The Cryptographer on Break

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The Cryptographer on Break is a standalone illustration by Iron Eater. It ran in Issue 54 at and is mirrored at


This piece was created entirely in Clip Studio Paint (AKA Manga Studio 5) using a combination of default and custom Frenden brushes working over a scanned pencil sketch.

Artist's Notes[edit]

I had a lot of trouble thinking of something to fit this issue's theme, as it's all about words and language, which are a bit difficult to express in a non-comic visual format! Some hemming and hawing, plus two different sketchbook pages, later, I think this conveys things nicely. My standalone illustrations tend to skew towards pinups, so having two characters interacting in a clearly sexual way was an unstated goal of mine for this.

The "digital scratchboard" look was previously featured in the illustrations for Ash and Incense. A lot of the background glyphs were originally intended to be copy and pasted, and I'd considered using a font for them to save myself the trouble, but an unfortunate layering incident nixed that idea; as is they turned out fine, so I've chalked it up as just one of those things that happens during the artistic process.

I ended up having to redraw the cryptographer's face twice since he kept looking like existing characters of mine. So it goes!