Spring weather is here!
Last week before seeing my dad off safely for his surgery, I headed out to my old woodland stomping grounds to gather some photo reference. Not too far from my childhood home were some nice wooded areas with streams and some wildlife. As a kid I played back there a great deal and even built a fort back there (which had a working fireplace!!) On Saturday mornings (in most any weather) friends and I would head up to our fort and cook frozen burritos, pasties, and one time even scrambled eggs. We would pass the day following the stream, climbing trees, gathering firewood and repairing/improving the fort (it wasn't 100% water-proof). So last week, while tromping around there, I was able to see the location that once was our fort, but the high stream wasn't something I was up to try to cross all for a photograph of the wood pile that was a part of my childhood. However, the photos I took did contribute to this springtime image.
Last Saturday I had a wonderful time at the Flint Institute of the Arts doing a lecture presentation on Mouse Guard, my background and my process. The lecture was well received by the audience. I think they enjoyed seeing how I start working from a rough script and then were able to see the steps through a final colored and lettered page. After the lecture I took questions from the audience, and there were some really good ones! Questions about why I use animals to tell the stories, why I use the format I do, and lettering.
The lecture was followed up by a trip to the gallery where they are showing 20+ pages of inked Mouse Guard pages from my collection (the pages and covers I don't/won't sell) I also brought up the Mouse Guard sculptures I did back in '03. Friday night when I was bringing them up from the studio for transport, I dropped two of them and broke them. So at midnight I was mixing up epoxy and trying to make sure all the sculptures would make an appearance.
As this was part of FIA's educational workshops, they opened the studios for young and old to draw and paint. I wasn't able to get around to many of the artists working away, but it was wonderful to see the studio packed with parents and kids dreaming of world and characters far far away from the chilly day in Flint.
The final leg of the FIA day was a signing outside of the gift shop. It was a very nice turnout and great to see so many Flint-area fans. Because the characters in Mouse Guard are based on friends of mine, many of the people in line hadn't read Mouse Guard, but knew or were related to the pals of mine used as the basis for Kenzie or Lieam.
Overall the event was a wonderful success. I had a great time and FIA reports to me that they were very happy with the turnout and enthusiasm from the public. Thank you to everyone who was involved and attended! (FIA is already telling me they want to set up another comics related event next year!!!)
Monday April 7th I'll be attending the Eastwood Schuller's bookstore in Lansing for their monthly comic discussion group (7:30 PM). I'll be taking questions and signing and perhaps sketching if time permits. If you are in the area please stop by and say hello!
Megan Cutting is a HUGE fan of Mouse Guard and attended the FIA event last Saturday. I have met Megan and her parents a few times now (she has been to every Flint event I have done so far). At the library reading in Jan. she had the cast sign her Lieam plushie. This time she gifted me with a piece of fan-art of her own Mouse Guard character "Burnheart" Thanks for the drawing and loyal fan-ship Megan!
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