Tuesday, April 23, 2019
2019 German Print Process
A few weeks ago on the return leg of my trip to Finland (my niece is an exchange student there) I did a signing at T3 in Frankfurt, Germany.
It was great to be back in Europe doing Mouse Guard promotion and getting to meet with fans from overseas.
The shop asked me to create a Mouse Guard print that we could sell and I could sign at the event.
To the left you can see the finished piece, but below I'll go through the steps to get there...
Back in 2007 I visited Berlin, Germany on a signing tour. For that appearance I was asked to create a limited print (hopefully with a German theme since I'd done something similar with aUK theme for an appearance there that same year). Here is that print, with a Germanic armored mouse with the heraldry of the black eagle and the German flag behind him.
I went back to this piece as the inspiration for the new one.
On a sheet of copy paper, I drew the same mouse, this time with his helmet removed and his body language more humble and reverent. It was fun to go back and rework a design from over a decade ago...to pay homage and make slight alterations in proportions, detail, and texture. The eagle was drawn on a separate sheet of copy paper as I referenced a traditional image of a heraldic German black eagle. In place of the tiny details on the shield in the photo reference I substituted the colors of the German flag.
All of this was scanned and digitally assembled in Photoshop at the proper sizing for the finished print.
I printed the above digital composite of the sketches onto copy paper and then taped to the back of a sheet of Strathmore 300 series bristol.
Using a light pad, I was able to see through the surface of the bristol to the printout underneath to use it as a guide as I inked. To ink the piece I used Copic Multiliner SP pens (the 0.7 nib almost exclusively).
Knowing I was going to use a color hold on the eagle and heraldry, I tried to make sure I left a gap between the inks on those elements and the mouse himself.
After the inks were finished I scanned them into Photoshop. The first step in the coloring process is called 'flatting' because it deals with laying in flat colors to all of the image, establishing what areas are what colors (his fur is orange, the eagle is a grey-brown, the sky is cream, etc...) Most of those colors were already established by the previous print from 2007, but there were still tonal changes to be made.
This is also the step where I established all the color holds (areas I want the ink work to be a painted color other than black) on the eagle, his halo, the flag stripes, and the axe details.
The final step was to do the rendering an adding texture. I did that using a textured brush in Photoshop and the Dodge and Burn tools. The final piece got golor shifted a bit warmer than the flats in the end, and I added 'Mouse Guard' to the bottom for the final print.
Didn't make it to Frankfurt for the signing and you'd like to own one of these prints? Well, GOOD NEWS! I have a limited supply of them in my online store for sale currently:
2019 Convention Appearances
Heroes Con June 14-16
San Diego Comic Con July 17-21
New York Comic Con October 3-6
Baltimore Comic Con October 18-20
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