Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Free Comic Book Day 2010:
Archaia will be releasing a Free Comic Book day 'flip' book that features a new Mouse Guard story from me and a Fraggle Rock story and cover on the other side. Here is my cover for the Mouse Guard side of the issue. The white box is for comic retailers to stamp or label their logo/address in hopes to attract new readership to comics to their store. The story I'm doing will be 10 pages and will take place in Spring 1153 (as an homage to everyone who asks when 'Spring' is coming in the book series)

Watercolor paintings c.2004:While I love watercolor as a medium, I always struggled with feeling like my watercolors were good enough to stand alone without ink line to help. So around 2002/2003 I started playing with the idea of painting loose and then going back over with pen to isolate shapes that were variations of color or stroke or form.

It got me going on a kick of painting superheroes & comic book characters. I was using paper that I had purchased and cut for our wedding invitations that was left over. In fact, some of these (all of them have sold or be given away long ago) may have the hand stamped image of leaves intertwining from our wedding on the back of them. The trick, I found, was to have a painting that was loose enough to need the linework, but strong enough that the forms were still all there without line.
(R-L: Rorschach, Spider-Man, & Dr. Doom)

The balance between the watercolor and line wasn't always what I wanted. Sometimes I felt I would overuse the line, while other times I felt I had overpainted the painting. I found that using negative space and strong lighting composition helped to not make the paintings turn into 'stained glass mud'. I would tend to work on multiple pieces at one time so that as one was drying I could be working actively on the next, and then back to the dry one, etc. This was at a time before I had started working on Mouse Guard as a comic series. I thought that these types of paintings would be good examples of my work that may generate commissions as well as be saleable items.
(T-B: The Flash, Han & Chewie, & Grifter)

These paintings received a positive reception by other artists who were posting on the hellboy.com forum. And being a Hellboy fan, I couldn't help but paint Mignola's characters this way. The forum artists also organized a holiday gift exchange of Hellboy themed pieces of art. I did several more of these style pieces in a larger format for the exchange. There was also a fan-posted anthology comic where Maija Graham wrote and I Illustrated a Screw-On-Head story in this method
(Top Row L-R: Liz, Johann, Hellboy, Abe, & the Baba Yaga)
(Bottom Row L-R: the Fairy folk, Roger, Rasputin, Lobster Johnson, & Screw-On-Head)

As Mouse Guard started coming out, I thought it would be foolish to drop the paintings from my convention display. So every con, I was painting a series of characters that all went together. The first of which was the Arkham Asylum lineup. I sold limited prints in little manila envelopes (printed with stencil lettering "Arkham Files" and printed coffee-ring stains) to help my table sales for those unfamiliar or uninterested in Mouse Guard.
(L-R: Mr. Freeze, Poison Ivy, the Penguin, Two-Face, the Joker, the Riddler, Catwoman, & the Scarecrow)
The last set of these I did was a grouping of Jedi. Mouse guard was strong enough on it's own and not having a relationship with the companies and publishers who owned copyright on the characters I felt I was pushing my luck. I picked 6 species (Twi'leck, Mon Calamari, Human, Rodian, Ithorian, & Wookiee) set them on different locations (Coruscant, Naboo, Kamino, Tatooine, Hoth, & Kashyyyk) and gave them all lightsabers.
This set I was happier with the original watercolors than usual, so I scanned the un-inked versions in case I preferred them. Here you can see the whole set in original and final states.

Fan Art:Bo Harris gave this color pencil and ink drawing to me at the Windy City Con last Sept. I like how alone and unfettered to civilization this mouse is. He looks pretty self-sufficient. Thanks Bo!
And if you have Mouse Guard fan art you want to share, email me through the mouseguard.net contact info to send me your work.

Upcoming Appearances:*
Live reading: Holiday Walk at Flint Public Library: Dec. 8 (6:30 & 7:30pm)
Alaska Library Confrence: March 4-7
CGS Supershow: March 27-28
C2E2 (Archaia Booth): April 16-18
Motor City Con: May 14-16
San Diego (Artist Alley): July 22-25
Baltimore Comic Con: August 28-29
*more 2010 dates may be added


Jake said...

I am the proud owner of Abe. His new home is framed on the wall in my study.


Mayhem said...

Now that's a nice something for FCBD next year, I hope I'm able to get hold of it (a good chance, there was plenty of support for it here in the UK this year). Also loved the Arkham Asylum line-up, makes me wish I'd been passing by your stand at shows earlier than I did...

Bo said...

Great work with the turtle (I always enjoy seeing the other animals in the Mouse Guard world)and thank you for posting the fan art.

Sckraps said...

Okay, so I ended up - not - sleeping after bailing on the live Ustream. Very informative, wish I could have caught the whole thing.

Anyways, just wanted to comment on such a creative, fresh look you introduce with your watercolors. The addition of line is very original, as far as I'm concerned, and looks great.

A blog and artist to follow, for sure!

viagra online said...

I read Mouse Guard a few months ago, and I have o admit that 's the best comic book that I've read last couple of years, simply by the stupendous content.

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