Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Lavender Print Process

Since 2012 I've released a new 11" x 11" limited edition print every year. Past year's pieces have been titled "Peacock", "Raspberry", and "Moonflower". Julia requested that these prints be pretty and not just a mouse doing battle, but more aesthetically feminine. This year is no exception, and instead of waiting until C2E2 (like my past releases) I'll be offering this at Emerald City Comic Con this month and then at the rest of my appearances and in my online store shortly. To the left you can see "Lavender" and below I'll go through the process of creating the image.

I started with a drawing. After looking through a book Julia has called "The Lavender Lover's Handbook" as inspiration for the blooms, I drew a mouse sitting on a grouping of them while playing a Rebec. I'd contemplated having her wield a scythe, but in the desire to meet Julia's goal of "pretty" I opted for the medieval instrument. Her checker motif was a pattern I was admiring in a few Edmund Dulac illustrations. And the addition of the flail was to subtly ground her as a Guardmouse. This was drawn on sketch paper with a mechanical pencil.

After scanning the drawing, and printing it out at actual size (11" x 11") I taped it to the back of a sheet of Strathmore 300 series bristol and placed it on my lightbox. On the lightbox, I can see the printout  through the bristol and follow it, like I would pencils, when inking...and all without the mess of pencils to erase or blueline to digitally remove. I'd suggested a lot of the Lavender density in my pencils, so I played it carefully as I inked them in to make sure I wasn't going overboard with texture and visual static...making her seated position believable while still leaving some negative space as visual breathing room. Inked with Copic Multiliners (0.7 & 0.3 nibs)

I scanned the inks back into Photoshop to start the coloring process called "flatting" This is where you establish areas of color (the fur, the cloak, the lavender, the skin, etc.) with only flat tones. You don't have to even use the final color scheme when flatting, but I already had a good sense of the palate for this piece in my head. I wanted to play a classic yellow-violet complementary color scheme to balance the large amount of lavender blooms. To give the appearance of something like dust particles or pollen, I added a color hold to my background inked dots and gave them a slight glow.

The last step was to render all the color and add highlights, shadows and texture with the dodge and burn tools in Photoshop. You can see that I didn't change much to my initial flats when it came to the hues. 

As I said at the top of the post, this piece will be available as a limited print at ECCC and all my con appearances this year, as well as in my online store once I get home & settled from Seattle.

2015 Appearances:
C2E2 April 24-26
Motor City May 15-17
Denver Comic Con May 22-25
Heroes Con June 19-21
Long Beach Comic Con: Sept. 12-13
Baltimore Comic Con Sept. 25-27
New York Comic Con Oct. 8-11
Art-Bubble Comics Festival: Copenhagen: Nov. 14-15


ben_ said...

Awwww … that's sooo beautifull! Your Mluse Guard Wolrd is truelly the most independent Creation I came across the last years!

Guendolin said...

When will this be available in the online shop? I crave this print to I crave this print to complete my set of 4 prints on my wall at home!

Faye Fowler said...

Great stuff as always, David! I am a big fan of Mouse Guard, and I am pleased that it's still running and going strong. It still remains as fresh as ever whenever it's put out at the stands. Thanks for guiding us through the step by step process of your illustration. I look forward to the next installments of your comic. Cheers!

Faye Fowler @ Master Copy Print

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