Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Darkheather Model pt1:
In Winter 1152 Kenzie, Saxon, & Sadie are plunged into the seemingly abandoned Weasel kingdom of Darkheather. My original concept for the designs were going to be more Norse but after thinking how well Moorish architecture would fit into an underground domain with the columns & arches to support the "cave" ceiling, I went that direction. At first, I tried drawing the location purely using reference photos, but after feeling like a slave to them, I switched to building the model shown here (which I talked about briefly in a past post). It is made of insulating foam, dowel, and a few bits of plastic tubing.

The model proved useful for examining the arch shapes at various difficult angles, but also for figuring out what shapes appear in the negative spaces of the arches when it is repeated down a hallway. Locking down a camera on a tripod, I was able to take three successive photos and assemble them in photoshop. I have tinted the three depths different colors to help my eye make sense of what details are on what level of depth.

I used the same kind of trick when wanting to make a "room" in which the "walls" were these arches and the roof was a geometric pattern. Instead of laying all this out as a drawing, I took a series of photos and let the camera help me figure out my angles. I used a line tool in photoshop to add the ceiling beams, and inserted a pattern I designed for the tiles in the ceiling. I printed this model mock-up and used it as a guide on the lightbox when inking the final panel

The Darkheather guide page (found in the extras of Winter and online here) was drawn after I had finished Winter 1152's six issues. I looked back at various scenes and settings from the story to try and assemble a multi-layered floorplan with a path the mice followed that made sense. I pulled out my trusty arch model to look at for reference as I drew arch after arch after arch.

Next Time, I'll have pt. 2 of the Darkheather models: The Bone Room.

Fan Art:
Paige Connelly sent this Mouse Guard fan art my way. She is an animation & illustration student working towards her BFA. She hopes to start the RPG soon with some fellow students. I think this is a great mouse piece, it clearly shows the preperation, packing, and weariness the life of a Guarmouse must take on. Looks like Paige has a start for her RPG character!

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Boston Comic Con: April 21-22


scruffy said...

Wow. i have so much to learn. Thanks for adding another piece to the puzzle.... and shining a light on how inconceivably vast the whole is :\

Max West said...

Quite impressive, David. Moorish designs can be tricky to copy. I know because I've attempted it.

Moorish art and architecture is a rich source of inspiration. Look at the works of M.C. Escher. His use of patterns, tassellations and isometric perspective was largely influenced by the Moors.

Matt said...

Awesome post, as usual :)
But why is the Runners Crew hiding in Darkheather (Picture 3)?

Angie Babbit said...

I accidentally walked out of our public library with a hardback copy of Winter 1152 without checking it out. My kids and I read it all today, and will be looking for Fall and the others asap. I am fascinated by your use of models. I don't mean to ask you to give away any artistic secrets (and haven't read your blog which might answer this question), but what is the medium you use? Is it all computer generated? So much of the artwork has a carved quality to it.

I did call the library to legitimize my possession of the book, by the way.

Thanks for providing us with a winter adventure.

Angie Babbit said...

I meant to add a bit of trivia. A spandrel, less often spelled spandril or splaundrel, is the space between two arches or between an arch and a rectangular enclosure.

DPetersen said...

Angie: I draw everything first with a pencil, then I ink everything on bristol board with Copic Multi-Liner pens (though when I drew Winter 1152 I was using a different brand of pen). I scan the artwork and then color it all digitally.

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