Tuesday, March 27, 2012

ECCC: Monsters & Dames 2012 Process

For the last three years the Emerald City Comic Con has been putting together a charity book called Monsters & Dames. Guests of the show are asked to contribute a piece of PG-13 artwork featuring the very open-ended theme "Monsters & Dames". I did a piece for it back in 2009, the last time I attended the show.

I'm headed back to Seattle this year so for my piece I decided to do a genre mash-up. I love good dragon design and after seeing some of Corey Godby's,  and realizing it had been ages since I designed and drew a dragon, I made the Dragon my 'Monster'. Cory includes cool hair on his dragons, and I'd never done that. I also pulled inspiration from the feathers on the gryphon from the Storyteller episode The Luckchild. And the pose of the head was inspired by an upshot drawing Brian Froud did of the Chamberlain from the Dark Crystal

For the 'Dame' I wanted her to be riding on the Dragon's head. I made a rough body pose on my dragon drawing, but wanted to flesh her out on another page of my sketchbook. Like I said, I wanted to mash-up the genres so instead of a fnatasy-type barbarian queen or lady-knight, I went for a WWII inspired military lady. "Perhaps she is part of some fantasy anti-aircraft-dragon-blitzkrieg" I thought to myself. I gave her a curvey bombshell frame and pin-up girl hair to set the idea of the era, but without details to really say one way or the other where or when this is.

I assembled the two sketches in photoshop. Because of the scale (both of the figures in relation to one another AND how large I drew the 'Dame') the 'Dame' lost a great deal of detail. The two figures are tinted so it's easier for me to distinguish them from each other when inking. The yellow and orange borders are there as guides. The yellow edge represents where the page will be trimmed (roughly). The orange represents the area called 'bleed'. When the artwork goes off the edge of the page with no border, bleed is extra artwork that goes beyond where the page is cut, so that if the page isn't trimmed to meet the exact edge of the artwork, there is still some spare and you aren't left with a white sliver of non-artwork exposed.

The layout above was printed at full size and then taped to the back of my bristol board for me to do the inks over a lightbox. I had fun with the textures of the various parts of the dragon: hair, feathers, boney horns & snout, and soft under-belly. My pencils were pretty tight on the dragon, so the real work came in inking in all the undefined hair I had scribbled in on the rough. You will notice there is no background to this image...I debated with a skyline or even search lights & zeppelins...but ultimately decided a murky night sky would set the tone and draw the focus to the Monster & Dame better.

The final color process was a bit different for me. Because this was something other than Mouse Guard and I could afford for it to look different, I colored this with a Cintiq & a Wacom Tablet (Thank you to Katie Cook for the use of both). I was able to do a lot of slow building and painterly effects with the tools that I can't get when I color with a mouse. I still found the process off-putting, and didn't prefer it for flatting the colors. At Katie's house I flatted the majority of the piece and then rendered the sky and a bit of the dragon's skin before it was getting late and time to leave. Katie sent me home with her Wacom tablet to finish the job. At home I completed the rest of the rendering and color adjustment using her loan.

After the convention ECCC usually offers the Monsters & Dames book for purchase online if any are left.

2012 Appearances:
Emerald City: March 30-April 1
C2E2: April 13-15
Boston Comic Con: April 21-22
FCBD: Jetpack Comics: May 5th
Heroes: June 22-24
San Diego Comic Con: July 11-15
Baltimore Comic Con: Sept 8-9
New York Comic Con: Oct 11-14
Detroit Fanfare: Oct 26-28

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Sadie Papercraft:
Want to have a Sadie papercraft model to go along with your Lieam papercraft?
Here is a new .pdf for you to cut out and assemble.
Link to Sadie papercraft model
I'm leaning towards either Saxon or Kenzie as the next papermodel. I'll get around to other characters as well like Celanawe, and Gwendolyn, and Conrad, but they will requite modifications to the template that go beyond editing the papercraft's skin, so those will wait until the Black Axe Hardcover is in the can.

London Super Comic Con Commissions:
Thought I'd share some of the commissioned pieces I did for the London Con a few weeks back.
(all requests of the fans): 
Top L-R: Mice in a tavern sharing drinks and games, Green Lantern Mouse vs. DexStarr, Lieam as the Black Axe riding a Wolf
Bottom L-R: Xena & Gabrielle mice, Fellowship of the Rings mice



2012 Appearances:
Emerald City: March 30-April 1
C2E2: April 13-15
Boston Comic Con: April 21-22
FCBD: Jetpack Comics: May 5th
Heroes: June 22-24
San Diego Comic Con: July 11-15
Baltimore Comic Con: Sept 8-9
New York Comic Con: Oct 11-14
Detroit Fanfare: Oct 26-28

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Black Axe 4 Preview:
I've been told by Archaia that this Wednesday (the 14th) is when fans should expect Black Axe #4 on their comic store shelves! Issue 4 has a pinup by Stuff of Legend artist C.P. Wilson!


Here is a preview of the issue followed by the solicitation description of the issue:

Leaving the fate of Em in the weasel king of Ilder’s paws, Celanawe trudges into the briar lair of a murderous fox. The Black Axe, a weapon forged by Farrer and now wielded by his youngest heir, is put to the test so that one lone mouse can slay the red-furred villain which has claimed enough ferret lives to have the king of Ildur afraid to send his own kin after it. The uneven brutal battle has an only more brutal end.


2012 Appearances:
Emerald City: March 30-April 1
C2E2: April 13-15
Boston Comic Con: April 21-22
FCBD: Jetpack Comics: May 5th
Heroes: June 22-24
San Diego Comic Con: July 11-15
Baltimore Comic Con: Sept 8-9
New York Comic Con: Oct 11-14
Detroit Fanfare: Oct 26-28

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Mythbusters:
Next week I'm going to see the Mythbusters Live show in Detroit! I'm a big fan of the show and for what Adam & Jamie (and Tori, Kari, & Grant) have done to inspire kids to be more interested in science and math. I've made no secret at San Diego that one of my biggest goals is to meet Adam Savage. Anyhow, I'm getting off track from the artwork...I'm a fan, you knew that...time for me to move on. I did this piece a while back, when I had marionettes on the brain from designing the cover and interior story for the Mouse Guard Free Comic Book Day story.

I drew the sketches while hanging out with Nate Pride. We were the only two to show up to an event at my house, so I wrote it off as a lost work night and decided to draw for fun. The pencil sketches are much larger than I normally work each figure is about 12" tall. I looked at pictures of Adam and Jamie to try and capture a carved wooden caricature of them both. I scanned these in and combined them into one smaller piece. I also made edits in photoshop, I altered the scale of their heads as well as the marionette Busters. I also dropped in a stock photo of their logo.

Using a printed version of my photoshoped collage of the corrected doodles and logo photo, I inked the piece on a sheet of 12" x 12" strathmore bristol. The inkwork is all done with Copic MultiLiner pens (mostly using the 0.7 nib). I debated inking in the strings on the piece itself or inking them on an overlay so I could easily establish color holds on them later. I opted to get the stings in the original art, so that if I ever get the chance to give this to them, it will look complete.



The last step was to scan my inks and color them. The largest part of this job as editing in what areas of my inkwork would be a color instead of black. The rest of the work was in getting the subtle colors I wanted for the puppets so they looked like they were painted wooden puppets that have been dented and dinged around a bit. I was already looking forward to the show this weekend, and sharing this piece with you has only made me more excited.

I also think it would be a lot of fun to make these puppets....but that is for another day when Mouse Guard pages aren't calling...

2012 Appearances:
Emerald City: March 30-April 1
C2E2: April 13-15
Boston Comic Con: April 21-22
FCBD: Jetpack Comics: May 5th
Heroes: June 22-24
San Diego Comic Con: July 11-15
Baltimore Comic Con: Sept 8-9
New York Comic Con: Oct 11-14
Detroit Fanfare: Oct 26-28

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