Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Juniper Limited Edition Print

Since 2012 I've released a new 11" x 11" limited edition print every year. Past year's pieces have been titled "Peacock", "Raspberry","Moonflower", & "Lavender". Julia requested that these prints be pretty and not just a mouse doing battle, but more aesthetically feminine. To the left is the finished artwork, and below I'll show the full process.

The print is available in my online store and at my convention appearances until the print sells out

For this year's print, "Juniper" I have a mouse harvesting juniper berries as a northern pygmy owl watches. I drew the owl first referencing photos gathered from an online image search. And then I drew the mouse with her basket of berries (and a sword some eagle-eyed Mouse Guard fans may recognize). I also looked up reference for some medieval dresses, but other than finding a color scheme I liked, I didn't find what I wanted so I made it up as I went (though the hat is based on one I drew on a storyteller in Legends Vol 3) These were drawn separately on copy paper.

I scanned the drawings and then went about placing and resizing them within an 11" x 11" template in Photoshop. I hadn't figured out in the drawings how the two related to each other or how they sat (other than that because of the eye position of the owl, I'd planned for it to be Northeast of the mouse). With the Juniper berries as my plan, I collected some cedar branch images online and copied and pasted them around my drawings until I had a believable structure for them as well as an aesthetically pleasing framework. I painted in some branches and berries. And I had my layout all set.

I printed the layout onto two sheets of legal copy paper (being 11" square, the layout wouldn't fit across one sheet, so I had to print the top and bottom separately and then puzzle them back together). Using my lightbox, I was able to see through a sheet of bristol to the printout of my layout below. I taped the layout to my bristol to make sure I didn't lose registration as I inked. To the right you can see the finished ink (this was inked all with Copic Multiliner SP pens (the 0.7, 0.5, & 0.3 nibs). And below are several in-process photos I took as I worked:

Once the inking was done, I started coloring the piece. This process starts with a job called 'flatting' where you simply lay in flat colors to establish which parts are which colors. Initially, before I'd seen how busy my layout was going to get with all the cedar, I'd thought about setting this print in a snowy setting...perhaps not enough to have accumulated on the mouse, owl, or branches, but just falling delicately around them. I kept that in mind as I placed in these colors and I went for something a little cooler palette wise.

The final step was to render the image. This means going in and adding depth and texture with shadow, and highlights. I do this using the Dodge and Burn tools in Photoshop (and a textured stock brush). I tweaked the final colors a great deal on this piece trying to get the right cool/desaturated look without it becoming washed out or too bleak.

Again, the print is available in my online store and at my convention appearances until the print sells out.

2016 Appearances:

No comments:

Blog Archive