Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Reference Model: Shorestone Exterior:
A few weeks ago Black Axe #6 was released digitally on ComiXology and will be in print on-shelves next week (the 13th)! So, you may have already read the issue, but if you are waiting for the print version, this post won't contain any real spoilers and will only show the first page of artwork from the issue.

A new location is visited in the first scene of the issue: Shorestone. I've never shown any part of Shorestone before this, so I had to design its look for these pages. I took what I'd already put in the RPG book and what purpose I needed the city to serve as as my inspiration. Shorestone is a city that is known for builders, workers of stone especially, but also wood and metal.

I based the overall exterior design on a Romanesque church. The 1/2 hexagon main building facade is cardboard with basswood trim. The entry and towers are chipboard and cardstock clad in printed arch designs. When I got the structures built, I could measure them and make 'faces' or 'skins' for each piece in Photoshop using photos of arches and windows I have in my collections from my travels. The round windows were also printed designs simply glued on to the cardboard.

To beef up the trim on the towers I added a few layers of cardstock under the printed trim pattern. The 'roof' of the towers was achieved by wadding up aluminum foil and packing it so tightly that I could shape it by kneading it against a hard surface. I wanted the exposed facade of Shorestone to ooze skill and craftsmouseship. I added a lot more detail than I normally would with the repetitive trim patterns, edge trim & buttresses, the varied materials & shapes, and even the scale.

The roof of the front was also something I added more detail to than I normally would. I figured in a town of craftsmice know for their skill and talents with architecture, they would have a complicated and useful roof. With mouse cities being mostly underground or inside something (trees, rocks, etc) any extra ventilation and light would be welcome. For the model, the little cupola vents were made of basswood scraps (you can often find bags of bigger than craftstick sized pieces at your local hardware or craft store)

Here is the city exterior as it appears on page 1 of Black Axe #6. Having the model certainly helped me figure out the design of the building itself. I was able to design the place faster than I could have ever could have drawn it all just by trying things out. If I thought something was too tall or too short, I could swap out the cardboard for a different piece. I could design 1 detail and repeat it over and over in Photoshop and just have to glue it on. If I'd tried drawing it, I could have ended up spending the same amount of time and only had a single good drawing from 1 angle out of it.

With the subject of my book being the unbelievable caveat that mice walk, talk, use weapons, etc...I need everything else to be as grounded and as real as I can make it seem. Doing models like these are a time-saver for me (honestly!)  but also add the weight to Mouse Guard I feel necessary.

Oh...and the inside of this model? yes, I designed the inside of the entrance to Shorestone...but I also build a model for what lies beyond too.....That's for next week.

Watercolor Wednesday: In case you missed last week's Watercolor Wednesday pieces, here they are for a closer look. First up is a Monty Python & the Holy Grail themed piece. This is one of my favorite movies and as I still lack the courage to nail liknesses, I opted to depict the knight characters using only their tunic designs.

The other two pieces from last week were a Satyr & a gargoyle...but I don't have too much to add about why or how I painted them...so just enjoy

2013 Appearances: 
Emerald City: March 1-3
Fabletown Con: March 22-24
C2E2: April 26-28
Spectrum Live: May 17-19
Heroes Con: June 7-9
Albuquerque Comic Expo June 21-23
San Diego Comic Con: July 17-21
*more 2013 dates coming*


Jeff Lafferty said...

Totally awesome, love the miniature buildings!

Kirsty said...

I love your models!

I'm curious: is there a practical reason why you make physical models instead of, say, using Sketchup? Or is it simply that you prefer to make them in real life (which sounds a good enough reason)

DPetersen said...

Kristy: I get to move away from the computer and drawing board and exercise a different part of my brain plus use my hands.I also find a nice tactile design process groove that I know I wouldn't find in sketchup

Kirsty said...

Makes sense. I mean to do it myself sometime...

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