Muppet Cover Process:
Since last week's Snow White cover #2 post was popular, I'm going back to show you the cover to #1 with my rough sketches and inks. I stared with sketching out all the characters that needed to appear: Spamela, Zoot, Dr. Teeth, Janice, Floyd Pepper, Animal, & Lips. Knowing this was a jammed packed cover, I planned on mashing these sketches together to try and find a way to do the layout where everyone would be seen and the cover still make sense.
My first attempt at this wasn't working for me. I planned on having Spamela sitting on the piano surrounded by the 'dwarves', but it was too bottom heavy. Before going back to sketching again, I tried a different layout with the characters larger and on a hill outside the cottage. I sketched a cottage to drop in after I liked the placement of the characters. I tend to tint the characters so that it's easy to tell where one ends and the next begins. having every character on their own layer also allows me to scootch them, rezise them, rotate them etc until I like the layout.
I print out the layout at scale with the final cover art size and use a lightbox to pencil & ink on the final bristol. The inks is where I feel I do a lot of the heavy lifting. I focus on line texture and weight. The materials the Muppets were made from are important to who they are, so I try and make the hair act like it's made of feathers or cord. I pay attention to stitching and sequins on the costumes. I want my drawing to feel as Muppetish as I can and the inks are a big part of that.
The other important part of making them feel Muppet-ey is in the coloring. Again it goes back to the fleece and feathers and foam that the Muppets were made of. I try and render them that way. Placing color holds on the various stitching and clothing details also helps add to the feel that these characters are made out of real stuff and not just ink on paper. For all of my covers I tend to lean the overall palette towards a classic fairy tale look and the tones from the late 70's Muppet Show episodes.
Legends of the GuardIssue 3 of the Mouse Guard Anthology is now in previews (order code: MAY10 0747). Here is the full cover for the issue. The covers all have 1 paragraph stories associated with them that are included in each issue. But more importantly, this issue will feature stories by Katie Cook, Guy Davis, Jason Shawn Alexander, & Nate Pride!
Tessa e-mailed me this fan art of characters from her Mouse Guard RPG group. I really like the hummingbird & the pommel details on the sword and dagger. Thanks Tessa!
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