Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Muppet Peter Pan #4 Cover Process

Muppet Peter Pan #4 will be out later this week (Thursday the 21st due to the holiday). I wanted to share the process steps in this cover (I have doe this with other pieces, for the blog, so the steps should be familiar). I had been given an outline of what happens in each issue from Boom with a note from editor Aaron Sparrow saying "Captain Gonzo kidnaps the children would make a good 4th cover".

I sketched out ideas in my sketchbook. In the upper right you can see my rough thumbnail for the layout. Once that layout idea worked, I started sketching out the various characters. Gonzo was first since I knew he would be most prominent, and then I drew the other Muppets a few times until I got something I liked. I work this way so that if I draw say Gonzo, right on the first try, I don't have to worry about messing up that part of the drawing when I get to the next character and it doesn't work out.

I scanned the page from my sketchbooks and cut and paste each character onto their own layers in a new document the size of the cover art. I tinted each character to help me keep track of what lines belong to whom. In this stage I can tighten up the layout. I can move or rotate characters slightly. I can resize parts of them that are out of proportion (either to themselves or with each other). This digital layout of my drawings helps me finalize the image before inking it and without doing much, if any, redrawing.

I print out my photoshop layout and use a light box so that I can see the rough through the bristol paper stock I ink the cover onto. In this inking stage I focus on line quality and texture. That the contour lines of Bean Bunny look like fur and that Scooter's hair looks like yarn. I also like adding patterns that I will use a color hold on when I color the image, like the stripes on Rizzo's shirt or the embroidery on Gonzo's coat or the lace pattern in his cuff.

Lastly I use the color to make this a night scene, turn those dots into stars and add a glow around the lantern. I start with base colors for everyone (most of which I either use reference for or have established on previous covers) and then tint them to the tone that night would change them to, or the lantern's glow would do to them. I chose not to use a color hold on the water this time around. I wanted that sea to be inky black and ominous. (I referenced the ocean waves Windsor McKay did for Little Nemo)

Inking & Coloring on Ustream:
Monday night I streamed for four hours while I inked a Mouse Guard page. The session was recorded, but Ustream caps recordings at 2.5 hours. I want to say that I don't think people would want to watch the long stream after the fact, but I had requests for it. I did my best to verbalize the questions asked in the chat before I answered them so later viewers can still benefit from the Q&A that goes on in my streams. I plan on coloring this page on Saturday and streaming it live. Follow me on Twitter or Facebook for updates on the time of the stream.
The URL to watch a stream (when live) or to watch the recorded streams is:

Fan Art:
Paul Davies is in the final year of his studies at the University of Hertfordshire for special effects and television. As part of his final project, he made stop motion animation puppets based on Mouse Guard. He had to sculpt and cast and punch hair and paint every bit of the mice and their attire. He has been updating me with the progress (I hope he makes a blog showing all the steps and variations he made) but I thought I'd share the end result with this beauty:

Upcoming Appearances:*
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


JMG said...

Clearly, Wes Anderson's stop-motion follow-up to The Fantastic Mr. Fox needs to be Mouse Guard. Well, maybe Anderson isn't the right director for the job, but someone needs to put Mr. Davies' puppets to good work! What an amazing job!

levithepirate said...

Wow! The fan art is crazy good this week. Can someone hire him to make the next line of mouse guard pvc figures???

DPetersen said...

JMG: I'd love to see the puppets in action too.

levithepirate: I was really happy with Rudy's sculpts on the stuff from Diamond select. Unfortunately, Diamond didn't offer to renew the contract for Mouse Guard. I would love to get more merchandise out there, but I need to focus on getting books done right now.

Jason Bradley said...

The USTREAM is just great. ^^
So you don't really talk like a Michigander? Are you not native? Or do they just talk with a lighter Michigan accent where you are? My Grand Rapids friends have a heavier accent seems like.
It amazes me that not only are you an artist, but you also are a teacher, instructor, a blogger, inventor, I dunno a great many things. You're very organized and have a lot of forethought to what you do. Which amazes me cause you're just one person kind of doing it all yourself. There's no team, no boss hounding you, just you doing it all yourself planning everything yourself, working all yourself, researching all yourself. And then you still have time to blog and do these USTREAMs and stuff for everyone. I don't know if I can say how thankful and appreciative and lucky I feel to read your comics and follow your blog and experience the process. ^^


Dom C said...

I've really enjoyed reading the nuts-and-bolts process for making Mouse Guard and your art in general. Thank you for taking the time to post this kind of stuff.

Is there any chance that you'll be at GenCon this year, either as an artist or with Luke & Burning Wheel in general?

Anonymous said...

Wow thats a really cool model, I wish I could make something like that (my model skills aren't up for that yet!). If he did make models like this for you I would defiantly buy one! And also I really liked that ustream, it helped me a ton with my drawings! I actually watched the whole thing! -Dab

DPetersen said...

Queue: I am a native Michigander, lived here all my life. Glad you enjoyed the Ustream and the blog etc.

Dom C: Thanks! Glad the fans like seeing behind the curtain a bit. Unfortunately, no, I won't be at GenCon. I'm cutting back on shows this year because of my deadlines.

Dab- Thanks for watching and commenting!

Anonymous said...

Will you be doing another ustream?

DPetersen said...

DAB: Yes, I'll be doing ton on Saturday (coloring) time TBD

Anonymous said...

Wow! thats awesome! I cant wait, ill definitely listen in:D -DAB

Anonymous said...

I was wondering if you knew when the Snowy Valentine book your working on is being released? Also is it true that your doing another Star Wars card?

DPetersen said...

Anonymous: Snowy Valentie's Day should be out in Feb. of 2012.
And yes, I did a base card for Galaxies 5 (though I don't know when I can show it)

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