christianconductlionhardt asked:

Here's a question, when you were first starting to make comics, what were the three things that challenged you the most and how did you overcome those obstacles?

Hi! Thanks for asking. Let’s see… here are three big challenges off the top of my head: 


One challenge I wasn’t expecting when I began drawing comics was how much harder it is to compose a panel than it is to draw a regular picture. With most pictures, you can just add or subtract objects, or move them around, until the picture looks good. But in comics, certain objects MUST appear in certain panels because of story reasons, and every object MUST occupy the same place in the environment in panel after panel no matter what angle we’re viewing it from. This greatly limits the artist’s options and can be a real puzzle to solve. 

Some solutions I’ve found to these challenges are: 

A. Draw a little map of environments where lengthy scenes will occur, to establish clearly for yourself the spatial relationships between objects and figures. 

B. Sketch a difficult panel beforehand in your sketchbook, without any borders, just to establish the viewing angle and arrangement of objects. Once these are established, then figure out where the panel borders should crop the scene. This is often easier than first drawing a panel’s borders and then trying to cram elements into that box. 

C. Sketch a grid on the “floor” of the scene before adding characters and objects, so that they’ll share the same ground plane and not seem to float around or crowd each other. 


When I began attending conventions, it was intimidating to see all the amazing art on display. It was even more intimidating to show my work to editors and be told I don’t draw this or that very well. 

Part of the solution was to knuckle down and study the things I needed to learn to draw. 

But I also realized that, to communicate your vision, you don’t need to be able to master EVERY technique. You need only master those techniques that are useful for communicating your vision. 

Dr. Seuss, for example, wasn’t a great draftsman, and probably didn’t know how to use an airbrush or paint convincing space stations, but he was able to do exactly what was needed to communicate his own peculiar vision. As a result, we remember him much better and more fondly than artists who could draw far better but who said far less. 

I realized that no artist can be all things to all people, but with focused effort you can be your clearest self to those people who will value what you have to say. 


When I wrote my first longform comic, I knew where I wanted most of the story to happen, but there were various plot preliminaries that had to occur to get all the characters in their proper places. And as I wrote those preliminaries, I discovered that those preliminaries had their own preliminaries. Suddenly I was in a comics version of Zeno’s Dichotomy, with countless events to describe before I could reach the meat of my story. 

A similar problem occurred in the art. If I need my character to appear at a store, mustn’t I first show him on the road to the store? And if I must show him on the road, mustn’t I first show him boarding a vehicle? And mustn’t I first show him approaching the vehicle? And leaving his house? Etc! Impossible! 

Eventually, I realized that you don’t write or compose panels by adding one after another, since that can drag things on forever, and offers little control over the pacing. Instead, it’s best to think of story material as a pie. No matter how many divisions you make, there’s still only a finite amount of pie, so you must divide it in a way that gives priority to the important parts. For example, if I want 90 percent of my story to occur at a store, then I can’t devote more than 10 percent of it to my character’s journey to the store. So, if I’m planning a 10 page story, that means I have 1 page to get him to the store. If I’m planning 100 pages, then his journey merits no more than 10 pages. Etc. I draw the pie first, allot the parts of the story their appropriate amounts, set a desired page count, and proceed accordingly. Any details that don’t fit into their allotted pages would only have unbalanced the pacing anyway, and can be discarded. Goodbye, panel of character boarding a vehicle!

Frag v Yaw v Expansion


100% weight retention is a massive plus as a heavier object moving at a faster speed has more energy. Now apply that to ballistics and what you said is almost spot on. Not only does it increase penetration (as long as speed stays the same), it also creates a larger wound cavity. This dictates that 45 ACP should be the king but unfortunately due to modern ballistics, 9mm has come leaps and bounds from where it was. Especially now that JHPs are understood, as most duty 9mm expands to about .7in wide. Weight also plays in to sub/super sonic rounds like with 45acp or 300blk. it also effects mil-surp 556, which I’ll explain in a bit. 

M855 is the greatest hype round to ever come out of the 556 family. M193 is up there too. Simply because people don’t truly understand HOW rifle bullets make holes and a piece of paper called the Hague Convention from 1899. 

The Hague Convention outlawed the use of “bullets which expand or flatten easily in the human body, such as bullets with a hard envelope which does not entirely cover the core, or is pierced with incisions.” during war. (you can thank the British for this BTW, their .303 was EXTREMELY deadly for its time period)

Because of this militarizes of the world had to find a way to increase lethality while still abiding by the Hauge. So we have really two methods of wounding in mil-surp rounds. Fragmentation and Yaw.

Fragmentation: It is truly a great idea in theory. I’m going to shoot you with a bullet that once it hits you is going to explode into tiny little bits and hopeful rip up something important. If not, it’s going to take forever for a Doc to find all the pieces and get them out.

This is fully recovered (98%) M193 (55gr) round that hit the gel at about 3150fps. Nasty round. It truly is. 

So what is it’s downfall? The fact that it has to be moving above 2700fps. This isn’t that large of deal with 16in or even 14.5in barrels. It still gives you a fairly large ballistic envelope that extends well out side “normal” self-defense ranges. Check the following table for the ranges at which M855 and M193 frag at. Please keep in mind that this is a guide, by no means is this a law. Each round will be different do to all the variables, like temp, humidity, altitude, etc.  

Distance to 2700 fps
20" Barrel
16" Barrel
14.5" Barrel
11.5" Barrel



Now hold up here. Out of a 11.5in gun I only have 45 yards, that’s only 135 feet until it dips below the threshold. That’s like the distance between your mail box and your next door neighbors mail box….. that’s actually really close in terms of a gun fight. I mean I have made shots on steel with a 9mm longer than that. This is why 7.5in barrels are stupid, not only are they over gassed to the point that they quite literal burn themselves to death. Your ballistics out of them SUCK! 

An additional note on M855. It has a tungsten core that DOES NOT fragment due to it being denser than copper. This is by design as the core is meant to penetrate a Russian steel helmet if the Cold War ever went hot. You actually lose some frag when compared to M193 but you gain penetration against barriers, think car doors. This makes M855 act like both a fragmenting round and a round that yaws due to the tungsten core.

Yaw (not to be confused with yall, I know we Texans all sound weird.)

Yaw is mainly found in Russian mil-surp rounds. And is caused by a engineered non-center of gravity, located to the rear. Causing the back end of the round to either go higher or lower than the tip of the bullet when ever it meets a rapid deceleration.(ie flesh). 

This is a picture of a unofficial gel test of 7.62x39. Notice how near the end of the block it dramatically widens? That’s because the round has turned on its side, going form a 7.62mm bullet to a 39mm plow as it turns end over end. Given enough time and gel we would see the perm cavity grow and shrink as the bullet tumbles. 

As I’m sure most of us agree taking larger chunks out of someone trying to kill you is a good thing. So whats the problem with yaw? The issue is timing.

For yaw to be effective the round must be designed to yaw at the correct point, any sooner and we won’t have adequate penetration, any later and you just put a hole that is a glorified 22lr (556 and 545). That is the issue with 762x39, it begins to yaw well outside of the 15-17in range unless there is a medium in front of it to destabilize the round sooner, or it hits bone.


Expansion: This is what JHP pistol rounds do so I will save time by not covering they way they work again. Instead I will jump into WHY they are better. 

Before I continue, the above tests are preformed with a 50gr Barnes TSX 556 round. One of them came from a 20in barrel (bottom) and the other one came from a 8in barrel (top).  Please notice that both gel tests look very similar and that both rounds expand well and meet the 15in mark. Something that M855 would be very, very hard pressed to do out of a 8in barrel. Below is the recovered rounds from the 8in barrel.

Here we have a FANTASTIC round that can be fired in a AR-15 even those with a slow twist rate like DPMS with the 1:12 rate. Where traditional you need a 1:9 or faster to stabilize the 70-77 grain rounds. Nor is it dependent on velocity like M855/M193 is, so SBR users have a round that they can use and greatly extend their envelope, which is never a bad thing. We also get reliable, repeatable, ballistic results that we may not see in a round that yaws.


Technique Shows Energy Dissipate from Projectile Impacts

There’s no reason to read more deeply into the following results of a Duke University physics experiment: When it comes to slamming objects into the ground, harder and faster doesn’t necessarily translate to deeper penetration.

Researchers at the university have been working to understand what happens underground when a meteor or missile strikes earth. They developed a technique to get a slow-motion view of energy dissipating through simulated sand and soil when a metal projectile is dropped on the two different media. Revealing a counterintuitive truth about the physics of colliding objects, their work shows that projectiles experience more resistance when they hit the ground at faster speeds and stop sooner than expected because of it. 

The physicists used clear plastic beads that transmit light differently depending on whether they are compressed or relaxed. By putting a polarizing filter on a slow-motion camera, they were able to record impact energy moving through a pit filled with the beads in transmitted lines called force chains. 

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