outfit looks much more interesting with the new shading.

  38. Voting against the new coloring. It’s beautiful, but really trippy, and that’s distracting. The contrast of the inkwash texture against the big areas of cel-shading is somehow, mysteriously, producing the same effect as doubled lines in a 3-d-glasses image. It’s giving those inkwashed areas an illusion of motion– like I’m looking at an animated .gif that my browser can’t quite handle, and at any second, Flannery’s dress or the grey curls in Mesmer’s hair are going to start whooshing around.

  39. I vote against… mostly, because your art has a very distinct art-deco feeling to it, and textured shading is not very art-deco.

    It does look good, but the other way fits better.

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