Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Jan '09 Q & A Part I

Last Blog Post I asked for feedback on what to post about while we wait for some of the stuff I can't show yet. So here is part 1 of the requests post:
Bo Harris said...I was curious how you come up with characters
(specifically guardsmice). Is it an illustration that guides the character, or
do you have an idea of a personality that you would like to get down on
Many of the main characters in the Guard started from the personalities or attributes of my friends. It was easier to think of the characters interacting with each other if I could reference our friendships or our experiences roleplaying together. That is not to say that Emerson is the mirror image of Lieam (I have never seen him jump into the mouth of a snake) Lieam started with Emerson, and has since become his own character. None of us are completely like our mice, but the ideas that started those personalities had seeds in our real life interactions.

That is also not to say that the visual or the niche-to-be filled doesn't form the character. The first three mice I drew were Saxon, Kenzie, and Rand. The idea was that the trio would act together perfectly as one. Saxon means sword and with his fiery red cloak, he was the combat/offensive one. Rand means shield, his yellow cloak like a caution sign, he was the defensive one. Kenzie (taken from MacKenzie) means wise and with his blue cloak (which registers as 'calm' & regal for me) was the brains that tied them together.

Rob said...I was wondering what was a deciding factor for you not
having any type of magic in your world?
Rob, when I started Mouse Guard, I really felt that in most stories and comics or even in role playing games I had played, magic was both an easy way out and a knot for continuity. As a writer you have to establish rules for magic. If it can be used at any time, how it's performed, what it's weaknesses are, etc. And all of that has to jive with any story you have already written or ever will. If it turns out that the first conflict of your book can be wished away by a character revealed as a magic user later on, it weakens the stories altogether. Someone who has done a BRILLIANT job of writing magic as an interesting part of life into their stories without ever tying themselves up in the loophole nature of magic is J. K. Rowling, and I'm no where near as clever or smart as she is. I also felt that if there was no magic, it would lend a larger sense of how helpless and downtrodden the mice would be.

Rob continued...will there be of the apiary keeper or spidersilk hunters in future

I'll say 'yes' to both. However I have no idea when. The Apiary keeper was just too cool not to ever draw and explore again, but I don't have a function for him (or the bees) to play in the upcoming stories. Spider silk is something that came up in the talks about the Role Playing Game and it spawned an idea for a story that doesn't tie in to any of the larger story arcs right now (but I have thought about doing it as a deluxe or annual issue). Who knows though...stories change from outline to illustrated page. The Apiary Keeper and the bees weren't ever in issue 6 of Fall..they spawned out of a lunch with Jeremy Bastian.

Luis asksI was wondering if your special edition slip case Mouse Guard
book will only be available at the New York ComicCon or will others get a chance
to purchase it?

The Black and White edition was solicited ages ago and is now set for a Feb. release (we don't know if they will be printed in time for NYCC) So if your store ordered them in the past or not, they will be a Diamond item or available at the conventions either I or ASP do this year (until they sell out)

Me in full plate and unshaven... asksCan you do a series of how to draw
Mouse Guard characters?
Here is a quick video of me drawing Lieam.

rob lombraƱa mentioned
i hope that make toys with this.

In addition to the printable Mouse Guard finger puppets designed and created by Katie Cook linked here, a set of PVC figures and a plushie version of Lieam have been released by Diamond Select Toys. Poseable figures were not something we pursued because of balance (tiny feet mean they need to be pegged to a base what is the point, movable arms?) Also for future Mouse Guard items through DST, I don't know. I'd love to see more from them, but with the comic series hitting such a pothole last year with the delays and ASP restructuring, I understand why they have not. Once we get the ball rolling again, I will look into extending the line.

So that's it for this round. Feel free to comment more Q's to this post and I'll use them for next time!


TwiceBorn said...

Wow, great post. Very interesting stuff. I really like how you don't us magic in the series. It's over used as it is, and only a few people really know how to use it well in their stories. Mouse Guard wouldn't seem as gritty, epic, and real if the little mice were running around casting fireballs at wolves and all that.
Any, i loved the quick video. It was incredible; i'm always amazed by people with your talent for drawing stuff that looks so cool in a matter of seconds. Can't wait to see how you explore things like the bee keeper and spider silk and stuff. If you did short stories down the road on that kinda stuff i would love it. But for now, the big epic arcs are perfect. I can't think of any questions right now, but when i do i'll sure get back to you.

Neil said...

What other properties would you like to work on (besides Hellboy)? Or transversely, which artist(s) would you like to see do a Mouseguard story?

Kat said...

I like the fact that you have no magic in your world. Magic is used too much as a "deus ex machina" and tends to cheepen the story.

This is great. Looking forward to reading more. :)


Harold Kohl said...

I hadn't collected a comic book for years until I saw Fall 1152 in a book store. In your post, you included sketches of the mice from 1996. Can you describe what led to the changes in their look since then, and maybe even the look of Mouseguard itself?

Brandon said...

I love the video of you drawing Lieam, and I'm excited that the Fall black and white is finally going to be released! I'm going to have to double check with my local comic shop that they still have me down for one. I have to say that an annual or some type of bonus issue of Mouse Guard, maybe telling a number of small stories, would be awesome! I have the misfortune of being a huge Mouse Guard fan but not having been able to acquire any of your sketchbooks. I hope future sketchbooks will be made more available, if you did a larger print run you could sell them through your website and I'm sure you'd have huge success. As well, is there a future possibility of a nice, large hardcover Art of Mouse Guard book collecting your earlier sketchbooks, convention sketches (many seen on this blog), development sketches and other Mouse Guard artwork and materials?

Mr.Craig said...

I do not want to sound like too much of a "fan"atic, but OH MY GOD! Thank you so much for replying to my question. The pic of you drawing Lieam...well it means a lot to me. Again, Thank you.

dark turtle said...

Hi David! Thanks for that awesome post. It's very kind of you to take some time to answer a few questions. I loved seeing that video of you sketching. Great stuff.

If you're still looking for more questions, I've got one:

With so many movies based on comic books these days, do you foresee a Mouseguard movie sometime in the future? I think the CGI format would be the perfect way to showcase the world you've created.

Thanks, and best of luck with everything!

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