Vote over at TWC and you can see Elias working hard or something!

Happy Valentine’s day or whatever! I’m not inclined to celebrate, because I’m not inclined to bother with dating and romance, but I do like the cheap chocolate aftermath! Mmmmm. And hey, I just got my teeth cleaned yesterday, and they’re all still firmly attached to my skull, so I can do whatever the hell I want. Gonna go find me one of those those heart-shaped boxes of mystery chocolates tomorrow. They’re usually all terrible, but once a year, I like to remind myself why I don’t bother with assorted chocolates the rest of the time.

Please excuse my lazy backgrounds on those last two panels, but LOOK AT ALL THIS FUCKING BACKGROUND ACTION. This poor little coffee shop has come so far since page one. This week’s pages took me foreeeever to draw. So many little, stupid details. Good details, but still! So if the whole rest of this scene has like, zero background extras to be seen, just imagine they’re there. I’ve established they are. You don’t need to see them again. I’m sloooowly getting used to coloring. I can’t do it without heavily relying on staring at my art reference folder to figure out what looks good, but hopefully that’s kind of normal. I’m not used to using browns and yellows, but I wanted the coffee shop to feel warm and dark.

In the end, I had to mock this all up in the Sims so I could see how everything worked in relation to each other. I kind of fucked up the layout of this general shopping area, because I’ve shown there’s a building to the side, and based on the alley scene in chapter 3, there’s something that extends beyond the back of this building as well. Here is the official layout of this street: the building to the left is a bookshop that goes to the street corner, which is long but not that deep (I’m not an architect). Behind that is a parking lot, which the windows look out onto, and there’s another building bordering the other side of the parking lot that faces the side street. That building connects at the rear with the kitchen of the coffee shop. It looks fairly stupid when laid out, but whatever. Small cities always have weird building configurations. I’ve known quite a few weird shops in my own town that are wedged into corners and alleys. I’m aiming for authenticity.

Anyway, because I’m like, a real author or whatever, the visible state of the coffee shop reflects Malaya’s emotional state at any given time. Don’t worry about it…

In TV news, I keep watching depressing stuff that involves a lot of murder. I should probably find something light and fun to watch while drawing, but most comedies are half hour shows and don’t hold my attention long enough. Plus, it’s apparently really easy to tune out murder? I’m a normal person. I’ve been watching Drugs, Inc. on Netflix, which explores all the nitty gritty details surrounding drugs: where they come from, how they’re made, who’s carting them where, who’s taking them, the aftermath, etc. It’s pretty fascinating! And grim. I’m so damn straight-laced, it’s like peeking into an alternate reality. I’ve learned that people in the US really love drugs. We’re the druggiest damn country ever. Good for us?

I also finally finished Mad Men. It was good. I’m not used to a narrative that largely wanders as it will, going off on tangents and leaving things unresolved, but the show overall was quality. I think a lot of people miss the point? There’s a subset of fans who see Don Draper as the penultimate man, as this very aspirational figure…but the whole point of the show is that he was operating under a mask, and that continuously trying to meet the expectations put on him (and the entire cast) to conform to the norms of society ultimately truncated his ability to acknowledge his feelings and create fulfilling emotional connections with others. But, you know, maybe I just got something different out of it than people who wish they could day drink at work?