Tuesday, January 4, 2022

Anniversary Present

Last year  I did an online event called OnlineCon where I opened up a list for inked commissions. It's not often that I offer fully inked commissions like this any more, but I was open to the idea of making fans happy in troubled times, supplement my income with conventions responsibly canceled, and to generate material for an upcoming Mouse Guard sketchbook.

To the left you can see one of those pieces finished and colored ready for a page in that sketchbook––and in this blogpost I'll break down the process to get there.

This piece was a special request from the wife of a college friend. Their wedding anniversary was coming up as well as the arrival of their second son, so she wanted to get my pal Seyth a mouse commission of the family in front of their home. I was provided with a reference photo of their house that I could make more like a medieval cottage as well as notes about individuals' likes (the coin necklace, 33 for Larry Bird, Fleur De Lies to signify New Orleans where they met, Lavender flowers, and older son's toy Fox). I drew each character and the cottage on different sheets of copy paper and then scanned them and assembled them in Photoshop (tinting each drawing to help me see where one form ended and the next started.

I inked the piece with a printout of the above layout taped to the back of a sheet of Strathmore 300 series bristol. On my Huion lightpad I can see through the bristol down to the pencils and use them as a guide while I ink. 

I used Copic Multiliner SP pens (the 0.7 & 0.3 nibs) to ink this as I streamed on Twitch, answering fans questions as I worked.

When the inks were finished, I started the color flatting (the first step of digital coloring where you establish all the color spaces with flat color). I also added all my color holds at this stage. Color holds are areas where I want the ink lines to be a color other than black, like the background and Molly's Dress pattern.

Below you can see the final colors all rendered withe the Dodge and Burn tools and ready for inclusion in the sketchbook I'll release this year.

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