Unexpected & Unplanned Visual Influence:
Looking over Black Axe #2, there are two examples of where the visuals were the result of fan interactions at conventions. I had no preconceived notion of how the Captain's Captain character Roarke would look when I started Black Axe (in fact, I didn't have anything specific for him when I started issue 2). I knew he needed to be surly and pirate like to fit in with the crowd I figured would populate the Mariner's Bell. I had also written the character's motives to be underhanded and swindle-ly when dealing with Conrad. Then it dawned on me, that a few years back, I had done a Conrad vs a Pirate Mouse piece. Seemed fitting to use that design again. Luckily, I had also already colored the piece for the 2010 sketchbook, so the design for Roarke was 98% done before I started.
The other example of this is the visual representation of the history lesson of the Black Axe. In the past I have used illuminated manuscript based on the Book of Kells to be the visual portal into what could otherwise be boring exposition/explanation pages of talking mouse heads. This timer around, I wanted to do something different (also suggesting that all of Mouse History isn't recorded in this way, and that the Legend of the Black Axe is legendary enough to be found in multiple sources) but was stuck on what to use as a visual. As I was headed to my shelf to retrieve a Kells reference book, I knocked over a fold-out scale reprinting (in book form) of the Bayeux Tapestry a fan had given me as a gift last year at a convention. I loved how the tapestry is essentially a long comic narrative, mixing images with words. Had it not been for that fan being so kind, I wouldn't have been led in that direction.
Recent Colored Artwork:
I sent the printer the files for the 2011 Mouse Guard sketchbook last week. I try and keep the sketchbook pure Mouse Guard making most of the content images you could see in the comics. These few are non-mouse related, but wanted to share them. I did the colors as a 'warm up' before I was going to be doing a batch of Black Axe pages. (Panda & T-Rex in love, & Characters from Stuff of Legend)
Cherry Capital Con: June 25-26
San Diego Comic Con: July 20-24
Baltimore Comic Con: Aug. 20-21
New York Comic Con: Oct. 13-16