*NOTE: THIS WAS WRITTEN PRIOR TO DISNEY CANCELING THE MOVIE AT FOX––WE ARE STILL EXPLORING ALL OPTIONS TO BRING THE MICE OF MOUSE GUARD TO LIFE*
When the Mouse Guard Movie was given a full green light from FOX, Stephen Christy and Ross Richie came to Michigan to deliver the good news, deliver the payment, and celebrate with a meal. As a thank you for their work on Mouse Guard as a book series and on the Movie (they are involved both in publishing at BOOM! and producers on the film at the FOX lot) I drew them each as a Guardmouse and gave them the original inked piece.
To the left you can see the finished colored version of 'Rosard' that I've released as a print available in my online store: mouseguard.bigcartel.com
Ross Richie is head of BOOM! Studios who acquired Archaia several years ago. But even before that, Ross had always been in my and Mouse Guard's corner. Early on he'd shared with me his appreciation for my book and hired me to do covers for BOOM! titles. When Archaia had hit some hard times, he mentioned to me, with no pressure or hard sell, that if things got bad, and I ever needed a new home for Mouse Guard, he was there for me. It was BOOM!'s deal with FOX that made the movie possible (and under the favorable terms for me). He's made a lot of things possible for me and Mouse Guard.
So, how to interpret Ross as a mouse? Well, I thought of Ross as firstly a guy who needed a weapon whose sound effect would go 'BOOM!'. Ross' personality is a big presence. It's not overwhelming, or oppressive, but it has a mass to it. I wanted to add that volume to his mouse's cloak, his oversized warhammer, and a story told in his fur and his scars.
The name Rosard comes from the origin spelling of the name Ross ('Ros') and the pronunciation of the Scottish Gaelic for 'Hammer' ('òrd' pronounced 'Ard'). I drew the Ross-mouse and the swirly patterned stones on one sheet of copy paper, scanned it in to Photoshop to resize it for the final artwork-size.
With the layout assembled and printed on to copy paper, I started inking it. I taped the printout to the back of a sheet of Strathmore 300 series bristol. On my Huion lightpad, I can see through the surface of the bristol to the printout below and use that as a guide to ink from. For pens I used my trusty Copic Multiliner SPs...primarily the 0.7 nib that I like so much.
It would have been easy to get carried away with the textures of the scarred mouse, his fur cloak, well-used front sash, hammer details, and stone background...but I tried to restrain myself and leave room for color.
I scanned the inks and started to lay in flat colors as well as establish the few color holds (areas where I want the ink lines to be a color other than black) on his scars
Ross' colors weren't as easy to pin-down as other human-to-guardmice-inspirations. I think of some of Ross' tenacity and directness to be in the red-family for cloak colors...but I opted to make that the front accent panel color and leave his fur and cloak more in a natural cream and brown tone-range. The hammer also had to be seen...it needs to do some of its job before it's even swung...so I went with a brassy tone for that.
The last step was to render the colors by adding light and shadow as well as texture using the Dodge and Burn tools in Photoshop with a stock textured brush. I did some color adjustments from the flat colors, punching up the fungus color to be a bit more vivid.
I've told Ross that his mouse 'Rosard' may make it into the Weasel War as a casualty...and to not take that personally. It doesn't mean there aren't stories to tell about that mouse earlier in his life...
You can buy a print of Rosard in my online store: mouseguard.bigcartel.com
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