Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Model Building:
While working on a cover for Legends of the Guard (which I can't show yet), I wanted to feature an architectural library setting. I looked through my reference photos from Ireland and found this one that I took at the Trinity college library (where photography was prohibited, so excuse the out-of-the-coat-quick-shot blurriness). However, I wanted to go beyond this photo and make something more Mouse-Guardish.

I hate figuring out these things in perspective. It takes me forever to get all the layout lines and construction lines for concentric circles, etc. So I find it more rewarding, and enjoyable to make a model. After a sketch of what one column would look like, I built this model piece. It's all made from left over bristol board scraps and rubber cement. This took about an hour or two to build while I listened to an audio book. I drew in details like the book shelves and the column's mortar lines to that I would have to refigure those perspective lines again later.

When you do this type of modular model with only one section built, the plan is to use the piece over and over to fill up the entire building. I had to make sure the arch and balcony sections extended far enough that they would meet when I composited everything together. This rough floor plan shows how the one section would get moved down again and again to become the full model.

On our dining room table I taped down two lines of blue painters tape (low tack so it wouldn't hurt the table). I made sure they were parallel and marked off even increments noting where the model needed to be placed on each side. I set up a tripod and photographed the model in each spot on the tape lines. Then using photoshop, I composited all the photos together to make this photo I could reference. I know some would say that I could have spent less time just working out the perspective, but I like how this method leads to imperfections and lines that are not 100% on the perspective lines. It makes it seem like a real place that mice would have built. It has settled and it's no longer geometrically perfect, which my perspective drawing would have been.

Muppet King Arthur #3:
Boom hasn't previewed this anywhere yet, but I saw a few sites that sell comics online have already posted an image (though the colors are oversaturated and wrong), so I figured I should give fans the better image. Issue #3 is the grail issue. It took some self control not to put the "Legendary Black Beast of Aaaaarrrrrrggghhh" From Python's Holy Grail.

Upcoming Appearances:*
Live reading: Holiday Walk at Flint Public Library: Dec. 8 (6:30 & 7:30pm)
Alaska Library Conference: March 4-7
CGS Supershow: March 27-28
C2E2 (Archaia Booth): April 16-18
Motor City Con: May 14-16
San Diego (Artist Alley): July 22-25
Baltimore Comic Con: August 28-29
*more 2010 dates may be added


sam said...

That's an incredible perspective technique David. Thanks for sharing.

Jacob Haynes said...


As an architect who enjoys your books, I am overjoyed that someone in the literary (even if in the graphic literary) field would take to building models.

If you have the time you should check out Google sketchup for another resource for quick perspectives. It is an easy modeling program available for free. Though I am hesitant to recommend this because I think there is some inherent aesthetic value in physical creation that doesn’t get translated with the computer.


Scarecrow said...

I'm pretty sure that's the same library that the Jedi Temple Library was based on. I seem to recall they tried to sue Lucas film because of it. Not sure how that turned out.


DPetersen said...

Sam- Glad you like it. One of the real benifits I see to this kind of model making, over traditional perspective, is when you will need to redraw the setting over and over again from different angles. In this case, I only needed it once (although I photographed 2 angles to see which I liked better)

Jacob- I like building things anyhow, so any excuse to build a papermodel just means I get to play for work. I have heard good things about the Google sketchup, but I really like the hands-on paperbuilding approach. It also allows me to add some hand drawn details in the model.

Wayne- I hadn't heard about that, but you are right, not only do I see it now, but I looked online to find the hubub about the design similarities. I had started on a drawing with the photo being used as strong reference, but I realized that with the heads and the shape of the arches and stacks it was always going to BE Trinity college library, so I moved on to the model.

levithepirate said...

I love how unconventional you are with your art work. It seems like the actual drawing and coloring of your book is such a small part of what you do.

I imagine your workspace as being some sort of cobbled together city made of paper models and random puppetry.

Just wanted to let you know that every post you do on this blog is greatly appreciated and I'm very excited to see the finished product of all your hard work.

DPetersen said...

levi-Thaks! I'm glad people are enjoying the posts. As for my studio, it IS becoming the archives for several paper models (in various stages of decomposition). If we had a larger basement, and I didn't have deadlines, be sure that I would do a model railroad-style (minus the RR) Mouse Guard city with almost every location cut away

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