Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Rand 5x7 Print Process

Rand, the yellow cloaked shield-bearer will be more prominently featured in the upcoming Weasel War of 1149 series.  I've been trying to offer up more of the 5" x 7" matted prints at conventions and in my online store. With a Saxon, Sadie, Gwendolyn, and Kenzie prints already available, I wanted to include that lesser know mouse of defense to the lineup. Even though Rand has barely been in the Mouse Guard series so-far, he has diehard fans who love him and tell me they already know he'll be their favorite. In today's blogpost I'll share the process for creating the image for this print.

Unlike many of my process posts, in this case I didn't have multiple drawings to merge together for my layout. I did one drawing of Rand with the background drawn right in there...on the some sheet of copy paper and everything! I've gotten in the habit of using dandelions  as a visual cue/symbology for Rand. I don't know if I have specific cause for this, but it's cropped up with other drawings of him or places connected to him. All that was left to do after I scanned the pencils  was to resize it to make sure it fit nicely inside the format for the print. I also added a quick digital circle to the dandelion puff-ball because I noticed my sketch was a bit oblong.

I printed out the above layout and taped it to the back of a sheet of Strathmore 300 series bristol. On a light pad (I really like the Huion brand of these) I can see through the surface of the Bristol and ink using the printout as my 'pencils' to guide me. I used Copic Multiliners (the 0.7 & 0.3 nibs). I opted to ink the edge of the puffball and the cascading seed-tufts very boldly and dark. In this inked stage, that means they look a bit odd, not fluffy and light. But I knew that I'd use a color hold when coloring it that would reverse that sensation.

Color Flats:
After scanning in the inked piece (and adjusting the levels and cleaning up any dirt, dust, etc from the scan) the first step to coloring is Flatting in colors. This means, like any good coloring book user, you color spaces inside the lines. But when flatting, you don't need to worry at all about shading, lighting effects, or even if you are going to use the real colors (here I stuck close to what I knew the palate was for the final piece). Unlike some colorists, I like to use new Photoshop layers for new areas of color. This allows me to not have to 'cut in' precisely when I butt up against an area I've already colored.

Final Colors:
After the areas of color are isolated by flat colors, I went in an rendered each part using the Dodge & Burn tools in Photoshop. I have my settings on Range: Highlights and 1% exposure most of the time and I use a textured brush. I tweaked color balances with leaves and subtle areas like Rand's nose. At this stage, I also played up all the color holds on the shield and puffs.

I broadcast LIVE on Facebook as I colored this piece. You can watch that video here:

Part 1: https://www.facebook.com/david.petersen.777/videos/10155727207764778/
Part 2: https://www.facebook.com/david.petersen.777/videos/10155727588574778/

The final 5" x 7" matted print will be available at my 2017 convention appearances and in my online store.

More of the 5x7" Mouse Guard character print process Blogposts:
Saxon Print: http://davidpetersen.blogspot.com/2015/04/5x7-saxon-print-process.html
Sadie Print: http://davidpetersen.blogspot.com/2016/04/sadie-5x7-print.html
Gwendolyn Print: http://davidpetersen.blogspot.com/2016/05/gwendolyn-print.html
Kenzie Print: http://davidpetersen.blogspot.com/2017/02/kenzie-5-x-7-print-process.html

2017 Appearances: 
Heroes Con: Jun. 16-18
San Diego Comic Con: July 19-23
Baltimore Comic Con: Sept. 22-24

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Mouse Guard Model Video: Quail Cart

For the cover of Legends of the Guard Volume 2 Hardcover collection, I built an architectural model of a Quail Cart. With the fan excitement over the video of Adam Savage talking to me about my models on Tested.com I wanted to do some videos where I talk about a specific model, how I built it, what the materials were, and why I built it in the first place.

Below you can watch as I explain why knowing where the quail hitches makes a better illustration:

For a Full Blogpost on the art process for the cover of Legends of the Guard Vol.2 Hardcover: 

2017 Appearances: 
Heroes Con: Jun. 16-18
San Diego Comic Con: July 19-23
Baltimore Comic Con: Sept. 22-24

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Hare 5x7 Print Process

For 2017 I'll be introducing a lot of new 5"x7" matted prints to my convention appearances and in my online store. Fans have been enjoying the Saxon, Gwendolyn, Sadie, and Kenzie prints in the same format, so in addition to adding more guardmouse characters for 2017, I'm also adding more animals/scenes.

In this post, I'll be sharing the process of creating the Hare & Piper-mouse artwork to the left from concept to finished colors.

I started by drawing the hare on a sheet of copy paper. Then to make sure I could easily adjust the layout and proportions, I drew the mouse separately. The mouse is Piper from the 2016 FCBD story "Piper the Listener". After I'd started assembling the two drawings in photoshop (tinting them both to help my eye see where one ended and the other began) and then I decided that the hare needed some kind of clothing. I only showed the hares in Winter 1152 with mouse-made saddles and harnesses for riding, no apparent clothing of their own. I dunno if I'll stick to this new fashion forward hare-look, but for the print, I thought it needed it.

I printed out the photoshop assembled layout and taped it to the back of a sheet of Strathmore 300 series bristol and inked on a lightpad. I use a Huion lightpad that allows me to see the printout through the surface of the bristol. This means that on the surface of the bristol will only be my inks, no pencil lines to erase (though sometimes, I do tighten up the pencils a bit as I work if the layout sketch is too loose). For pens I used Copic Multiliners, the 0.7 & 0.3 nibs. I fudged in the grassy silhouette while looking at photos of various grasses gone to seed.

Once the inks are scanned, I start the process of flatting the piece for color. This means laying in flat color (no concerns with shading or texture) to establish that areas like the hare's fur will be different from the collar, its eye, the rock,  etc.

Once the flat colors are in I start rendering each area using the dodge and burn tools (lighten and darken) with a textured brush. I also added some color holds on the hare's collar embroidery and the grassy background.

Here again is the finished colored artwork. This print and many more will be available at any of my convention appearances this year was well as in my online store.

For process posts on previous prints:

2017 Appearances: 
Heroes Con: Jun. 16-18
San Diego Comic Con: July 19-23
Baltimore Comic Con: Sept. 22-24

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Free Comic Book Day 2017

Free Comic Book Day is THIS SATURDAY!
In case you are unfamiliar with FCBD, on the first Saturday in May, you and everyone you know, can go to your local comic shop and they will have a selection of comics that are FREE (most stores limit how many each person gets). The comic shops buy these comics, specially printed (and in some cases with content created specifically for) FCBD at print cost and then use it to spread goodwill about the artform of telling stories with words AND pictures panel by panel.

I have a new Mouse Guard short story in the BOOM! Summer Blast issue.

This story is 8 pages long, and like my past 6 years of FCBD stories, features a folk-tale/parable that ties into a lesson a member of the Mouse Guard learned. This year's offering is titled "The Tale of the Wild Wolf" and you can see some teaser panels to the right.

I don't want to say much more about the story, because I don't want to spoil anything, but eagle-eyed fans may catch a few clues in these panels that tells them which Guardmouse is featured...

While stores nation-wide will have the BOOM! Summer Blast book with my new Mouse Guard story inside, I will specifically be at ISOTOPE: The Comic Book Lounge in San Francisco, CA signing books (anything a fan places in front of me that I've worked on) and in the afternoon delivering a talk about Mouse Guard. That evening ISOTOPE will host a Mouse Guard cocktail hour. So if you are in the SF area, please come out for what is sure to be a great event celebrating the artform of comics.

If you already know about FCBD and have people in your life that DON'T read comics, take them to your local store's event and help them find something they might like. I truly believe that there is a comic out there for every person regardless of age, gender, interests, etc. Also, please consider purchasing something from the store you visit in addition to picking up some free issues. Something for yourself you'd already planned to get, something for that non-comic reader that fits their tastes, or something you already enjoy but plan to donate to your local library.

2017 Appearances: 
Heroes Con: Jun. 16-18
San Diego Comic Con: July 19-23
Baltimore Comic Con: Sept. 22-24

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