Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Fishers: Black Axe Issue 1 has some Fishers as one of the obstacles Celanawe and Em must face before starting their quest. I had planned on having fishers in Mouse guard as far back as the late 90's. The drawing on the left is a concept for a lone adventuring fisher I drew back then.
Skip ahead to me working on Black Axe in 2010. I had a few goals for the larger-species-encounter in the first issue. I wanted to show a different resolution than I had when mice had faced a snake, crabs, & an owl in the previous series. This time I needed the threat to be more than a single Guardmouse would take on, where avoidance was the key to success, instead of confrontation.

These fishers needed to be fierce and scary. Since other weasel-like species will be featured in Mouse Guard and beyond, I didn't want these guys (and gals) to be just larger versions of the same thing. I worked off of the idea of them being savage, nomadic, hunters that used every bit of everything they killed. Incorporating those previous victims as armor and clothing was fun, and I think really set the fishers apart from any species I have shown so far (and will again...I think this will be a signature of theirs). To the right are my initial concepts for the characters, and ways to make them scarred, battle worn, and terrifying to a mouse.

Here is one of the pages in process from the issue that feature them best. They never speak (and not because they are unable, but because they are hunting prey, and wish to remain silent) I mention in the issue they are a pair of mates...though I never spell out which is which, in my head I have the scarred one with the coat of pelts (M) with the skull mask draped with fish (F) and then the porcupine coat (M) with the crab-armor & tiara (F).

Fan Art: This week I wanted to share the work of Jackson Sze a concept artist and digital painter. Jackson & I met a few years back at San Diego Comic con where BATTLEMiLK, a portfolio book he contributed to, featured this painting. I keep going back and looking at it from time to time being envious of how interesting that mouse city is.
feel free to visit Jackson's site and blog

2011 Appearances
MSU Comics Forum: Jan. 22
C2E2: March 18-22
Phoenix Comic Con: May 26-29
Cherry Capital Con: June 12-13
San Diego Comic Con: July 20-24
Baltimore Comic Con: Aug. 20-21
New York Comic Con: Oct. 14-16


Max West said...

That's quite a neat take on the fishers, Dave. It is different. To be honest, I'm still used to the image of enemy mustelids (weasels, ferrets, stoats, pine martens, etc) from Brian Jacques' Redwall books.

Your portrayal of fishers as foes definitely makes your work stand out more from similar material.

Mike said...

I got the book last week. The fishers looked great, David, but the poor crow!! Couldn't Celanawe have just explained himself quicker so it could have flown to safety?!? There was so much dialogue there -- plenty of time. Maybe he thought it being a "beast" it would have flown away on its own the second it wasn't held down.

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