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Toast references “the robots they’ve got on Minsha” – no doubt Bloom is familiar with them as well, considering her Minshan roots (more on that in Chapter 5, approximately 100 pages from this one) – but generally speaking, Minshan technology is decades ahead of what’s available on Shinma, due in no small part to the embargo.

Looking back at this page as I type this up (I’m currently working on Chapter 5, like I mentioned above), I’m reflecting on the differences between drawing with ink on paper, as I did then, and on the computer tablet, as I’ve been doing for the past six months. For me, there are pros and cons to both. But in particular, on this page, it was so time-consuming to draw a chainlink fence in negative space as I did in the second panel, and the treeline and interstate lights in the third panel. With the tablet, it’s so easy to draw in white on black… not to mention how much easier it is to erase the “ink” if a line goes stray.  Nowadays I spend a lot less time penciling, too, because I can just as easily “undo” and keep re-drawing until a line is perfect. Of course, there are drawbacks as well, and nothing can really match the look of ink on paper, at least not in the eyes of people who have worked extensively with ink on paper.