Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Legends of the Guard Vol.s 1-3 Boxed Set Art

Archaia and I have decided to put together a slipcased box set of Legends of the Guard Volumes 1-3. It contains all three hardcovers (40 Mouse Guard tale tales & tavern yarns) and I've done some new box art for the slipcase.

The Legends of the Guard Box Set can be Pre-Ordered on Amazon 
Through your Local Comic Shop 
-On Sale: November 2016
-Price: $59.99

For Today's post I'll be going over the full process of creating that artwork.

The first step was to decide on a subject. On this scan of my pencils of the mouse character, you can also see my notes for possible images: a mouse/bird delivery service, a mouse cartographer, and a mouse blessing or knighting a bat. But I ended up going with the idea of a Mouse Glazier. I drew this mouse while also researching how medieval glaziers soldiered lead or cut glass. On a lightbox I drew the background on another sheet.

I assembled these two drawings in Photoshop along with a stock image of a rose window design and a tile floor. The drawings are tinted to help me keep track of everything. Two things of note: 1) The assembly of a stained glass window is not done upright like this, but I thought it was more visually interesting and took some mouse-scale artistic license. 2) As this stage came together, I was mentally writing a story for this image (which is printed on the slipcase in the same way the Legends covers are all one paragraph legends).

Using my digital composite layout as a guide (I printed it out and taped it to the back of a sheet of Strathmore 300 series bristol and placed it on my lightbox) I was able to ink the piece. I use Copic Multiliner SP pens (the 0.7, 0.5, & 0.3 nibs). There wasn't much texture in this piece (stippling, crosshatching, etc) so most of the clarity of the image came down to line wights and strong contour lines.

I posted this image on Twitter as I worked on this piece. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to reveal what it was that I was working on, but here you can see the mouse fully inked, while I haven't started on the background and the layout image shows through on the lightbox.

After the inks are finished, I scanned them in and started coloring. This image is the finished 'flats' the part of the coloring process where you establish what areas are what colors with nothing but flat color. For color choices, I kept the basic tones I had in my rough for the checkerboard floor, and then re-used those colors and the star-fresco on the arches to supply the palette for the glazier's clothes.

I also established the colors of the stained glass pattern at this stage too, but I guess I didn't save a flats file after that...I just went into the next step.

The last step was to render the piece. Not only is this the part where I add all the texture and highlights and shadows, but also where I add lighting effects and subtle glows around the window, hot coals, and soldering iron.

I'm really proud of the Legends of the Guard Volumes 1-3. It was a huge honor to work with all those creators and get to see them flesh out corners of the Mouse Guard world I may never get to. This collection will make a nice gift and help tidy your shelf keeping you Legends of the Guard books together. Plus you can read about this Mouse Glazier and his tale in the wider Mouse Guard lore.

The Legends of the Guard Box Set can be Pre-Ordered on Amazon 
Through your Local Comic Shop

Mouse Guard: Legends of the Guard Volumes 1-3 contains the stories by:

2016 Appearances:

1 comment:

Michael McClain said...

Thanks for the write-up. I appreciate your generosity in taking the time to put this kind of stuff together, I know what a hassle it can be. The piece is lovely and I'm particularly impressed with your choice and use of color. It feels very unified, and quite cover-like! I also liked the mention of the stock glass you referenced. Artists are often hesitant to say, 'hey, I looked at something to draw this (or that).'
Well done and I look forward to picking up the set.

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