Tuesday, July 22, 2014

RPG 2nd Edition Cover Art Process

 Luke Crane teased on his Burning Wheel Forum that one of the reasons we've been coy about a re-release for the Mouse Guard RPG (which has been out of print for a few years) is that we've been working on a SECOND EDITION of the game!!!

For this week's blogpost I'll be sharing my process for creating the cover art for the new Hardcover Rulebook (And in coming weeks, I'll share more of the new art for the game)

The original RPG cover featured a huge lineup of various mice (52 of them) to inspire the players with creating their own mice. For the 2nd Ed. I wanted to play up a bit more of the classic D&D covers with a group (a mouse patrol in this case) in a grueling battle with a dragon (or a snake here). The mice and snake were all sketched out separately and then assembled in Photoshop with a border I found online.

That composite piece was printed out (over the course of several sheets of copy paper, and then taped together) and placed behind a sheet of Strathmore 300 series Bristol on a light table. As I inked this piece (over 23" long) I tweeted pictures A, B, C. I focused on making sure the overall silhouette of each mouse read well in the overall chaos of snake scales and border design. I also took the time to ink that border by hand instead of using the digital border image I found so that I could hand weather it and give it flaws and character, also so that the original art looked complete.

The inks were scanned (in several parts and re-assembled) so I could begin flatting in color for this cover. I went with a reddish letterbox color to get the idea of this being about a fierce battle. The mouse fur and cloak colors are a variation on what seems to work in the comics: brown fur-red cloak, grey fur-blue cloak, red fur-green cloak.

For the final render I made a few color adjustments as I added shadows and highlights and textures with the dodge and burn tools. I added a color hold to the inked border design to make it blend with the red and make it seem more old-world.

Luke, Archaia, and I do not have a firm date for the Mouse Guard RPG Second Edition, but the materials are being final-edited and proofed currently. We will update when we can.

Swords and Strongholds:
And a reminder that the Kickstarter for the Mouse Guard board game Swords & Strongholds designed by Luke Crane & I is still  going here: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/burningwheel/mouse-guard-swords-and-strongholds

2014 Appearances:
San Diego Comic Con: July 23-27
Boston Comic Con: August 8-10
NY Comic Con: Oct. 9-12


Unknown said...

This look brilliant! I got a question, can you try doing the interior of Lockhaven?

Michael Lowis said...

Brilliant work right there. I for one am really excited for the new rpg for when it comes out.

When looking at your inking, it must take forever to do that amount of detail with each and every scale on the snake and you didn't lose focus on the bigger picture too.

I always did my inking digitally, I am curious about trying pens for the first time.

Unknown said...

Once again, David, your art is outstanding! My daughters and I love this game. We saw you at Boston Comic Con last year. We had the felt made Mouseguard.

Could there be a "modify your first ed. to second" booklet sold?

Keep up the good work!

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