Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Muppet Snow White #4 Cover Process

Muppet Snow White #4 cover process:
The story for issue 4 spins away from the traditional telling of Snow White and leads to the Wicked Queen kidnapping Prince Charming and forcing him to marry her. While in the shower (where I get all my best ideas) I was thinking about how to layout the cover showing a tied up Kermit marring Wicked Queen Piggy. This is the rough that I came up with in the shower using my shower crayons. I snapped the photo with my phone before wiping the tub clean.

The next step was to sketch the key players in the scene in my sketchbook. I wasn't trying to draw the cover yet, just the characters. It's freeing to not draw the characters in relation to one another, but purely to get their pose, likeness, and expression. I drew a 'replacement' eye for Piggy, because the first one wasn't to my liking. Knowing that Uncle Deadly would be performing the ceremony I made a doodle of the Jim puppet to hide as a carving in the pulpit or lectern Deadly would be behind.

I also wanted to feature a stained glass window in the castle/church the scene would take place in. I have long admired and even dabbled in stained glass work, so I always want the windows I draw to be physically possible and believable (some tight cuts were not possible to make in glass until modern glass-jigsaws were available). Using a photo of some glass pieces at a local antique shop, I was able to distort, cut, paste, and draw new parts for a fully round window.

Putting the sketches and photo collage window into place in photoshop I came up with my final layout. I was able to resize characters, swap out the bad Piggy eye for the good one, and tint everything so that it was easier to see what every line belonged to. I printed the layout at full size (which involves printing in 2 parts on legal paper and taping them together) and moved over to the lightbox.

On the lightbox I was able to see the layout print through my bristol board (the stock I use to make the final art). Because the pencils were fairly tight on the characters and the design was solid on the window, I was able to ink directly without penciling at all while at the lightbox. The stone and steps were easy to pencil in as I worked as they are just simple lines showing where the mortar lines fall or a step ends. The real work in the background is all the stippling and rendering, but no amount of pencil can help we with that step.

Lastly the cover art is scanned and colored. I use photoshop 7 and do most of my rendering with the dodge and burn tools using a stock brush that comes with the program. As always it was a trick to make the background push back behind the characters. That depth of field is something I try very hard to create in all my work, and often most of it happens in this coloring stage.

Legends of the Guard signing:
Next week Legends of the Guard #1 comes out in stores. To celebrate, Jeremy Bastian (who has a 7 page story in Issue 1) and I will be signing at Detroit Comics in Ferndale on Wed. the 26th from 5-8pm.* So if you are in the area, stop by and see us, and pick up the first issue in the Mouse Guard anthology series. Also look out next Tuesday for a Legends of the Guard spotlight blogpost interview with Jeremy. (* LotG Will be delayed by a week due to an issue at the printer. However we do plan on having advance copies at the Detroit Comics signing)

Jim Henson: 1936-1990
Joe at Tough Pigs.com asked me to be a part of a tribute to the anniversary of Jim's death of 20 years ago. I am a very big Henson fan, and really admire what Jim was able to do in his lifetime. He was a real visionary and his creativity inspired me. I am lucky enough to be a fan who has the privilege of working on Muppet related artwork as part of my living. I am grateful and still in awe of Jim.

Motor City Comic Con:
It was good to be back on home turf for a con at the Motor City Comic Con. Sat in an aisle with a bunch of my favorite people: Jeremy Bastian, Katie Cook, Jay Fosgitt, & Eric Lynch. It was also a pleasure to reconnect with talented folks like Guy Davis, Vince Locke, Andy & Alice Price, Stan Sakai, Sergio Aragones, and Jake, Kevin, & Matt Minor. But enough namedropping & linking.

Fan Art:
This comes from one of my niece's friend's Riley. I met her while we were visiting the nieces earlier this month. Riley came over and drew with Emma and I set up a still life for us all to draw. Before she went home, Riley gave me a piece of Mouse Guard fan art. Thanks Riley!

Upcoming Appearances:*
Detroit Comics signing: May 26th
Kids Read Comics: June 12th (Sat. only)
San Diego (Artist Alley): July 22-25
Baltimore Comic Con: August 28-29
*more 2010 dates may be added


Ashley said...

Your Muppet covers are absolutely stunning. I hope you get to do interiors someday.

Tate said...

I have to say that I was thoroughly disappointed in your lack of customer service skills at the Motor City con.

It not only took you a few minutes to stop chatting with someone at the next booth but then you went on to autograph the book I was buying without even bothering to make eye contact or even to say thanks for the purchase.

Acknowledging your fans is what keeps them coming back.

DPetersen said...


I am VERY sorry and I appologize. Please e-mail your address to me: ericebon (at) hotmail (dot) com and I will send you something to try and make up for my poor behavior.

Anonymous said...

The stain glass is awesome!! Wow I didn't know there were shower crayons!! You learn something new everyday!

Anonymous said...

I think people are too sensitive when it comes to comic conventions!!! I have met David at a few cons and he's a nice person to talk to and enjoys interacting with his fans! However i have seen artist that dont care and totally ignore you and care less for your support. I believe David to be a great creator and cares greatly about his fans!


Anonymous said...

Tate, I think you must have caught him at a bad time. I ran into Mr. Petersen a couple times at Comic-con last year (a signing and a panel) and iirc he was nothing but friendly, courteous and engaging.

--Ate too much lunch in SD

PS, DP, thanks for the availability of the Black Axe block print shirt in kids' sizes: My son loves it.

Tate said...

David apologized on here and in a private email to me. As far as I'm concerned, we're good and I look forward to getting a chance to talk to him the next time I'm at a con he's doing.

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